Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Look at Heinz and Kraft Brand History-- Part 1: Ketchup and Jell-O

From the Narch 26, 2015, Chicago tribune "Amid a new chapter, a look at brands' history" by AP.


The company's name is synonymous with the ketchup it began selling since 1876.  Before that, ketchup was not necessarily made from tomatoes.  Some early recipes were based on mushrooms and seafood.  Heinz needed to point out theirs was made with tomatoes.


The base ingredient has been used in desserts as far back as the Middle Ages, but it was a cough syrup-maker in 1897 who made it what it is today.

Pearle Bixby Wait started mixing powdered gelatin with fruit flavors and sugar.  The result was Genesee Pure Food Co. in 1899, and within a few years was advertising in the Ladies Home Journal.

there is even a whole museum dedicated to Jell-O in Leroy, New York, where it was created.

It Squiggles and Wiggles.  Always Love to see Babies Tasting It For the First Time.  --CooterSqiggle

Monday, March 30, 2015

Heinz Thinking Kraft

From the March 26, 2015, Chicago Tribune.

Big news here in the Chicago area concerning H.J. Heinz buying Kraft Foods to make the third-largest food and beverage company in North America and fifth largest in the world.

HEINZ in 2014 had more than $10 billion in sales.  They listed 9 name brands of which I only recognized two: Heinz and  Ore-Ida.  They also have Classico, Complan, ABC, Quero, Plasmon, Master and Wattie's.

KRAFT in 2014 had more than $18 billion in sales and I recognized all nine of the brands listed: Kraft, Philadelphia Cheese, Oscar Meyer, Lunchables, Planters, Velveeta, Kool-Aid, Maxwell House Coffee and Kraft Cheese.


PepsiCo--  $37.2 billion
Nestle--  27.9 billion
KraftHeinz--  $22.2 billion
Coca-Cola--  $21.5 billion
General Mills--  $13.7 billion
Kellogg--  $9.5 billion
Mondelez--  $6.9 billion
Campbell Soup--  $6.4 billion
Dr. Pepper Snapple--  $5.6 billion
J.M. Smucker--  $5.5 billion
McCormick--  $2.4 billion

Eating Good in the Neighborhood.  --DaCoot

Burger Wars

From the Feb, 23, 2015, Time Magazine "Small Business Fast Food."

Chains and their Main Burgers.

WENDY'S--  Founded 1969 in Columbus, Ohio.  Signature Burger: Dave's Hot 'N Juicy 1/4-lb single.  fresh, never-frozen beef.

SMASHBURGER--  Founded 2007 in Denver.  Signature Burger: Classic Small Smash.  Burgers are packed loosley and then "smashed" on a grill.

McDONALD'S--  Founded 1948 in San Bernardino, Cal.  Signature Burger: Big Mac.  You know what it has.  Sing it.

SHAKE SHACK--  Founded 2004 in New York City.  Signature Burger: Single Shackburger.  Its mission-- "stand for something good."  63 stores today and opening 10 a year.

BURGER KING--  Founded 1954 in Miami.  Signature Burger: Whopper.  has changed hands several times before merging with Tim Horton's in 2014.  Tout their flame-grilled burgers.

FIVE GUYS--  Founded in 1986 in Arlington, Virginia.  Signature Burger: Little Cheeseburger.  More than 250,000 ways to top it  Each order of fries is heaped with lots of extras.

I've never had a Smashburger, Shake Shack or Five Guys.

Gettin' Migty Hongry!  --Cooter

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Veterans Day McHenry, Illinois, 2014: Dedication of Vietnam War Memorial

On Nov. 11, 2014, i was outside at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown McHenry, Illinois, on a blustery, rainy day, paying homage to four young McHenry men who never got the chance to grow old.  They were killed in Vietnam.

Two of the dead were twins.

It was a cold, gray day.

The McHenry High School Class of 2014 donated $900 to the memorial and the school's chorus sang in the gazebo.: "America the Beautiful," "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and closed with "God Bless America."

