Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hail and Farewell to Those We Lost in 2014-- Part 3

MESHACH TAYLOR--  Actor from "Designing Women."  How he put up with them, especially Delta?

ELI WALLACH--  Movie actor

FRANKLIN McCAIN--  Made his stand sitting down at that lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C.  A true hero.  Civil Rights.

RUBIN "HURRICANE" CARTER--  boxer.  Bob Dylan had that great song about him.

JAMES BRADY--  Took a bullet for Reagan.

STEPHANIE KWOLEK--  DuPont chemist who invented Kevlar which has saved a lot of good guys' lives.

RALPH BAER--  Invented that mean old Simon game, the first video game console in 1969.

S. DONALD STOOKEY--  Invented Corningware.  I've eaten more than a few things out of these.

MASSIMO VIGNELLI--  His maps, signs and logos are elegant and spare and just about everywhere.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hail and Farewell to Those We Lost in 2014-- Partt 2

KEN WEATHERWAX--  Pugsley on "Addams Family."  I snap my fingers for him if I could.

ANN B. DAVIS--  Alice the housekeeper and confidant on "The Brady Bunch."  She held that family together.

EFREM ZIMBALIST, JR.--  Always got his man.

RALPH WAITE--  Father Walton on that show about the Depression.

SHIRLEY TEMPLE--  Singer, movies and stateswoman.  Even if the movies were a bit too sickening.

MICKEY ROONEY--  Pint-size, but that never stopped him.

LAUREN BACALL--  Oh, those eyes.

JAMES GARNER--  Never took anything too seriously.  Always reminded me of my father.

Hail and Farewell to Those We Lost in 2014-- Part 1

From the Dec. 28, 2014, CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood.  This is accompanied by a video which is well worth writing.

These are most, but not all of the ones listed which was quite a long group of names.  These are ones that had an impact on me, whether I'd ever heard of their name or not.

ROBIN WILLIAMS--  Has to be considered one of the funniest guys ever.  "Good Morning Vietnam!!!"

PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN--  Movie actor I was just becoming familiar with at the time of his death.

GEOFFREY HOLDER--  Pitchman for 7-Up.  You had to love that voice.

RUTH ROBINSON DUCCHINI--  The last female Munchkin.  Loved those Munchkins and the movie.  That 1939 special effects.  Wow!!

RICHARD KIEL--  He was huge in size and heart.  James Bond's nemesis.

RUSSELL JOHNSON--  "Gilligan's Island" professor.  All those inventions and he still couldn't get off that island.

Monday, December 29, 2014

13 Surprising Things That Happened on Christmas Day

From the Dec. 25, 2014, New York Post by Kyle Smith.

1066--  William the Conqueror crowned King of England.
1977--  Charlie Chaplin dies.
1868--  Pardoning of most Confederates after the Civil War.
1899--  Humphrey Bogart born.

1989--  In Romania, Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu executed.
336--  Christians first celebrate Christmas.
1989--  New York Yankee player and oft-manager Billy Martin dies.
1990--  Test-drive of the quasi internet.

1962--  "To Kill a Mockingbird" released.    Some other movies released on Christmas Day over the years: "Catch Me If You Can," "Les Miserables" and "The Godfather, Part 2."
1991-- Gorbachev steps down.  The end of the Soviet Union.
1993--  Dean Martin dies.
1976--  Washington crosses the Delaware.
1950--  Carl Rowe born.  Not sure who he is.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Important Things Happening of Christmas Day

From the Dec. 25, 2014, Yahoo! News "Three other big historical events that happened on Christmas Day" by NCC Staff.

Globally, Christmas Day events include the crowning of Charlemagne and William the Conqueror, a World War I truce and it was when Mikhail Gorbachev left power in the Soviet Union.  Also, actors W.C. Fields and Charlie Chaplin died in this date.

1.  Washington crossing the Delaware River during the American Revolution.(1776)

2.  President Johnson pardoning former Confederates (1868).  I wrote at length about this in yesterday's Saw the Elephant Civil War blog.

3.  First test run of the modern internet (1990)  Various pieces of it existed before 1990, but Christmas Day it was all connected to the first web browser.


Friday, December 26, 2014

What Makes a Classic Christmas Movie?-- Part 2

"A CHRISTMAS STORY" (1983).  As usual, this classic was shown 12 times in 24-hours going from Christmas Eve to Christmas.  This year on both TNT and TBS.  Mr. Spitz regards this as "arguably the last bona fide classic, given its longevity and stature.

This is also my all-time favorite Christmas movie.  I, of course, watched it once all the way through and then turned back to watch parts off and on during the marathons.

"NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION" (1989)  In pursuit of the perfect suburban Christmas (including all those lights.  My 2nd favorite Christmas movie.

"JINGLE ALL THE WAY (1996)--  No

"THE POLAR EXPRESS" (2004)--  Yes

"FRED CLAUS" (2007)--  Probably not  (But I liked it as a different approach to the tale.)

"LOVE ACTUALLY" (2003)--  Yes  (Not familiar with it.)

"THE SANTA CLAUSE" (1994)--  Yes  (I liked all three of them."

"THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY" (2013)--  To be determined.  (I've never heard of it.)

I'm surprised he didn't include "Miracle on 34th Street."


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

What Makes a Classic Christmas Movie-- Part 1

From the December 4, 2014, New York Times "Enties in the Silver Bell Sweepstakes" by Matc Spitz.

Mr. Spitz is looking for "Classic Christmas Movies."  He looked at several well-known Christmas movies and made a decision as to whether they were classic or not.   He gave a lot of information about each one of the movies he looked at.

"It's a Wonderful Life" (1946)  Probably the most celebrated one.  Originally a commercial flop, but made money from reruns on TV and was even in the public domain for awhile so stations did not have to pay to show it.  NBC has shown it a couple times already and it will be shown against tonight, Christmas Eve.

This movie still gets me at the end as I tear up.  It is just too much.  And, I love all the small town America circa the 1940s.

"ELF" ( 2003)--  Starring Will Farrell as Buddy, a human raised by Santa's elves at the North Pole and his difficulty fitting in with humans.  Spitz says classic.  I do also.  Kind of a "Big" of a different sort.

And then there's the one I'll watch tonight and off and on the next 24-hours, "A Christmas Story."

I'll talk about this one tomorrow.--DaChristmasCoot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Apologies-- Part 3: "If", "Autopilot" and "Surgical" Apologies

4.  In 1934, Japanese EMPEROR HIROHITO was visiting the city of Kiryu when his entourage was directed on the wrong route.  The mistake meant people along the route weren't properly dressed, and he arrived at his destination before the reception committee was ready for him.

About a week later, all of Kiryu's 65,000 residents faced the southeast to the palace in Tokyo and observed a minute of silent prayer to express their apologies.

5.  The art of PUBLIC APOLOGY includes the "IF" apology (I'm sorry if you were offended") and the autopilot apology ("mistakes were made").

Then there is the "surgical apology" like George W. Bush had in Nashville while campaigning.  An open mike caught him telling running mate Dick Cheney that New York Times reporter Adam Clymer was a "major league (expletive.)

he later apologized saying, "I regret that a private comment I made to the vice presidential candidate made it through the public airways."  But, he didn't express regret for saying it and he didn't apologize to Clymer.

Or, how to apologize and not really mean it.  Or, how to apologize for getting caught.

Mighty Slick One, Prez.  --Cooter

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

31 Things About Christmas-- Part 6: "Hark! How the Welken Rings"

26.  "SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN" is actually has a depressing back story.  Songwriter James "Haven" Gillespie was broke and jobless and his brother had just died when he was asked to write a Christmas song.  he was originally too overcome with grief but eventually found inspiration in his brother's death and the Christmas memories they had together.  "Hence "You better not cry, You better not pout.")

27.  The original lyrics to "HARK THE HERALD ANGELS SING"  was "Hark! How the Welkin Rings."  Welken is an old Englishe term for heaven.

28.  "JINGLE BELLS" was originally supposed to be a Thanksgiving song.

29.  Boston church leaders tried to have the song "I SAW MOMMY KISSING SANTA CLAUS" banned in 1950 because they thought it promoted "physical intimacy.  Singer Jimmy Boyd had to fly to Boston to explain why it wasn't obscene.

30.  Mariah Carey's "ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU" is considered the most popular of the newer Christmas songs.

31.  The highest grossing Christmas movie of all time is "HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS," the Jim Carrey version.

Who'd have Figured That?  --DaChristmasCoot

31 Things About Christmas-- Part 5: Noggin' That Egg

21.  Over the years there have been OTHER REINDEERon Santa Claus' team named Flossie, Glossie, Racer, Pacer, Scratcher, Feckless, Ready, Steady and Fireball.  (What, no GO?)

22.  The first batch of EGGNOG in America was crafted by Captain John Smith's Jamestown settlers in 1607.  The name eggnog comes from "grog" which means any drink made with rum.

23.  "SILENT NIGHT" is the most recorded Christmas song in history with 733 different versions copyrighted since 1978.

24.  Legend has "SILENT NIGHT" as being written by Father Joseph Mohr in Austria who was determined to have music at his Christmas service after his organ broke.  In reality, a priest wrote it while stationed in a pilgrim church in Austria.

25.  "WHITE CHRISTMAS" is the best-selling song of all time.

