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.