McHenry's mayor remarked, "It's a beautiful day in McHenry," which it surely, despite the weather, was.  Any time you can honor those who have given the last full measure, it is a beautiful day indeed.

After the ceremony, we all moved across the park to the memorial itself, which was a project on the McHenry Class of 1964. The names of the four McHenry men is listed and then the site of their deaths was marked on a map of Vietnam.  Facts and pictures of the war are engraved on the back of it.

One was killed just eight days after his arrival.  One was a Marine who served one tour and was killed in his second.

We were back in the park on March 14, 2015, while enjoying the St. Patrick's celebration and paid our respects.

Young Lives Cut Way Short.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Five Myths About Daylight Saving Time-- Part 2

3.  IT HELPS US CONSERVE ENERGY:  In 2005, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act which extended DST by a month to save four weeks of energy.  With a little more daylight available when pwople are awake, we can keep energy use down.

But the California Energy Commission had run studies that indicate energy saving at .18 percent at best.  Of course, this might lead to more air conditioning use.

4.  DST BENEFITS BUSINESSES:  Businesses lobbied for the 2005 act.  The Chamber of Commerce was definitely for it.  The grill and charcoal industries were behind it and say they gain $200 million in sales with the extra month.  The National Association of Convenience Stores probably lobbied most.  More time for kids to stock up and eat snacks and candy.  Even better around Halloween.

But, TV says its ratings suffer during DST.  hey, folks are outside.  The 8 o'clock hour (7 p.m. Central) is particularly hard hit.  Airlines are not happy either because of the cost of keeping domestic and international travel.  Amtrack is known to halt their trains for an hour in November so they don't show up early or leave before their 3 a.m. times.

5.  STANDARD TIME IS STANDARD:  We are actually on DST for eight months.  That kind of makes it THE STANDARD TIME, doesn't it.

Still getting used to the time change.

I Say Keep It Year Round.  --DaCoot

Five Myths About Daylight Savings Time-- Part 1

From the March 9, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Rachel Feltman.

Daylight Savings Time struck Sunday at 2 a.m. in every state but Hawaii and Arizona.  We've had it since World War I, but there are things about it that most people still don't know.

1.  DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME WAS MEANT TO HELP FARMERS:  The idea that more daylight means more time in the field is commonly held.  Actually, farmers were against it and that is a big reason that until 1966 we never had a peacetime daylight saving time.  Farmers had a powerful lobby.  The lost hour in the morning meant they had to rush to get their crops to the market.  And cows apparently adjust to the new time very poorly.

2.  THE EXTRA DAYLIGHT MAKES US HEALTHIER AND HAPPIER:  We get the additional vitamin D.  Fewer traffic fatalities, more recreation time and increased economic activity.  It help clear away the winter blues a little earlier.  "We all just feel sunnier."

However, experts have indicated spikes in workplace accidents, suicide, and headaches when the change occurs.

Well, I Like It.  --CooterSunShine

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Big & Loud, Big Ten B-Ball Fans-- Part 3

6.  MARYLAND--  (Xfinity Center)  West end seats 2,600 students known as "The Wall."  First ten rows reserved for the most animated students.

5.  PURDUE--  (Mackey Arena)  Paint Crew student section.

4.  ILLINOIS--  (State Farm Center)  Invented in the 1970s, the Orange Krush is one of the more intense student sections.

3.  INDIANA--  (Assembly Hall)  With 6,800 seats reserved for students, the Crimson Guard dubs itself the largest student section in the nation.

2.  WISCONSIN--  (Kohl Center)  The Grateful red section on the south end of the arena can push the limits of decency sometimes.

1.  MICHIGAN STATE--  (Breslin Center)  The Izzone, named for coach Tom izzo surrounds almost the entire lower and upper bowl.  Three thousand student seats with the "up-close, rowdy crowd in the 1,500 seats in the lower bowl provides the Spartans one of the country's greatest home-court advantages.