Jingle My Coot.  --Cooter

Monday, December 22, 2014

31 Things About Christmas-- Part 4: Reginald the Red-Nosed Reindeer

16.  The image of Santa Claus flying in his sled started in 1819 and was drawn up by the same author who created the HEADLESS HORSEMAN.

17.  RUDOLPH THE REINDEER was conceived by the Montgomery Ward's department store as a marketing gimmick to get kids to buy a holiday coloring book.

18.  Rudolph almost didn't have a RED NOSE either.  At the time, a red nose was considered a sign of alcoholism and Montgomery Ward's feared he'd look like a drunkard.

19.  Rudolph was almost named ROLLO or REGINALD.

20.  The poem "A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS" actually named the reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Duner & Blixem.  Donner and Blitzen are words from the German language meaning thunder and lightning.

In case you're wondering, Washington Irving was the guy in #16


31 Things About Christmas-- Part 3: Milk and Cookies

11.  Stockings by the fireplace comes from this story.  A poor man with three daughters couldn't afford the dowry to get them married.  One night St. Nicholas dropped a bag of gold down the man's chimney so that the oldest daughter could get married and it fell into a STOCKING that was drying by the fire.

12.  One reason for MILK and COOKIES is because Dutch kids would leave food and drink for Sinter Klaus on his feast day.

13.  CARROTS are left for Santa's reindeer because in Norse mythology , people left hay and treats for Odin's eight-legged horse Sleipnir in hopes the god would stop by their home during his annual Yule hunting adventures.  Dutch kids adopted the tradition.

14.  The Santa Claus LOOK of today was created at an 1804 meeting of the New York Historical Society where member John Pintard handed out wooden cut outs of jolly old ST. NICK in front of a stocking filled with toys.

15.  Though Santa Claus has WORN blue, white and green in the past but the now ever-present red came from a 1930s Coca-Cola ad.


31 Things You Didn't Know About Christmas-- Part 2: St. Nicholas

6.  People give GIFTS to symbolize the ones given to baby Jesus by the three wise men.  But Saturnalia also required revelers to offer up rituals to the gods.

7.  Christmas, because of its PAGAN roots, was not immediately accepted by religious groups.  From 1859 to 1881, it was even illegal to celebrate Christmas in Boston.  Fines were given, but no jail time.

8.  Santa Claus came from ST. NICHOLAS, a Christian bishop in present-day Turkey in the 4th century A.D..  He had inherited a great deal of wealth and was known for giving it away to help the needy.  When he was sainted, he became the protector of children.

9.  After his death, the legend of St. Nicholas spread.  The name St. Nicholas became Sint-Nicolas in Dutch, or SINTER KLAUS for short.  Then, you know.

10.  Santa Claus delivering presents comes from HOLLAND's celebration of St. Nicholas' feast day on December 6.  Children would leave shoes out the night before and in the morning find little gifts that St. Nicholas would leave them.

--Sinter Cooter

Saturday, December 20, 2014

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

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.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

1994 Round Lake Teacher Strike: December 11th, End in Sight?

DECEMBER 11TH, 1994, SUNDAY:  Up at 6:30 and wrote in this.  Reading the Chicago Tribune, I found an article on the one minute of silence required in Georgia and found some paragraphs on B.B., our Georgia Boy scab.

I called M.D. at 8:15 a.m. to tell him about it so he could put something about it in the Update.  He told me that a tentative agreement had been reached early this morning and that we would be voting on it tomorrow.  GREAT NEWS!!!

However, if this is not to my liking, I'll definitely vote it down.  A few more weeks or months is not going to make a difference to me.  They can't hurt me anymore than they already have unless I get fired for this which hopefully is not likely.  I already intend to quit any and all volunteering or perhaps restrict it even more than before.

Also, my days of coming into school even if I'm sick are over.  I will use many more sick days and will stop my efforts at student attendance.  The people of Round Lake have spoken long and loud about how they feel about us.  They have done nothing to end the strike ad when given a chance, sent their children to school with unqualified substitutes.

More to Come.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Woe Follows the Trail of the Bicycle

From the 1897 Chicago Tribune.

An interesting article about problems associated with these bicycles.




From the records of the Police Department of Chicago for the months of June and July 1897.

Pedestrians run down by cyclists--  10
Accidents from broken machines--  4
Wheelmen falling from machines-- 10
Cyclists colliding--  7
Colliding with electric cars--  7
Wheelmen run down by teams--  10
Wheelmen colliding with teams--  21
Ran against obstacles--  2
Clothing catching in machine--  3
Hurt by runaway horse--  1
Injured in crossing tracks--  3
Rode into river--  1
Cyclists collided in racing--  6
Wheelmen thrown from machines--  5
No-lamp collisions--  3
Run down by horseman--  1

Total--  100

Be Careful Out There--  DaCoot

Bikes Were All the Chicago Rage in the 1890s-- Part 4: Paving Streets and Tags

Some local clergy even went so far as to condemn bike riding on the Sabbath.  Bicycles were blamed for declining theater attendance, railroad revenue and horse riding.  Temperance folk were hoping alcohol consumption would go down, but it held steady.  Chewing gum went up, though.

Automobiles were still quite rare, but there were other vehicles to worry about for bicyclists.  Carriages and wagons pulled by horses were one problem as were pedestrians (Just try getting across a bike lane in Amsterdam without getting hit.)

Seeking a solution to the increasing street chaos, some suggested raised bicycle paths and cycling organizations lobbied the city to pave streets.  In 1897, the City Council passed an ordinance requiring$1 identification tags on bicycles.  Cycling clubs supported it hoping it would lead to more paves streets.

Rather quickly the craze went bust.  Sales, organizations and builders dropped plunged 1897-1904

But one Chicago firm building bicycles, Arnold, Schwinn & Co. stuck around.

Of course, this bicycling craze set the stage for the automobile craze coming along later.

Hey Mister, Get a Bike!!  --Cooter

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bikes Were All the Chicago Rage in the 1890s-- Part 3: Competition and Females

Hundreds of cyclists competed in the annual Pullman Bicycle Race which drew as many as 100,000 spectators along its 15 mile route

Cycling tracks were built in the parks.  Garfield Park was where the black cyclist Major Taylor set a world record in 1899 while doing a mile in just over a minute 22 seconds.  The Chicago Tribune called him "The Colored Wonder."

There were other endurance competitions racing for six days with only short breaks.  One such competition took place at the Chicago Colesium which resulted in Illinois' General Assembly making it illegal to race for more than 12 hours straight.

Some worried that the female body was too fragile to withstand the physical efforts of cycling.  Others feared that bicycling made it too easy for young men and women to socialize away from watchful eyes.  One coachman crashed in 1896 when he was distracted by the sight of "a well-formed woman wearing a suit of of red bloomers."


Shorpy Photos of 1900 Safety Bicycles

From Shorpy Site.

Kind of interesting that I would come across these two photographs right when I was doing entries about bicycling in Chicago 1890-1900.

From the Nov. 17, 2014, Shorpy "Miss Handle Bars: 1900

From the Nov. 18, 2014, Shorpy "Rover Boys: 1900.

See what those bikes looked like.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Bikes Were All the Rage in Chicago in the 1890s-- Part 2: Bicycling Capital

Bicycles had been in Chicago at least since 1868, when local resident Augustus Wheeler went around in a French "velocipede.  It wasn't until the late 1880s, when "safety bicycles" came onto the market.  These featured two wheels of the same size instead of the very dangerous big wheel ones.

Chicago became the bicycle center of the country by 1896.  Bicycle makers had grown from 4 to 25 companies in the previous six years and were turning out 250,000 a year.  (Then, there were the two brothers building bicycles in their shop in Dayton, Ohio,)  At an average cost of $75, they were well beyond the pay of most workers.

By 1896, there were 50 cycling clubs in the city with around 10,000 members altogether.

One cycling enthusiast was Carter Harrison Jr. whose father had been mayor.  When he ran for mayor in 1897, he posed on a bicycle for a campaign photo and received the support of the cyclists and won his first of five mayoral elections.

Ride! Ride! That Bicycle.  --DaCoot

Bikes Were All the Rage in Chicago in the 1890s-- Part 1: "Scorchers" and "Bloomers"

From the May 4, 2014, Chicago Tribune "Chicago, cycling capital" by Robert Loerzel.

  "Chicago's fastest, rudest bicyclists were called 'scorchers.' They hunched over their handlebars as they raced in the streets.  They were 'selfish, reckless, impudent transgressors of the law and trespassers upon the rights of others,' said the Tribune back then."  Scorchers were the forerunners of some of the more aggressive auto drivers  on the city's expressways today.

   By 1897, about 300,000 people -- 1 of every 5 Chicagoans-- rode bikes according to the city.

1986 was the pinnacle of America's first cycling craze and Chicago was right at the forefront.

"Scorchers" weren't the only "wheelmen" as cyclists were called.  Upper-class citizens took leisurely rides along the city boulevards.  Even some laborers who could afford bikes, rode them to work.

Women and girls were also riding, but with difficulty with the cumbersome ankle-length dresses they had to wear.  According to a Tribune story, Lucy Porter was the first female to ride a bicycle in baggy trousers called bloomers.  Lucy and other "Bloomer Gals" took grief on occasion for dressing like a man.

Don't be a Scorcers!" --Cooter

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Bay Area Pearl Harbor Survivors Recount Bombing: Richard "Johnny" Johnson

Though I usually do not post on Sundays, this is a special exception when December 7th occurs today.


From the December 5, 2014, ABC 7 News, San Francisco "Bay Area Survivors Recount Bombing at Pearl Harbor" by Eric Thomas.

Two Bay Area men are part of the dwindling group of veterans who were three.

RICHARD "JOHNNY" JOHNSON, of Lafayette was a young sailor on the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco and getting ready to head out to the beach when the attack came.  "And I saw these airplanes coming over the mountainsides and they're all lined up and they are moving kind of slow, but there are so many airplanes flying around Hawaii anyway that it didn't really mean much at first.

"Two bombs dropped on the Arizona and it began smoking.."

Part 2 will be posted today at my Not So Forgotten blog.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

1994 Round Lake Teacher Strike-- Part 6: Last Paycheck Cashed

D.K. said that the Cobra letter did not mean that we lose our insurance right away but that we still had 60 days and could reapply and extend it.  Also, M.D. (superintendent) had guaranteed the subs (scabs)_ permanent jobs which means she would have to fire the teachers.  D.K. said that the board could do this but they'd have to take each one of us  to court individually and that would cost $30,000 for each of us.

I followed D.K. to her house in Cary and had a long talk with her about the strike.  On the way back, I picked up some firewood and a wood holder for our fireplace.  I also bought the new Beatles CD and other cassettes at Best Buy.  I have been staying out of these places and not even looking at their flyers.  (Hey, both of us are on strike and have no money coming in.)  I had lunch at Tommy's where I had a Polish sausage sandwich.

Came home and helped Liz drain the hot tub and fill it up again.

We went back to Ellis School to say goodbye to the scabs.  I stayed in the car as I forgot my hat and gloves and it was starting to snow quite hard.  I still don't feel too good about the confrontations at Ellis because of the phone call to M..

Went to the bank and put my last school paycheck in, the one from Oct. 15th, this officially putting me on strike.  (When it became apparent that we would most likely have a strike, I began saving my paychecks instead of cashing them.  That way, every two weeks, I could cash one and it would seem like I had a paycheck.)

Went to Costello's and then home to watch TV.

Twenty Years Ago, the Round Lake Teacher Strike-- Part 5: The Georgia Scab and Trekking to the Lair

DECEMBER 6, 1994, TUESDAY:  There was about 1/4 inch of snow on the ground this morning and a very fine snow falling most of the day.

Drove to the front of the high school to confront B.B., the Georgia Boy scab.  Someone had found an article in People Magazine about his dismissal from South Gwinnett High School in Georgia over the one minute of silence that is mandatory.  He has to be one of the major hypocrites of all time.

Once again, I was amazed at how quiet the picketers were.  No one was yelling and one scab even walked by and they said nothing.

Went to Magee (Middle School, my school) and walked there until 9:45 when D.K. came back from hq where she had heard some of the picket captain's meeting.  Our picket captains: B.D., S.K. and M.K. had gone to Chicago to do informational picketing at the H.'s pl;ace of business.  They had earlier asked me if I'd go with them, but I chickened out.

(And, remember, this is December and the strike had been going on since October 17th.  Will it ever end?)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Twenty Years Ago on the Round Lake Teacher Strike-- Part 4: Second Longest Teacher Strike in Illinois

DECEMBER 5, 1994, MONDAY:  Also, as of the 17th, we would no longer have insurance.  She also made a big deal about a letter that the scabs supposedly found in their mailboxes that was threatening.  (I kind of doubt that we would have been able to get into a building and place them in the mailboxes without being seen what with the constant police presence.)

Came home and caught up on sleep and worked out.  S.L. (a high school teacher) came over and we went to Tom's for pizza.  Watched TV.

I had planned to go into the hot tub in the afternoon but decided not to when the water was very cloudy and smelly when I opened it.  Liz said it was a lack of chlorine.  We will have to drain it.

We are now the second-longest strike in Illinois history.  Only the small town of Homer, which went for eight months, went longer and they only had 29 teachers.


Twenty Years Ago on the Round lake Teacher Strike-- Part 3

DECEMBER 5, 1994, MONDAY:  According to the radio, the board will have a news conference today to announce they will be opening more grades.

Went to Village School to greet the scabs and had to apologize to a cop who came in driving a personal car right behind D.F. (a school board member) and I called him a "Scab!" before I realized it.  (Village School had been opened for 1st to 2nd grade earlier last week.)

I was going to go to Magee at 8:30, but heard that M.D. (our illustrious superintendent) was going to have a press conference at 9, so went there.  It didn't start until 10 and I stayed until 11.  In it, M. said they were opening 3rd grade tomorrow and freshmen and sophomores Monday.


Twenty Years Ago on the Round Lake Teacher Strike-- Part 2: Getting Mighty Cold Outside on the Line

Taken from my journal.

DECEMBER 2, 1994, FRIDAY:  D.B. and I went out to deliver the rest of the RLEA's (Round Lake Education Association) Straight Talk flyers to residents (this was union's effort to inform the parents what was really going on instead of the board's half-truths.  Those of us delivering were called UPS, Union Postal Service.) and found out the ones given us were from two weeks ago so decided not to deliver anymore.

We went to a rally at Hart's Woods (off Il-134) and actually had decent weather for a change (we now had been on strike since October 17th and it was getting MIGHTY COLD!!).  M.D. did a great rendition of "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" to the new name "School Board Got Run Over By the Teachers."

Went to Ellis School for two hours.  Lakeland Newspaper editor W.S. had a particularly scathing editorial about us next to a full page ad signed by 170 people supporting the board.  N.S. was particularly upset about it.  (W.S. has always been anti-teacher in the overpaid, underworked bent so anything he says can be dismissed as standard for him.)

K.P. is worried that she is going to get retribution for things she has done in the strike.

Drove to Costello's where I ate and then came home to watch TV.

Just Another day on the Line.  --Cooter

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Twenty Years Ago on the Round Lake Teacher Strike-- Part 1

DECEMBER 2, 1994, FRIDAY:  Missed Dino's (in Fox Lake, Illinois, where I always met teachers on Fridays for breakfast) because I overslept.  I decided to go to the high school entrance instead of Murphy School as I wanted to greet Georgia Boy.  In honor of his presence, i was wearing my University of Georgia hat and jacket.  (He had been fired from his teaching job in Georgia because of the one minute of silence requirement, something I admired him for, but he then came here to SCAB.)  I intended to call him a hypocritical carpetbagger, but settled for hypocritical scalawag.  There weren't very many people there.

I went to the strike headquarters for awhile and then to Magee and walked in front for awhile.  Evon, our social worker, and I went out on a UPS delivery (Union Postal Service) to area homes but came up short on pages and went back to the Headquarters for more.  A non-tenure teachers' meeting was going on there and these people have been great.  Only two of the 60 have crossed the line.

More to Come.  --Cooter

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Some More Shorpy 1893-1904 U.S. Navy Photos

9-19-12 Shorpy "Maine Cook Cat: 1896"  Taken aboard the famous USS Maine before it blew up in Havana Harbor showing the berth deck cooks and their cat.

9-17-12 Shorpy "Georgia in Maine: 1904."  October 1904, Bath, Maine "Bath Iron Works showing the launch of the battleship Georgia..

9-14-12 Shorpy "Russian Fleet Officers: 1893."  New York 1893: "Officers of the Russian fleet i n town for the Columbian Naval Review.


U.S. Navy Shorpy Photo 1908-- Part 2

The USS Columbia (CL12) and USS Minneapolis (CL 13) were in and out of service during their careers.  The Columbia had been decommissioned since May 3, 1907 and returned to service in 1915 where it served during World War I.  It was decommissioned in

June 29, 1921, and sold January 22, 1922.

There was an outhouse perched over the water on the Katahdin's starboard side for relief.  Not too sanitary for the river, though.

The Katahdin was highly innovative in its time, but obsolescent when it was designed after being copied after British 1870s-1880s harbor rams.  She was underpowered and unseaworthy.

It was obsolete when it was launched in 1896 and decommissioned October 1898 after the Spanish-American War.  In 1909 it was struck from the Navy register and designated a target vessel and sunk off Rappahannock Spit, Virginia, in the autumn of 1909.

--Don't Katahdin Me.  --DaCoot

U.S. Navy Shorpy Photos from 1908-- Part 1

From the September 21, 2012, Shorpy "Heavy Metal: 1908."

Philadelphia, curca 1908.  "Ships at League Island Navy Yard.  Cruisers Minneapolis and Columbia and armored ram Katahdin.

One comment quoted the Annual Report of the Navy Department for Fiscal Year 1907 saying that the Katahdin was considered to be of no military value and requested that it be sold.  Its value will continue to decrease and it was last commissioned for service in 1898 for the Spanish-American War.  So far, $54,067.77 had spent on construction and repairs on it.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Benjamin Franklin

From the Nov-Dec, 2014, Wayne County Public Library.

Reading was the key to his success as he only went to school for two years.

A man playing him appeared at the library in Goldsboro, N.C., on November 20th.