Rah-Rah ras, Kick Him in the ....  (Other Knee).  --Cooter

Big & Loud: Rating the Big Ten College B-Ball Fans-- Part 2

12.  RUTGERS--  (Louis Brown Athletic Center)  Riot Squad still getting acquainted with its new conference.

11.  OHIO STATE--  (Value City Arena)  Nuthouse student section, but passion compared to football still lacking.

10.  IOWA--  (Carver-Hawkeye Arena)    Student section seems more removed and has less impact.

9.  MINNESOTA--  (Williams Arena)  Aptly-named Barnyard always has some students dressed as cows and chickens.

8.  NEBRASKA-- (Pinnacle Bank Arena)  Opposing players rank it as among league's loudest.

7.  MICHIGAN--  (Crisler Arena)  The Maize Craze section of 2,600 fans is known for its intimidating taunts of opposition.

Rah-Rah Ree, Kick Him in the Knee.  --DaCoot

Big & Loud: Big 10, 11,12,13, 14 B-Ball Cheering-- Part 1

From the March 1, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Shannon Ryan and Fred Mitchell.


"Face-painted, costume-wearing, vocal-chord-shredding 18-to 22-year-olds make Big Ten games an event.  They create atmosphere."

And to think of all that money Mommy and Daddy are sending to their schools so their offspring can act like idiots.

"Can student sections win games?  No.
But they make a difference.
Here are the best and worst in the Big Ten."

Well, actually the Big 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and whatever that new logo is B1O, or whatever that is. and especially since it no longer is a Midwest conference.

14.  Penn State  Too busy counting down the days until Spring Football. (Bryce Jordan Center)

13.  NORTHWESTERN--  Wildside started in 2010 and has potential, but still playing in smallest Big 10,11,12,13,14 arena.  (Welsh-Ryan Arena)

Who?  Me?  Foolish?  --Cooter

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Maybe It Was Gerbils Spreading Black Death

From the Feb. 26, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Oh, rats!  Study cites gerbils for Black Death" by Sarah Kaplan, Washington Post.

Scientists now say that it was not the much-maligned black rat that spread that horrible disease across Europe eight centuries ago.  They have identified a new culprit, that favorite little pet, the gerbil.

A climate study of 14th-century Europe contradicts the notion that the plague outbreaks were caused by disease-carrying fleas hosted by the continent's rats.  In order for the rats to have spread it, you would have needed warm summers with little precipitation..  But, there is no relationship between them.

"Instead, the Black death, as the epidemic was known, seemed to be tied to the climate in Asia.  Analysis of 15 tree-ring records, which document yearly weather conditions, shows that Europe always experienced plague outbreaks after central Asia had a wet spring followed by a warm summer -- terrible conditions for black rats, but ideal for Asia's gerbil population."

Numbers of gerbils increased and they carried their bacteria-laden fleas to Europe along the Silk Road arriving a few years later to clobber Europe's population.  Over 100 million died in the "Second Plague pandemic" in the mid-14th century.  It continued to recur until the 1800s.

Beware the Horrible Gerbil.  --DaCoot

Looking for John Belushi-- Part 6: Still Looking, "Do You Know What Films He Was In?"

Christopher Borrelli then went to Elm Street in Wheaton and found there was no historical marker at the home the Belushi brothers grew up in.  They attended Lincoln Elementary School a short distance away.  There he found only a picture of Jim Belushi.

There was a video store not far from the homestead so he stopped to ask if they had any John Belushi movies for rent.  The clerk replied, "Do you know what films he was in?"

Across the street was the Seven Dwarfs Family Restaurant which turns out was started in the 1950s and asked if John ever ate there.  The waitress replied, "Oh! He worked here.  Jim too."

Well. A little's Better Than Nothing.  --Cooter

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Looking for John Belushi-- Part 5: College of DuPage and Wheaton Central High School

Christopher Borrelli drove to John Belushi's hometown of Wheaton to see if they had anything in his honor.  They did.  The McAnich Art center at the College of DuPage (all sorts of problems with its president these days) has recently rededicated  its 800-seat theater as the Belushi Performance Hall, but that is actually for both John and his brother Jim (both are CoD alumni).  Jim has raised $330,000 for the college's John Belushi Scholarship Fund.