Among the famous things Ben Franklin did:

*  Founded the first subscription library in this country
*  Signed the declaration of Independence
*  Charted the Gulf Stream
*  Helped win the American Revolution
*  Invented bifocal glasses
*  Founded the University of Pennsylvania

Among the crazy things he did:

*  Flew a kite in a thunderstorm
*  Only went to school for two years
*  Wanted the national bird to be a turkey
*  Invented the rocking chair
*  Had the first bathtub in the country
*  Had a state named after him which has since disappeared

Now, You Know.  --Cooter

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Holiday Facts: "Wassail," Christmas Clubs and English Din-Din

From the November 20, 2014, Goldsboro (N.C.) News-Argus.

Well, since we are really fast approaching that time of the season.

**  "WASSAIL" comes from the old Norse "ves heill" to be of good health.  This evolved into the tradition of visiting neighbors on Christmas Eve and drinking to their health.

**  A CHRISTMAS CLUB, a savings account in which a person deposits a fixed amount of money regularly to be used at Christmas for shopping started around 1905.  (And, I believe they actually might have paid interest.)

**  A traditional Christmas dinner in early ENGLAND was the head of a pig prepared with mustard.  I'm holding out for a pig's eye.


Wright Brothers' Niece Recalls Family Stories-- Part 3

Orville Wright had a pre-lunch routine that he followed precisely.  He entered the back door at noon, placed his hat on a chair, ate one cracker then sat and read until the housekeeper called him for lunch.  He would leave and return minutes later to retrieve the bowler hat he'd left behind.  In other words, the man who discovered the secrets of manned flight could not remember his hat according to Amanda Wright Lane.

Lane has appeared on TV and visited dignitaries and presidents.

When she took the role as family ambassador during the 2003 centennial at the Wright Brothers National Memorial, she saw nearly 40,000 people gathered to see a replica of their plane attempt a take-off.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wright Brother's Niece Recalls Old Family Stories About Her Uncles-- Part 2

Great grand-niece Amanda Wright Lane was born in 1953,five years after Orville died and she used to listen intently to family stories, especially the ones told by her great aunt Ivonette Wright Miller who knew the brothers well and in 1911 became one of the first female airplane passengers.

Neither of the brothers ever married and Wilbur died in 1912 of typhoid fever at age 45.  Wilbur was the older of the two and took things more seriously.  Orville was more of a cut up and never graduated from high school.

The brothers would discuss each others' ideas and change them for flight.  Many changes came about from these sessions.

--Fly-Boy Cooter

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wright Brothers' Niece Recalls Old Family Stories-- Part 1

From the October 19, 2014, Goldsboro (N.C.) News-Argus by AP.

Amanda Wright Lane Says Loved Ones Always Believed They Would Achieve Flight.

About 50 years ago, Amanda Wright Lane's third-grade teacher told the class that the Wright brothers were the first to achieve flight.  She thought to herself that that wasn't right..  The first to fly were Uncle Wil and Uncle Orv.

She remembers that her extended family would gather every Sunday to tell stories about her famous uncles who ran a bicycle shop in Dayton and were fond of practical jokes.  And, they had the conviction that one day, they would fly.

The family supported them, but neighbors thought they were wasting their time.

She is the Wright brothers' great grand-niece and has been traveling the world since the 2003 centennial celebration of the historic December 17, 1903, flight at Kill Devil Hill in North Carolina.  She was born in 1953 and is the descendant of Wilbur and Orville's older brother Lorin.

More to Come.  --"Air" Cooter.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A "Treasure House" for British Literature in Chicagoland

From the May 28, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Quan Truong.

The Marion E. Wade Center on the campus of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, is quite the research center for British authors.

In it, you can sit at the desk where J.R.R. Tolkien drafted parts of "The Lord of the Rings."  You can also touch the wardrobe on which a young C.S. Lewis is said to have climbed to tell stories.

There are no velvet ropes to keep visitors away. You are welcome to touch some mighty important literature places.

That wardrobe was carved by Lewis' grandfather and see an original manuscript or pull out a lesser-known book written by the author of "The Chronicles of Narnia."

The center was founded 50 years ago and the new building housing it opened in 2001.  About 9,000 visitors come to it a year.  And, there is a huge research collection from Wheaton College professor Clyde Kilby..  he had the foresight to collect C.S. Lewis' old letters and manuscripts and later expanded his collection to include other British authors.

The center also has 2,500 volumes from Lewis' personal library

Of course, because of the recent movies, "The Lord of the Rings," "The Hobbitt" and "the Chronicles of Narnia" have made these two authors extremely popular.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How Many Godzilla Movies?-- Part 2

Now, we'll have nominations for best, worst, funniest movie title.

15.  Godzilla 1985 (1984)  Really?
14.  Godzilla 2000 (1999)
13.  Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghldorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
12.  Godzilla vs. King Ghldorah
11.  Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

10.  Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)
9.  Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 2 (1993)
8.  Ghldorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
7.  Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
6.  Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (1965)

5.  Godzilla vs. The Thing (1964)
4.  Destroy All Monsters (1968)
3.  Godzilla (2014) This year's offering.
2.  Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (1971)
1.  Godzilla (1954)  The original one and he suggests viewing the Japanese cut of it.

OK, Let's Make Godzilla's Rora.  --DaCoot

How Many Godzilla Movies Were There?-- Part 1

From the May 16, 2014, Chicago tribune "Godzilla: The Best , and the Rest" by Christopher Borrelli.

Borrelli ranks the 30 Godzilla movies, in case you're wondering how many there were.  He gives some info on the movies, but I'm just listing them.  (I liked the one out this year.)

30.  Godzilla (1998)
29.  Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)
28.  Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966)
27.  Godzilla's Revenge (1969)
26.  Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994)  Where do they come up with these titles?

25.  Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
24.  Godzilla vs. Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992)
23.  Godzilla vs. Magagulrus (2000)
22.  Godzilla QAgainst Mechagodzilla (2002)
21.  King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)

20.  Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)
19.  Son of Godzilla (1967)
18. Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
17.  Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
16.  Godzilla vs. Blollante (1989)

Imagine seeing all these?

More Power to Christopher.  --Cooter

Monday, November 17, 2014

Celebrating a "Miracle": The Wall Comes Down

From the November 9, 2014, Chicago Tribune.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday that an irrepressible yearning for freedom brought the Berlin Wall and called it a "miracle" the Cold War barrier was breached without a shot fired.  Germany would always be grateful for the courage of East Germans who protested the Communist dictatorship.


To mark the 25th anniversary a 9.3-mile-long "Border of Lights 2014" was switched on where the wall once stood.

From a 1989 photo: East Germans pour through the newly-opened Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Platz.  There are also people atop the curved top, one bravely standing (easy to fall off) and the rest straddled on it.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was there and waving to onlookers as he walked across Pariser Platz.  Earlier he had had strong words warning the U.S. and Russia over the current growing tensions that he believes will put the world "on the brink of a new Cold War."

One of the world's greatest statesmen.  he could have ordered mass shootings when all of this was taking place 25 years ago, but didn't.  And still looking for peaceful coexistence.

Like I said earlier, I never expected to see this happen.  At various parts of my life, I thought the Vietnam War was going to last forever and that there would always be a Cold War and a Berlin Wall.


Five Myths About the Berlin Wall: Germans Are Enthusiastic As the Rest of the World in Celebrating the Wall's Fall

5.  Actually, Germans have been far more ambivalent about the wall.  Germans shot their own people and, as a result of the opening, there have been economic problems like high levels of unemployment

Another factor complicating the fall of the wall is that Nov. 9th was the date when Nazis attacked Jewish businesses, synagogues and homes on the Night of the Broken Glass, or Kristallnacht.

On Nov. 9th, Germans celebrated the 25th anniversary with 8,000 illuminated balloons forming a "Border of light" along the former path of the wall in central Berlin..


Five Myths About the Berlin Wall: The Wall Fell Nov. 9, 1989

4.  That night and in the weeks following, East German officials removed pieces of the wall to create more crossing points between East and West.  Countless "wall peckers" with hammers and chisels came to take home their own pieces (some to be sold for profit.  I bought one of these little pieces for an exorbitant price, but a real, I hope, piece of history.).  But most of the wall was left standing.

Official demolition of the wall began in the summer of 1990.  It took almost two years to remove all of the border fortifications around Berlin and four years to dismantle them along the full length of East and West Germany's borders.

Even today, hundreds of mines have not been found.  In Berlin, a little over a mile of the wall remains, spread out over several sites.

But now, there are more segments of the wall on display in the United States than Berlin.

I've seen two in Missouri, one at a fort and the other at the town where Winston Churchill gave his "Iton Curtain" speech.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Five Myths About the Berlin Wall-- Part 3: President Reagan Brought Down the Wall

Many Americans believe that President Reagan's June 1987 speech in berlin ("Mr.Gorbachev, tear down this wall!") led to its coming down in 1989.  However, Gorbachev's reforms had far more to do with it.

The wall started to fall on November 9th as a result of a mistake.  In face of mass protests against its government, East Germany waived the old visa rules stating that citizens needed a pressing reason for travel to the west.  East Germans still had to apply, but they would be granted much faster.

The Communist official who announced this decision didn't know much about it and when in response to a reporter's question as to when it would take effect replied immediately and it kind of sounded like he meant the border could be crossed immediately.

Over the next several hours, thousands of East Berliners gathered at the check points along the wall.  They were held back, but the crowds continued to grow and get more angry.

At 11:30 p.m. the Bornholmer Street checkpoint allowed people to cross en masse.  Guards at other checkpoints  soon followed suit and the East German government never fully regained control.


Friday, November 14, 2014

"Operation" Inventor Needs One, Can't Afford It

From the October 30, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Tony Briscoe and Colleen Mastony.

John Spinello, 77, of Bloomingdale, Illinois, invented the popular board game "Operation."  Now, he really needs one, only, he can't afford it.

This has fueled a huge reaction.  Some people have said this game inspired them to go into a medical career.

He was a student at the University of Illinois in an industrial design class when he came up with the game as a project.  A relative who worked for Marvin Glass and Associates, a Chicago novelty and toy company and the boss, Marvin Glass liked it so much, he offered to buy the rights for it for $500 and give Spinello a job after graduation.

In 1965, the game reached the Milton Bradley Co. and was redesigned to feature a patient in an operating room.  The game became a smash hit

John Spinello, meanwhile, got his $500, but never worked for Glass.  he started a warehouse and shipping company which ended up declaring bankruptcy two years ago.

Right now, Spinello needs dental implants which will cost $25,000, a crowfunding website has raised $21,000 of  that amount as of Wednesday.

Maybe Milton Bradley Co. should kick in some money after all the dough they made on it.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Five Myths About the Berlin Wall-- Part 2: Key Move in the Cold War?

2.  KEY MOVE IN THE COLD WAR?  In 1952, the Soviets closed the East-West German border, but since Berlin was still 3/4 under the control of the U.S., Britain and France, they left the city alone.  West Berlin became an escape hatch for East Germans.

East Germany and the Soviet Union argued for 8 years about closing off West Berlin.  The Soviet Union argued that such a move would would make them look bad.  During that time, East Germany began stockpiling barbed wire and cement posts and formed a top secret working group to build the wall.  Plans were made to do this.

In the summer of 1961, with more than 1,000 East Germans a day leaving to West Berlin, Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev gave the east Germans the go-ahead and were greatly surprised at how fast they acted.



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Five Myths About the Berlin Wall-- Part 1: 25 Years Ago This Month

From the November 2, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Hope M. Harrison.

November 9, 1989, was an amazing day in history for me.  Something that I thought would always be there essentially came down with its opening.  I'm talking about the Berlin Wall.  This also was the death knell of the Soviet Union and to a large degree, Communism.  Two other things I thought would always be with us.  I was able to get a very small piece of it from friends who went to Germany shortly afterwards.  I would pass it around in my classes after that so the kids could touch some real history.

This was always a point in the very real Cold War.

These are some interesting things about the wall that most people don't know:

1.  THE BERLIN WALL WAS ONE WALL.  In fact, it was two walls separated by up to 160 yards of a death strip with guards (with shoot-to-kill orders), towers, dogs, floodlights, tripwires.  There were also over a million mines along the border between East and West Germany.

More than 5,000 East Germans managed to escape despite these obstacles.  Hundreds, perhaps thousands, died.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Civil War Trust to Preserve Revolutionary War Battlefields on This Veterans Day

The Civil War Trust, the nation's largest Civil War battlefield preservation group, who have saved over 40,000 acres of the field of conflict from that war, will announce today that they will now also save Revolutionary War battlefields as part of their expanding mission.

The announcement will be made at the Princeton Battle memorial in New Jersey.

Glad to hear It.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Al Capone's Old House-- Part 3

Barbara Hogsette, current owner raised a son in the first floor apartment and rents out the second floor.  She originally listed it in 2008 for $450,000 and thinks the house is a good investment, though few remnants from Capone are still there.

The gold-leaf cornices which Capone imported from Italy are there, but not the 7-foot European tubs because parts to fix them couldn't be found.

However, the original garage still stands, one of the largest in the neighborhood, where Capone kept his big, fancy cars.

Every spring and summer, Hogsette says she gets a steady stream of people riding by to take a look.

--Maybe a Mob Museum?  --Cooter

Al Capone's Old House-- Part 2

By Dahleen Glanton.

The brick two-flat at 7244 S. Prairie Avenue in Chicago's Park Manor neighborhood hasn't sold in 831 days, despite a drop in asking price from $300,000 to $225,000.  It now houses two apartments.  There are some fears that it might be torn down, but not too likely.

There is also a movement on to have it given landmark status.

The Capones bought it for $5,500 in August 1923.  They were among the wave of first- and second-generation immigrants who moved to this South Side neighborhood during Prohibition.  Historians say the home at 72nd Street and Prairie Avenue was his safe haven.  His mother, Teresa, and his wife, Mae, signed the original deed.

According to a December 1927 Chicago Tribune story, Capone once holed up in the house after police threatened to arrest him if he stepped outside.

Capone went to prison in 1931 and had moved to a home in Florida by the time of his death in 1947, but his mother continued to live in the house until she died in 1952.

A Piece of Chicago History.  --DaCoot

Now, You Can Buy Al Capone's House-- Part 1

From the October 29, 2014, Chicago Tribune"A humble home, owned by Capone.

"It's yours for $225,000.  The former home of Chicago crime boss Al Capone is for sale, but has languished on the market for 831 days without a nibble.  The Capones bought the building for $5,500 in August 1923.

"The brick two-flat is now owned by 77-year-old Barbara Hogsette, a retired teacher who bought the building in 1963 and still lives there.  She thinks the house is a good investment, but says there aren't many remnants of the notorious gangster left after several renovations."

Like, Bang, Bang. Shoot 'Em Up!!  --Cooter

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Deaths: Long-Suffering Mrs. Kotter from "Welcome Back Kotter"

MARCIA STRASSMAN, 66  Died October 24, 2014.

Played the lead role of Gabe's long-suffering wife on "Welcome Back Kotter."  Also was in the movie "Honey I Shrank the Kids" and its sequel.  She had a recurring role in "M,A,S.H.".

The poor lady had to listen to Kotter's stories about his family and the Sweathogs were liable to come a-visiting at any time.

A few years ago I was surprised to find out she was also a singer and in 1967 had a top 40 hit in several western radio markets with "Flower Children" which stalled at #105 on Billboard.

"Julie Kotter" also appeared on episodes of the Rockford Files, Love Boat and Magnum P.I..

Being a teacher at the time, I sure liked this show.

Deaths: Barney Miller Co-Creator Ted Flicker

TED FLICKER, 84.  Died September.  Co-creator of the TV series "Barney Miller."  He also wrote episodes for:

The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Andy Griffith Show
Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Streets of San Francisco
I dream of Jeannie.

These were all favorite TV shows on mine, especially Barney Miller.

"The Princess Bride" Fencing Scene and the Brady House

From the Oct. 12, 2014, Parade Magazine "Walter Scott's Personality Parade."

QUESTION--  Did Cary Elwes and Mandy Patkin use stunt doubles in "The Princess Bride's" fencing scene?

ANSWER--  They didn't.  To make it believable, director Rob "Meathead" Reiner asked them to learn fencing.  They practiced for two months.  That was a really amazing bit of fencing.

QUESTION--  If the "Brady Bunch" house went on the market today, how much would it sell for?

ANSWER--  The famed home from the sitcom was put on the market for $2 million in 2008, with a mortgage of almost $10,000 a month (getting close to my monthly taxes).  That's a lot of cash with a family of eight, including a live-in housekeeper.  Mike Brady's architect salary of $75,000 wouldn't come close to paying for the split-level, which is located along the Los Angeles River in the San Fernando Valley.

"Inconceivable!!" --DaCoot

Shorpy Photos the USS Brooklyn (1898), the KKK and the Spanish Flu Pandemic

From the Shorpy Photo website.

I always enjoy looking at these old photographs, enlarging them and reading the comments.

Recent ones of particular historical interest:

10-15-14 CONTAGION: 1918. 1918. "Demonstration of the Red Cross Emergency Ambulance Station in Washington, D.C., during the influenza pandemic of 1918.  Especially of interest in these days of Ebola.

11-5-14 MEN IN WHITE: 1925:  "August 9, 1925. Klansmen sightseeing at the U.S, Capitol in full regalia.  Something that would be mighty surprising to see today.

11-1-14 SPAR DECK SWABBIES: 1898.  Circa 1898 "League Island Navy Yard, Philadelphia  USS Brooklyn spar deck.  There is an interesting detailed account of what you see on that deck,


Friday, November 7, 2014

October 12th Was National Newspaper Carrier Day

From the Oct. 12, 2014, Parade Magazine.  they are saluting the thousands of Americans who have delivered newspapers across the U.S. bo th today and in the past.  This is often a child's first venture into the business world.

Here is a list of some famous folk who delivered newspapers:

Warren Buffett

Kathy Ireland

Judah Friedlander

Martin Luther King Jr.

Tom Cruise


It's a Time Thing-- Part 2: Timex Turns 160

From the October 12, 2014, Parade Magazine "Advances in Time."

Iconic American watchmaker Timex marks its marks its 160th anniversary this year.  Look back at its stylish influences over the years--and enter for a chance to win a watch from the new Waterbury collection at

This is the only watch I wear.  I have one on right now, a $9 digital screen.  The only time I have ever used my cell phone to check the time is when I forgot to put the watch on.

1933:  The Mickey Mouse watch made timepieces fun for all ages.

1959:  Timex's women's watch turned timekeeping into a fashion statement.

1986:  The "Ironman Triathlon" gave watches a rugged new reputation.

2014:  The "Waterbury" pays homage to the watchmaker's timeless legacy.