From there, Borrelli drove to Wheaton Warrenville South High School.  John Belushi graduated from Wheaton Central, but a Mariano's sits where Central once stood.

Belushi gets a modest tribute in the lobby of Wheaton Warrenville in a glass case which has a "Blues Brothers" CD, a picture of Belushi and Dan Aykroyd and a photo of Belushi as Wheaton Central's homecoming king (Class of 1967).  

In an additional case, there is a similar tribute to Wheaton alum Bob Woodward includes a copy of :"Wired," the man who wrote the often reviled John Belushi biography.  A nearby stairwell has a mural of Belushi, football legend Red Grange and astronomer Edwin Hubble, also alumni.

"Seven Good Years of College Down the Drain.  --Cooter

Monday, March 23, 2015

Looking for John Belushi-- Part 4: Where Is He Buried?

"On Martha's Vineyard, off Cape Cod in Massachusetts, where Belushi has a home, there are two gravesites, a small stone that reads 'Belushi' (where he is said to be buried) and a newer, less solemn stone with a questionable epitaph: 'I may be gone but rock and roll lives on.'

"The last time I visited, this second stone, a kind of tourist decoy, was complemented by whiskey bottles, dark sunglasses and an 'Animal House' photo with an illegible thank-you note.

"At the Elmwood  Cemetery in River grove, where Belushi's parents are buried, the scene is far classier, an honorary tombstone to their son reads 'He Made Us Laugh.'"

He Sure Did Make Us Laugh.  --Cooter

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Looking for John Belushi-- Part 2: Still No Fries, Just Cheeps

Well, Christopher Borrelli, a John Belushi fan on par with me, was in Chicago and determined to set out to  retrace or find Belushi's past in town.

The hotel clerk did not know of any Belushi statue, but maybe he should go over to Second City.  Surely they would have something about one of their most famous alums.  The had only a painting of him on a mural of other second City stars.

They told him to go over and check out the Billy Goat Tavern near the Tribune building.  Of course, that was was the skit where Belushi did his famous "Ceezbooger, Cheezbooger" imitation of its Greek cooks which has made the place such a tourist attraction.  They did have some stuff, but no statue and, "no fries, no Coke!  Just cheeps."

"Many years later, there are no Belushi memorials or honorary whatevers in Chicago."

He did say there were fiberglass Blues Brothers statues until recently at the A Concourse at Chicago's Midway Airport and at Celebrity Salon in Evanston.  (There are also a fiberglass Blues brothers at the Polka Dot Inn in Braidwood, Illinois, on the famous Route 66.)

At Calumet Fisheries on East 95th Street, beside the bridge that the Blues Brothers leaped in the film, there is a shrine to the movie.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Looking for John Belushi-- Part 1: "I Would Like to Feed Your Fingertips to the Wolverines"

From the Feb. 15, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Searching for signs of John Belushi" by Christopher Borrelli.

Like Mr. Borrelli, if I had to pick an all-time favorite comic actor, it would be John Belushi.  I am still mad that he took his life and kept me from all those great movies I'm sure he would have made.  That guy could do more with just an eyebrow than most comedians can do full body.

"The first time I visited Chicago, about 25 years ago, i asked the clerk at the front desk of my hotel if he would point me in the direction of the John Belushi statue, the John Belushi memorial, the John Belushi honorary whatever.

"Because I had always assumed there was one.  Alongside 'Star Wars,' K-Tel records and Steve Martin, this Albanian-American from Wheaton played such an outsized role in so many '70s childhoods, there had to be something.

"Those dancing eyebrows, that coiled Tasmanian Devil caricature of a presence, that cheerfully rampaging personality behind a sweet smile -- Belushi was the unshackled id of the Carter administration, the rebel you wanted to be before you knew any better."

He even remembers the first line spoken by Belushi on his first episode.  That was in this article's title.

I couldn't have summed up John Belushi any better.