What Did That Guy Say About Them?  Something About "Takes a Lickin' But keeps On____"?  --Cooter

It's a Time Thing-- Part 1: How Do You Stack Up?

From the Oct. 12, 2014, Parade Magazine "Picks: How Does Your Daily Routine Compare to the Average Americans?

6 a.m.: Americans' typical weekday wakeup time.  (Back when i was working, it was 5:45 a.m..)

12--  The average lunchtime.  (At school, I usually had first lunch at 11 a.m.)

10 a.m.--  Typical bedtime  (Mine was 11 p.m.)

107--  Number of minutes spent on daily chores.

44--  Number of minutes spent shopping every day.

7 p.m.--  When most Americans are socializing with friends.

8 to 9 p.m.--  When a third of Americans watch TV.

TWICE--  Amount of time men spend on sports and exercise compared to women.

How'd You Compare?  --DaCoot

Faker's Guide to the Chicago Blackhawks-- Part 8: Magnuson, Kane and Dagger

KEITH MAGNUSON--  Former Blackhawks defenseman, captain and coach who shares a retired number with Pierre Pilote.  Never backed down.

PATRICK KANE--  Scored the Cup-winning goal in 2010.  Won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2013.  Statue Coming.

The Hawks players listed here and in previous posts, all have statues at the United Center.

"CHELSEA DAGGER"--  The song that blasts after the Hawks score (and win) comes from a 2006 album by the Scottish indie rock band The Fratellis.  None of the three band members is actually named Fratelli.  But, they sure had a great video of it.  Check it out.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Faker's Guide to the Chicago Blackhawks-- Part 8: The Anthem and Hall

THE ANTHEM-- The electric tradition of fans cheering during  "The Star-Spangled Banner" began during the 1985 playoffs.  The Hawks came home from Edmonton down two games to none.  As Wayne Messmer waited for the organ to begin, the Chicago Stadium fans simultaneously began cheering.

They cheered all through the anthem.  And have been ever since.  It ought to be on everyone's hockey bucket list.

GLENN HALL--  Retired number.  Hall of Famer.  "Mr. Goalie" backstopped the Hawks to the Stanley Cup in 1961.  Once played 503 consecutive games.  "Mr. Goalie" indeed.

Who's Have Thought Cheering Through the Anthem?  --Cooter

Faker's Guide to the Chicago Blackhawks-- Part 7: Joel and Stan and How Bad Was It?

JOEL QUENNEVILLE--  The besr bench coach in the league gets the most talented roster in the NHL.  Seems unfair to the rest of the league at times, but tough.  Makes up for Da Bears, Da Sox and Da Cubs.

STAN BOWMAN--  Hawks general manager is the son of Hockey Yoda Scotty Bowman.  So yeah, winning Stanley Cups is kind of a family business.

HOW BAD WAS IT?-- Before Rocky Wirtz took over the Hawks in 2007, it was almost as if they had ceased to exist.  very few people cared about them, you never saw anyone wearing Hawks gear and, they just were unknown.  I could care less about them back then, but not any more.

Go hawks.  --DaCoot

Faker's Guide to the Chicago Blackhawks-- Part 6: The Indian Head and Toews

THE INDIAN HEAD--  First owner Frederic McLaughlin's wife designed that great Indian head logo for the team in the 1920s..  Despite tweaks along the way, the crest looks basically the same.  My opinion, it is the best logo in the NHL and anywhere for that matter.  I haven't even heard of Indians being upset about it.

JOHNATHAN TOEWS--  Captained two Cup Winners (2010 & 2013), won two Olympic Gold medals and captured two significant individual NHL trophies by the age of 25. The best young winner in Chicago ever,

Give Me One of Those Hawks Jerseys.  --Cooter

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Faker's Guide to the Chicago Blackhawks-- Part 5: The Trade and Tony

THE TRADE--  In 1967, the Hawks made one of the worst trades in the history of sports, not just the NHL.  The Hawks sent Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield to the Bruins for Pit Martin, Jack Norris and Gilles Marotte.

Esposito and Hodge led the Bruins to two Stanley Cups in three seasons.  The hawks, on the other hand, went 49 years before they won it.  Hockey's version of baseballs Cubs-Cards Brock-for-Broglio trade.

TONY ESPOSITO--  Retired number.  Hall of Fame.  "Tony O" threw 15 shutouts in his rookie season.  "To-ny, To-ny, To-ny."

Go You Fratellis.   --Cooter

Faker's Guide to the Chicago Blackhawks-- Part 4: Stadium, Center and Pilote

CHICAGO STADIUM--  Where the Blackhawks played until 1994.

THE UNITED CENTER--  Opened in 1994 across the street from the old Chicago Stadium.  Despite the three searing levels and 169 suites that lost the coziness of the Stadium, the Hawks' magnificence and the maniac fans help you remember the old roar of the Stadium.

The Chicago Bulls also play there and it is neat to see the transformation from ice to hard court.

PIERRE PILOTE--  Retired number.  Member of Hall of Fame.  Member of the 1961 Stanley Cup champions.  One of the greatest offensive defensemen and power-play quarterbacks in history.  Sort of a Duncan Keith with a crew cut.

"Dut, Dut-Dut-Dut."  --DaCoot

Faker's Guide to the Chicago Blackhawks-- Part 3: Rivals and Savard

For you brand new Blackhawks fans.

THE RIVALS:  Everybody hates the Montreal Canadiens because they are the New York Yankees of the NHL.  (And, last night the Hawks defeated them 5-0!!)  And, because of the 1971 and 1973 finals, don't ask.  Still hurts.  (This was before I became a fan.)

The Hawks also have a playoff thing with the biting, hair-pulling Canucks.  Closer to home, the Hawks' most bitter rivals are the Red Wings, Blues and former North Stars.  Punch Dino Ciccarelli if you get the chance.

DENNIS SAVARD:  Retired number.  Hall of Famer.  The most electrifying player in an era that included Wayne Gterzky.

See on-line videos of his spin-o-ramas for details.

Let's All Do That "Chelsea Dagger" Thing  --Cooter

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Twenty Years Ago: 1994 Round Lake Teacher Strike-- Part 2

"I left at that time and drove home to get my equipment and went to Costello's where I set up (to deejay)  for a strike party.  I had originally intended to try to get a larger place for fear of the big crowd I expected.  Was I ever wrong.  We probably had about 30 teachers the whole time.  I certainly won't give up my time for them again."

Twenty Years Ago: Round Lake Teacher Strike November 4, 1994-- Part 1

From my journal.  November 4, Friday.

"Still raining this morning.  Met the usual crowd at Dino's for breakfast).  T.B. was there as well and had written a good letter about how the board makes a lot of money paying teachers over 12 months instead of 9.

"Went by the rear entrance of the high school and watched the scabs come in.  S.G. and S.L. had gone to the scab rendezvous point at the Pizza Place and scared them so bad that they had fled to the Round Lake police department and they received a police escort onto school grounds.

"We just turned our backs on them.  I waved at R.R. and told her how I was disappointed in her action.

"Walked the line at Magee from 8 to 11:30.  H.H. bought a six foot sub sandwich which we shared on the line.  Rained most of the time.

Faker's Guide to the Chicago Blackhawks-- Part 2: Owners and Mikita

THE OWNERS:  Upon Frederic McLaughlin's death in 1944, after Stanley Cups in 1934 and 1938, the Norris family took over.  Under James D. Norris' stewardship, the Hawks won the Cup in 1961.

Upon Norris' death in 1966, the Wirtz family took over.  Arthur Wirtz, who was called the "Baron of the Bottom Line," let Bobby Hull jump to the fledgling World Hockey Association.  He never won a Cup.  Wirtz's son, "Dollar Bill" Wirtz, ran the club equally tightfistedly, overseeing the departures of Chris Chelios, Ed Belfour and just about anyone else who was good.  Bill never won a Cup.

His son, Rocky Wirtz took over the Hawks in 2007 and immediately put home games on TV.  he hired John McDonough to turn around a dreary organization.  Back then, you rarely saw anyone wearing anything with the Blackhawks on it, much less the increasingly popular jerseys.

Rocky spent money to make the hockey team better and has won two Stanley Cups.

Go Figure.

STAN MIKITA:  Hall of Fame center.  retired number.  member of 1961 Stanley Cup champions.

One of the greatest puck handlers and passers in history.  Also invented the curved stick.  Lots of reasons for goalies back then to hate him.

If I get another jersey, it will be his.

He Shoots!! He SCORES!!  --DaCoot

Faker's Guide to the Chicago Blackhawks-- Part 1: Cups, The Name and Hull

From the October 9, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Steve Rosenbloom and Drew Litton.

These are the things every good Chicago Blackhawk fan should know.

STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS: 1934, 1938, 1961, 2010 and 2013.

THE NAME:  The Blackhawks were founded on May 1, 1926, but they were founded as the Black Hawks.  Yes, two words.  And, there is still some confusion on that.  Most times I write them as two words.

Chicago coffee tycoon Frederic McLaughlin commanded a World War I machine gun battalion in a unit known as the "Blackhawk Division," named for Black Hawk, a significant figure in the Sauk Indian Nation history. The name remained two words until 1986.

So, technically, the team wasn't named for an Indian, but rather an Army division.

They are also widely called just as the "Hawks."

BOBBY HULL:  Breathtaking speed, a weapons'grade slap shot and 610 goals.  Retired number.  Hall of Famer.  Member of the 1961 Stanley Cup champions.  Called the "Golden Jet."  Has a statue at the United Center.

Many folks around here wear Blackhawl jerseys when watching and cheering them on.  Mine is for Bobby Hull, good ol' No. 9.

Go, Hawks Go!!  --Cooter

Monday, November 3, 2014

Eat, Drink and Be Scary-- Part 4

Halloween By the Numbers:

$350 MILLION--  Total amount people will spend on costumes for pets, up 60% from 2010, according to the National Retail Federation.  (And folks wonder why their dogs bite them.  I have to laugh at the thought of us ever getting a costume on our dog Brandy while she was alive.  I doubt that this would ever happen.  That dog would put up a big fight.)

$7.4 BILLION--  Total projected spending on Halloween this year in the U.S., up from $6.9 billion last year, but less than the record $8 billion projected in 2012, according to the National Retail Federation.

$2.5 BILLION--  Total projected Halloween candy sales this year, according to the National Confectioners Association.  (We spent $14 before Halloween and about $15 yesterday when it was half price.)

9 BILLION--  Pieces of candy corn produced this year; according to the NCA.  (I ate a few of 'em.  It wouldn't be fall without candy corn, taffy apples, real apple cider and anything made with pumpkins.

What Is the Correct Way to Eat a Piece of Candy Corn?  All at Once or Bite Off Each Color and Chew?  --RoadDog

And, Speaking of Stunts: Nik Wallenda Does It

Last night, I watched Nik Wallenda walk across the Chicago River while on that tightrope up high above.  They estimate 65,000 people there for it as well as a whole lot of folks watching on the Discovery Channel.  He then walked between the Marina City Towers while blindfolded.

Sure Glad He Didn't Fall.  --Cooter

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Eat, Drink and Be Scary-- Part 3

17,000--  Reported number of people on the wait list for McKamey Manor, an "extreme" haunted house in San Diego that takes four to seven hours to get through depending upon how fast you run from the baddies.  (Don't you think "extreme" has become sort of an extremely overused word?)

1,650--  Number of haunted houses listed on in the U.S. and Canada, down from a peak of 4,000 a decade ago, according to Larry Kirchner, editor of, the biggest haunted house listing.  Rising costs of operating haunted houses and rising admission prices have left only the biggest and best standing., he said.  (I think we ion the Round Lake Area Jaycees charged about $2 to get in our haunted house back in the 70s.)

1.2 MILLION--  The number of online searches for "Frozen" Halloween costumes, far more than the 873,000 searches for last year's top costume--a pirate.  The runner-up this year was a zombie, with 863,000 searches ccording to SLI Systems, which studied site search activity across 17 costume retailer websites based in the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia from September 1st to Oct. 26th.

Like Liz's Tee Shirt Said.  --DaCoot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Stunts-- Part 4

10.  One of the SEVEN WONDERS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD was destroyed by a stunt.  A man named Herostratus torched the ancient Greek Temple of Artemis merely because he thought it would make him famous.

Authorities reacted by decreeing that no one could mention his name, but a Greek historian did, and Herostratus got his wish, appearing in the pages of the Chicago Tribune more than two millennia later.

Maybe He Should Have Tried to Jump Over It In His Chariot.  --Cooter

Eat, Drink and Be Scary-- Part 2

Some more Halloween numbers:

53 PERCENT--  Percentage of parents who say their kids ages 4 to 10 would prefer cash to candy or toys when trick-or-treating, according to a survey from discount code website  (I know I would prefer the money.)

19.7 PERCENT--Percentage of people who will make their costume, according to the retail federation.  (Liz just wears her "I Don't Do Costumes" tee shirt.  I wear my "Forget the Candy, Give Me a Beer" tee shirt and "Trick/Treat hat.)

67.4 PERCENT-- Percentage of Halloween celebrators who will buy a costume, the most in the 11-year history of the National Retail federation.  (We didn't buy our costumes THIS YEAR, but we had to get the tee shirts and hat somewhere at an earlier date several years ago.

NO. 1--  Roscoe Village's ranking on Zillow's list of top Chicago neighborhoods for trick-or-treating, based on home values, population density, crime data and walk score.  Edison Park and Bucktown were Nos. 2 and 3, respectively.  (My top thing was how near the houses were to each other.  More houses=more candy.)

Anyway, After Seeing "Halloween 3," I Wouldn't Be Wearing a Mask Anyway.  --DaCoot

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Ear, Drink and Be Scary-- Part 1

From the October 31, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz.

Some Halloween Numbers:

2/3--  Proportion of U.S. that celebrates Halloween according to the National Retail Federation. (We celebrated it with decorations, lights, candy and a couple Halloween parties.)

60+--  Age group most likely to give out candy to trick-or-treaters, according to the National Confectioners Association.We are 60 and gave out candy.

$59.99--  Cost of a sexy Ebola Containment Suit at  (I didn't buy one.)

$77.52--  Average amount spent on Halloween by those who celebrate, up from $75.03 last year, according to the National Retail Federation.  (We spent maybe $16.00, not counting beer.)

More to Come.  --DaCoot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Stunts-- Part 3

8.  BRETT HULSEY,  a Democrat candidate for governor of Wisconsin, announced in May that he planned to hand out Ku Klux Klan hoods outside the state's Republican convention to protest racism.  But, when he showed up, he had no hoods, and he told reporters he had left them in his car.

He did not go stunt-free, however, wearing a makeshift Confederate soldier uniform he had assembled from thrift store purchases.  Hulsey, denounced by officials of both parties, lost his primary race in August with 17% of the vote.

9.  At the turn of the last century, people loved watching trains crash.  It all started in 1896 when William Crush, an enterprising employee for the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway looking to make a name for himself and the railway, hatched a scheme to crash two locomotives into each other.

Given the green light, he set up a pop-up town named Crush in a remote area of Texas.  The event was free, but the train ticket to Crush was $2.  As many as 50,000 reportedly made the trip.  It looked like a runaway success, but despite assurances the locomotives wouldn't blow up, they did, spraying the crowd with shrapnel.

Three people were killed and dozens injured.  That didn't stop survivors posing for photographs with the wreckage.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Haunted Hotels for a Haunted Stay

From the October 19, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Jay Jones.

Even better than going to one of those made-up haunted houses that seem to be everywhere, why not actually go to sleep with the scaries in a real haunted hotel?

Here is a list of five supposedly haunted hotels.  But. like the Eagles said in that song about the one in California, "You can check in, but you can never check out."

1.  THE 1866 CRESCENT HOTEL & SPA (75 Prospect Avenue, Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  They bill themselves as "America's Most Haunted Hotel."  It was a Depression-era hospital for desperate cancer patients.

2.  THE OTESAGA OF COOPERSTOWN (60 Lake Street, Cooperstown, N.Y.) isn't far from the former home of Louis C. Jones, author of "Things That Go Bump in the Night."  At one time it was an all-girls school.

3.  THE QUEEN MARY (1126 Queen's Highway, Long Beach, Ca.).  The former ocean liner is now a floating hotel and attracts 1.5 million visitors a year.  Many, many eerie things, one of which is said to be from a young crewman in the engine room who was crushed to death in 1966 by the closing of a watertight door,

4.  17HUNDRED90 INN (307 E. President Street, Savannah, Georgia).  Resident ghost Anna is not mean, but mischievous.

5.  THE STANLEY HOTEL ( 333 Wonderview Avenue, Estes Park, Colorado).  Book a night in Room 217.  Former housekeeper Elizabeth Wilson haunts it.

And, actually, there is a real HOTEL CALIFORNIA in Santa Monica, California.

"We Are Just Prisoners Here of Our Own Disguise."  --DaCoot

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

4.  According to common myth, a stuntman died during the filming of the chariot-race scene from the 1959 movie "BEN HUR."  But that never happened.  Ironically, the director of that scene, Andrew Marton, may have fueled the rumors by denying them, saying sarcastically that 20 people and 100 horses had died filming it.  The studio's infirmary primarily was treating sunburns during its filming.

5.  EDWARD BERNAYS, a New York publicity agent and nephew of Sigmund Freud, marketed cigarettes to women as a way for equal rights and to stay slim with the slogan, "Reach for a cigarette instead of dessert."

For the 1929 Easter Parade along New York's Fifth Avenue, he orchestrated a stunt in which classy-looking women at designated locations joined the promenade and lit up cigarettes.  His product, Lucky Strike.

6.  The TOUR DE FRANCE bicycle race was started in 1903 as a publicity stunt to help save a struggling sports newspaper called L'Auto.

And then, there was the famous "Bunion Derby" along Route 66 in, I think, 1929 which did a lot to promote the new road.

7.  ALVIN "SHIPWRECK" KELLY is most often credited--or blamed?-- for popularizing the flagpole-sitting craze in the late 1920s.  In June 1927, he sat on top of a pole on a Newark, N.J., hotel for 12 and 1/2 days.  He returned to the ground to wild acclaim and much fame, and it clearly went to his head.

Seven years later, his wife had him forcibly removed from another pole and charged him with abandoning her and their seven children.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

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

From the October 26, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer, great researchers.

What with Nik Wallenda intending to walk across the Chicago River on a tightrope next weekend as a stunt, here are ten other stunts.