John belushi, One Really Funny Guy.  --DaCoot

Saturday Night Live: The Chicago Connection-- Part 3: Dunn, Farley, Fey and Poehler

NORA DUNN (1985-1990)--  One of the smartest cast members best known for her Pat Stevens character.

CHRIS FARLEY  (1990-1995)--  Best-known for Matt Foley character.  He was a bit too over-the-top for me.  Too much trying to be John Belushi.

TINA FEY  (2000-2006)--  has become a writer, comedian, awards show host and entertainment mogul.  I really got to know her through the "30 Rock" sitcom.

AMY POEHLER--  Lively and gregarious.  I first got to know her through her sitcom "Parks and Recreation."


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Saturday Night Live: The Chicago Connection-- Part 2

BILL MURRAY (1977-1980)--  "The famously eclectic Winnetka native followed in older brother Brian Doyle-Murray at second City where he performed alongside John Candy.  Hired when Chevy Chase left.  Nick the Lounge Singer.

BRIAN DOYLE-MURRAY (1979-1982)--  His younger brother reached SNL first  Hosted SNL's Newsbreak" forerunner of Weekend Update."  Wrote the screenplay for "Caddyshack" and appeared in the film "Groundhog Day" with brother Bill.

JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS (1982-1985)--  Before Seinfeld.-

JIM BELUSHI (1983-1985)--  John's younger brother and just as funny.

MIKE MYERS  (1989-1995)--  From Second City.

Funny Folks.  --DaCoot

"Saturday Night Live": The Chicago Connection-- Part 1

From the Feb. 15, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Saturday Night" specials.

In regards to the NBC special for the show's 40th anniversary shown that night.  Each year of "Saturday Night Live" the show's talent scouts and Lorne Michaels have come to Chicago to look for the next performers.  Not everyone from Chicago has found big fame, but many have.

I used to watch it whenever I wasn't out in the 70s, and in the 80s, 90s and oughts I was usually deejaying so didn't get to see it often  Now, however, its late night slot means I'm asleep by the time it comes on.

Here are some of the Chicago Connections and years on the show:  THere are many others listed, but I didn't really know them.

GILDA RADNER (1975-1980)--  "Baba Wawa.  Died of cancer in 1986.

DAN AYKROYD (1975-1979)--  One of the show's biggest breakout stars.  from canada.  member of the Blues Brothers.

JOHN BELUSHI ( 1975-1979)--  Chicago's Billy Goat tavern sure thanks him.  "--but Belushi created a veritable river of comic brilliance during the short flame of his life and career.  Wheaton never had a funnier son."  I'm still mad at him for killing himself.  I could only imagine how much more fun I could have had.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March Madness Began in Illinois-- Part 3

The motto "March Madness" remained largely a Midwest regional thing for dour decades until CBS broadcaster Brent Musburger, a former Chicago newspaper reporter began referring to the NCAA's  basketball tournament.  The term caught on.

But, in 1996, the IHSA sued to stop the NCAA corporate sponsor GTE from distributing a video game bearing the March madness title.

Later that year, the IHSA and NCAA hammered out a joint venture called the March Madness Athletic Association, which now holds all trademark rights to the term.

They go on the prowl when all those brackets start going viral.

So, Give me That M.M. Bracket.  --Cooter

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

March Madness Began in Illinois-- Part 2

In the 1940s, "March Madness" became the state's nickname for its basketball tournament.  This would include when the team from little Hebron, Illinois, won the championship in 1951.  In 1977, the IHSA made it official, licensing the phrase to companies like Pepsi and Wilson Sporting Goods.  Other states could use it for a $10 fee.

Henry V. Porter, who started his career as teacher and coach at Athens High School in central Illinois, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1960 and died in 1975.

This week, the IHSA announced that it had discovered in Porter's personal collection thee earliest video of the IHSA boys basketball tournament, including action from the 1932-1936 state finals.

How It Came to Mean College Next.  --Cooter

Monday, March 16, 2015

March Madness Began in Illinois-- Part 1

From the March 15, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Chicago Sports Flashback: Phrase's popularity truly poetic justice" by Tim Bannon.

Tim Bannon seems to get any history sports articles in the Tribune.  he also did the recent one on Cubs and Sox Spring Training in French Lick, Indiana.

"For more than 40 years, 'March Madness' was confined to Illinois.  The state's high school basketball tournament started in 1908 (Peoria Rock Island 48-29 for the title) and continued for three decades without a catchphrase.

"Then in 1939, Henry V. Porter, an Illinois High School Association (IHSA) official, wrote an article for the IHSA magazine.  It was titled 'March Madness.'

"'A little March madness may complement and contribute to sanity and help keep society on an even keel,' he wrote.

"Three years later, he punctuated his poem with a poem, 'Basketball Ides of March,' which included these lines: 'The Madness of March is running.  The winged feet fl, the ball sails high.  And field goal hunters are gunning.'"

So. That's the Guy.  Sorry NCAA.  --Cooter

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Renovated Antioch Theatre Reopens

From the March 4, 2015, Hi-Liter "Renovated theater reopens" by Jude Kaider.

It was cold, really cold, but a crowd of folks were when the theater was relighted.  This structure was the Antioch Theatre at 378 Lake St, in downtown Antioch, Illinois.  There were free bags of popcorn.  The event marked the end of a major renovation project and so begins a new chapter in the nearly-century-old life of it.

It was originally named the Majestic Theatre and opened in 1919, initially featuring live entertainment.  Five years later it was renamed and became a movie theater.

In recent years, the building was in big need of both interior and exterior remodeling and repair as well as updated electrical and sprinkler systems.  An even bigger problem was the digital age projectors, not something the analog projectors at the theater could handle.

Fortunately for Anticoh, local real estate developer Tom Downey decided the place was worth saving.  Using the Kickstarter fundraising campaign, $83,00 was raised plus corporate sponsors kicked in.

In addition to the main theater, a smaller 29-seat one has been built.

We drove by it the other night and it the exterior is quite impressive.  Looking forward to seeing a movie there.


White Sox Spring Training Sites Through the Years-- Part 2

Winter Haven, Fla. (1924)
Shreveport, la. (1925-1928)
Dallas (1929)

San Antonio (1930-1932)
Pasadena, Calif. (1933-1942, 1946-1950)
French Lick, Ind. (1943-1944)

Terre Haute, Ind. (1945)
Palm Springs, Calif. (1951)
El Centro, Calif (1952-1953)

Tampa, Fla. (1954-1959)
Sarasota, Fla. (1960-1997)

Tucson, Ariz. (1998-2008)
Glendale, Ari. (2009-present)


Friday, March 13, 2015

White Sox Spring Training Sites Through the Years-- Part 1

From the Feb. 22, 2015 Chicago Tribune "Preparing for battle in Indiana" by Tim Bannon.

The White Sox held spring training in 1943 and 1944 in French Lick, Indiana because of wartime travel restrictions.  In 1945 they moved to Terre Haute, Indiana.

CHICAGO WHITE SOX Spring Training Sites:

Excelsior Springs, Mo. (1901-1902)
Mobile, Ala. (1903)
Marlin Springs, Texas (1904)

New Orleans (1905-1906)
Mexico City, Mexico (1907)
Los Angeles (1908)

San Francisco (1909-1910)
Mineral Wells, Texas (1911, 1916-1919)
Waco, Texas (1912, 1920)

Paso Robles, Calif. (1913-1915)
Waxahachie, Texas (1921)
Seguin, Texas (1922-1923)

More to Come.  --DaCoot

Cubs Spring Training Sites Through the Years

From the Feb. 22, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Preparing for battle in Indiana" byTim Bannon.

I have been writing about the Cubs and Sox both having Spring Training in French Lick, Indiana, because of wartime restrictions in my Tattooed On Your Soul: World War II Blog the last two days.  The article also had a listing of every Cub and Sox Spring tarining site.