1.  The last major stunt in Chicago was perhaps DANIEL GOODWIN "SPIDER DAN" scaling the John Hancock Center on Nov. 11, 1981, and authorities didn't like it a bit.  They tried to stuo him, even with him being hundreds of feet off the ground.  Firefighters doused him with high pressure hoses and then tried to block his way with a window-washing scaffold and pike poles.

They even broke out windows and tried to pull him inside.

Finally Mayor Jane Byrne decided to allow him to finish his way to the top where he was promptly arrested.  Wallenda, of course, won't be arrested for his stunt.

Living in the Chicagoland area, this event was all over the news and most everyone was pulling for "Spider Dan" and not really happy that he was arrested.

2.  LINCOLN BEACHEY, one of the first great stunt pilots, was known for his "death dips," his loop-the-loop and his flights around the U.S. Capitol, under abridge at Niagara Falls and inside a building in San Francisco.

At a 1912 air show in Chicago, Beachey dressed as a woman and pretended to be an amateur pilot, flying wildly and buzzing cars on Michigan Avenue.

He came to his end in 1915, when he tried an extreme maneuver and his plane's wings fell off, plunging him into San Francisco Bay.  He was found drowned, still strapped into the pilot's seat.

3.  SNAPPLE'S attempt to clinch the world record for largest ice pop on the first day of summer in 2005 in New York's Union Square rapidly turned into a sticky mess when the 25-foot tall, 5-foot wide, 17 ton ice pop liquefied in the 80 degree heat and really mucked up everything.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pulled the Boat Out on Monday

This past Monday, we pulled the boat out of the water and took it over to the marina to be winterized and have the bottom cleaned.  It was a nice day with temps in the 70s and with the rest of the week expected to get quite a bit wetter and colder with temps in the upper 40s.

We were able to get out on the boat 45 times (we keep count).  We figure we need to get out at least 40 times a season to make all the money we spend on boating worth it.  This was one of the coldest, worst weather summers we remember in our thirty years of boating.

Some More of That Global _____ I Suppose.  Only It "Ain't" That Warm!!  --RoadDog

A Break from the Strike

I had already arranged to take the weekend of October 29-30, 1994, to Nashville, Tennessee, for the NIU-Vanderbilt football game, so after walking the line on Friday, Oct. 28th, I went to O'Hare Airport and took a plane to Nashville and stayed with my brother Bob.

Unfortunately, Northern gave Vandy a good game, but lost at the end.  Vandy fans kept coming up to us as we left the game saying that we should have won.  Afterwards, we went to Second Avenue and later saw a German oom-pah band, Oktoberfest, you know.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Round Lake Teacher Strike-- Part 10: Orange Fences All Over My School

As angry as I was at the school board and administration for bringing on this strike, those orange snow fences infuriated me the most.  I even made up a sign saying "Don't Fence Me Out" taking from the old Bing Crosby song "Don't Fence Me In."

The fence also caused me to buy the "Don't Tread on Me" flag.


"I had a long talk today with Lt. D.W. of the Round Lake Beach police force about the fences and their presence.  He said they had done long studies on strikes and decided the fences were good because they clearly showed where people could and couldn't go.

"The police need to be there in case mob psychology takes over.  he says the police recommended that the board take these steps."

It was an interesting talk, but the fences were not needed, nor was police presence needed.  We were teachers, not likely to go on a rampage of destruction and mayhem.  The fences were put there to make us look bad and I'm sure that is what the administration and school board had in mind.  Same with the police being there.  The strike, however, did make the police a lot of money in overtime which I understand the district had to pay.

We have been out on the line in Waukegan three times and never even seen a cop car drive by the picket lines, much less park their cars there with an officer inside it.  And, there are no FENCES!!   The few other strikes I've been at have been officerless and fenceless as well.

The Lincoln Memorial: Facts

**  Ground was broken for the memorial Feb. 12, 1914.

**  The Lincoln statue is in 28 pieces and weighs 340,000 pounds.

**  The original murals in the memorial faded badly and were restored in the 1990s.

**  Hollywood has featured the memorial in movies such as the "Transformers" films and"The Day the Earth Stood Still."


The Lincoln Memorial's Role in History

From the May 25, 2014, Chicago Tribune by William Hagerman.

"It would ne hard to visit the Lincoln Memorial and not be moved.  Few locations, in the nation's capital, or anywhere else, are as evocative."

The Memorial has been a backdrop for events in American history, especially to the blacks in America.  Songer Marian Anderson was banned fro  performing in Constitution Hall because she was black and instead sang at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939.  Of course, there was the  famous Dr. Martin Luther King speech in 1963.

Jay Sacher has a new book out called "Lincoln Memorial: The Story and Design of an American Monument," where he looks into its history.

He covers the big events as mentioned, but also obscure ones like the fight to get it built, the partnership between architect Henry Bacon and sculptor Daniel Chester French.

I wrote about Henry Bacon's father, Henry Bacon, Sr., who engineered "The Rocks" at Wilmington, N.C. as well as the Swash Defense Dam at the same place in my Running the Blockade blog.

--  Cooter

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Round Lake Teacher Strike 1994-- Part 9


"Walked back to Magee and took pictures of the fence and several of the trees which weer in brilliant autumn colors.  Walked the line until 9:30 when I went to the picket captain meeting and while there, Kora came in and said I should go to Ellis to take pictures of the Hispanic kids.

"Liz drove us there and I got good shots of them and the Ellis teachers.  We also went to Indian Hill which is very isolated and they were happy to see us.  We stayed there about twenty minutes and saw only three or four cars go by.

"They took me back to hq and I went back to the Magee line.  Some local pizza places delivered free pizza to the line at one but refused to let us know who was responsible.  That was a very nice thing to do.

"We had a big rally at Hart's Woods and I got it all on tape.  The Ellis teachers performed three songs that were very good thanks to the skills of D.F. and B.E..

Afterwards, we went to Costello's and stayed until 9.

Friday, October 24, 2014

12 Facts About Autumn-- Part 4: Pumpkins

9.  HALLOWEEN is a large part of autumn.  (After all, we have the Halloween stuff on store shelves since September.)

The concept of wearing masks and costumes hails from the ancient Celtic tradition.  The Celts believed ghosts roamed on Halloween, and people wore disguises to hide from the spirits.  (Not to win prize money.)

10.  You're bound to see PUMPKINS as part of autumn decor.  The pumpkin was first named by the Greeks.  They called this edible orange item "pepon," which means 'large melon."  We have six artificial pumpkins in our front-facing windows.  Looks EERIE!!

11.  EVERGREEN TREES will not lose their leaves like deciduous trees.  Their leaves, also called needles, are covered with a thick wax.  This wax protects the inner components of the needles, preventing them from freezing.  This goes for yews as well.

12.  Autumn also signals another COLORFUL SPECTACLE, the NORTHERN LIGHTS.  The aurora borealis tends to be very visible this time of the year because geomagnetic storms are about twice as likely to occur during the fall thanks to cool evening weather.

So, Now You Know About Fall.  --DaCoot

12 Facts About Autumn-- Part 3

Continued from October 16th.

6.  Fall is PEAK MIGRATION TIME  for many species of birds.  During autumn, birds will fly over to other areas as they seek more hospitable climates.

The Arctic tern journeys about 11,000 miles each way for its annual migration.  That is like going across the United States about there and a half times.

7.  Contrary to popular belief, SQUIRRELS who have spent the entire autumn collecting acorns and other foods do not hibernate for the winter.  Rather, they spend the majority of their time in nests they built to shelter them from harsh weather.

When squirrels do come out during the winter, they are usually tunneling under the snow to find the food they buried during the fall.

I have never seen more squirrels out collecting food as I have this fall.  They are everywhere.

8.  Several cultures have ancient TRADITIONS THAT COINCIDE WITH AUTUMN.  For example, the Chinese celebrate the Moon Festival to give thanks for a successful summer harvest.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Round Lake Teacher Strike 1994-- Part 8

DAY THREE, OCTOBER 19TH:  "Decided to bring in my camcorder today.  Went to the headquarters and picked up the stuff for Magee.  Out on the line by 6:30 and then walked over to the high school/administration area where we would have a speech by the IEA president.

"Again, the cops were in full force but at least without the paddy wagon.  We had speeches and songs and then the president spoke.  He told us the eyes of everyone were on us, not just Illinois, but the whole U.S..  he said he had never seen fences and cops at any teacher strike.

"We then had more songs then M.D., our leader (superintendent), drove up and behind the admin building with just a quick glance at the people she leads.  She looks very haggard."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Round Lake Teacher Strike 1994-- Part 7: Second Day: Really Walking the Line

October 18th:  "B.D., R.S. and I went to Costello's where they were having a teachers special for the duration of the strike with cheeseburger and fries for $2.25.  That is very nice of Frank and Sharon.

"Back at the line, B.D. and I got bored and took a walk down Hart Road to Sunset and down to the high school picket area.  Talked with them for awhile and then continued on to where they're finally starting to cut Sunset through.

"There, we ran into R.D., whom I've known for years.  He is now mayor of Round Lake Beach.  Talked with him a while and then continued to the first street and walked toward Cedar Lake past another high school picket line (they were watching two entrances, front and back).  The trees were beautiful.

"We walked by the  administration building and found it to be nothing like yesterday.  There were only two cop cars, a few teachers and a few students in the area.  Walked on back to the Magee picket line.  Left at 4 and came home."

"Watched TV and rested."