Champaign, Illinois (1901-02, 1905)
Los Angeles, Ca.  (1903-04, 19481949)
Santa Monica, California ((1905)

New Orleans (1907, 1911-1912)
Vicksburg, Miss. (1908)
Hot Springs, Ark. (1909-1910)

Tampa, Fla. (1913-1916)
Pasadena, Cal. (1917-1921)
Catalina Island, Cal. (1922-1942, 1946-1947, 1950-1951)

French Lick, Ind. (1943-1945)
Long Beach, Cal. (1966)
Scottsdale, Ari. (1967-1978)

Mesa, Ari. (1952-1965, 1979 to present)

That's the Cubs for You.  --Cooter

Thursday, March 12, 2015

George N. Leighton

I looked up Judge George N. Leighton to find out some more information on the man.  especially in light of that highly controversial decision he made back in 1965.  The first thing I found out is that he is still alive at the age of 102 (born in 1912) and that he is African-American.

That may have had an impact on his decision in the case.

But, this is one incredible man.  To have overcome the prejudices and segregation in the United States prior to 1965 to rise to his position as a judge is truly remarkable.  In Wikipedia, he is listed as an African-American jurist, born in New Bedford, Massachusetts of parents from Cape Verde.

He graduated from Howard University and served during World War II as an officer.  After the war, he graduated from Harvard University and began a private practice from 1946-1964, except for when he served as Assistant Attorney General of Illinois from 1949 to 1951.

He served as a judge for the Cook County from 1964-1969 and was the first African-American to be hold a position on the Appellate Court of Illinois and in 1976 was appointed to the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois.

This is just a short summary of his accomplishments.  I'd say he deserves to have that Cook County criminal courts building named after him.

Fifty Years Ago: Judge's Controversial Ruling-- Part 2

"The Tribune called the ruling 'idiotic.'  Law enforcement officials called it a dangerous precedent.  Residents and many politicians called for Leighton's impeachment.

"Leighton not only didn't back down, he fought back, calling the public indignation over his ruling 'infantile behavior.'  He noted that the defense called no witnesses during the trial.  'I'm not a fool,' the judge said.  'I'm not going to accept every word of te police officers just because the defendant doesn't deny it.'

"He said prosecution witnesses disparaged the neighborhood by saying it was frequented by 'Negroes, Puerto Ricans, Indians.'

"On March 11, Leighton released a memo painting a different picture of the October incident.  The police didn't see the defendants menacing anybody.  In this accounting, the officers were the aggressors.

"Leighton's reasoning didn't lessen the outrage, but time did.  When two years later Leighton was nominated for the federal bench, even the Tribune editorial page approved.  In 2012, the Cook County criminal courts building at 26th and Cal was renamed in Leighton's honor."

I never heard of this case, but even now, am angered by the judge's decision.

Fifty Years Ago This Week: Judge's Controversial Ruling-- Part 1

"In October 1964, two off-duty police officers driving on North Clark Street were warned about a 'crazy guy trying to cut people with a bottle."

"Here's what happened next, according to police and prosecutors:  When the officers arrived at the scene, they found two men, one with a broken bottle.  They approached with weapons drawn and told Simon Suarez to drop the bottle.  He refused and swore at them.

"In the ensuing scuffle, one of the officers was slashed badly in the face, fell to the ground and was kicked.  The other officer was beaten.

"On March 5, 1965, Judge George N. Leighton shocked the establishment by ruling after a bench trial that the arrest wasn't lawful and the officers shouldn't have drawn their guns.

"The shock and outrage from prosecutors, police and the Tribune jumps off the news pages even fifty years later."

I Had Never Heard of This Case.  --

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week-- Part 4: Selma Civil Rights Marches

"It was more dangerous for African-Americans to march in Alabama on March 7 [1951] than it was for Marines to land on a beach in South Vietnam.  State troopers, under orders from Alabama Gov. George Wallace, reacted violently to the right-to-vote demonstration, firing tear gas into the crowd and clubbing people with nightsticks.

"After "'Bloody Sunday,' Selma became ground zero in the civil rights movement.  King led a second, largely peaceful march of more than 2,500 protesters March 9.  Later that day, five men attacked three out-of-town white ministers.  The Rev. James Reeb was beaten so badly he would die two days later.

"On March 21, tens of thousands of marchers, led by King and protected by hundreds of soldiers, began a successful three-day trek to the state capital.  President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law less than five months later.


Fifty Years Ago This Week-- Part 3: Governor Stratton Tax Evasion Trial

"Former Republican Governor William Stratton was accused of failing to report nearly $100,000 in income-- campaign contributions the feds said Stratton converted for personal use-- from 1957 to 1960 during his second term.

"Republicans called foul, saying it was a "political trial."  U.S. senator Everett Dirksen testified at the trial as a self-described expert on the subject and said Stratton had done nothing wrong.

"The jury acquitted Stratton on March 11t, 1965 and, though it was silent on its reasons, a Tribune analysis of the judge's instructions pointed to his emphasis on whether the government had proved willful intent.  The next day, a Tribune editorial said, 'The morality of mixing campaign contributions and personal gifts is open to question, but is done so regularly that it is accepted as normal political practice.

"'In a state like Illinois, nobody except a very rich man could aspire to be governor unless his political expenses, including gowns for his wife, were provided.'"

Corruption in Illinois Government.  Who'd a Thunk It?  --Cooter

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Fifty Years Ago This Week-- Part 2: First U.S. Combat troops in Vietnam

"Operation Rolling Thunder started March 2, 1965, with bombing raids over North Vietnam. On March 7th, the Tribune reported that two battalions of Marines were on their way to Vietnam to 'help guard the strategic air base at Da Nang.'

"The next day, the Tribune's banner headline read 'MARINES LAND IN VIET NAM,' and Secretary of State Dean Rusk said their duty would be 'local, close-in security' and that they would not engage in 'pacification,' which the Tribune pointed out, was the term the government was using to describe the actual fighting.

"A week later they suffered their first casualties when a Marine was killed in a friendly fire incident.  Before the year was out, more than 200,000 U.S. troops would be in Vietnam."

And, the Casualty Lists Ever-Expanded After That.  --DaCoot

Fifty Years Ago This Week-- Part 1 "A Remarkable Confluence of Events"

From the March 8, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Chicago Flashback: Hitting Rewind of Historic Week" by Stephan Benzkofer.

"This week 50 years ago saw a remarkable confluence of events that in striking ways echoes in 2015.  In March 1865, the United States took a huge step to escalate its role in Vietnam; a former Illinois governor was on trial for tax evasion; the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led the historic march from Selma, Alabama,;  and a Cook County judge's ruling that police mishandles the arrest of two Latino men exploded into a major controversy.

"A half century later, U.S. war planes bomb Islamic State flighters; the effect of money on campaigns and candidates remains as issue; the movie "Selma" recreates MLK's landmark walk and sparks its own controversy; and the U.S. department of Justice declares that Ferguson, Mo., police regularly violated the civil rights of African-American residents."

And, Mr. Benzkofer goes further to say that recently the Grateful Dead sold out multiple Soldier Field concerts this summer.  The band formed in 1965.

Also of interest, the cost of a Tribune 50 years ago was 10 cents weekdays and 25 cents on Sundays.  Today it is $1.50 on weekdays and $3 on Sundays.

Only a Deadhead.  --Cooter

Monday, March 9, 2015

Christening of the USS Illinois Gets Closer-- Part 3

Commander Jess Porter, the new submarine's skipper says there are 73 submarines in the U.S. navy.  Once deployed, his crew will spend 8 hours on duty and 16 off with no days off while at sea.  The Illinois will be used in near-shore and deep-water missions.  It will be involved with anti-submarine, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare, special operations support, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare.

Subs usually ship out with 120 days worth of food and supplies

Off duty, the crew can watch movies, play games, work out and even send e-mails except when the ship is in "covert posture."  They can receive e-mail, but can't send it.

The last Virginia-class submarine commissioned was the USS North Dakota.  Class ships in the works are the Washington, Colorado, Indiana, South Dakota, Delaware, Vermont and Oregon.

The new USS Illinois is the first commissioned Navy ship since a battleship by the name was launched in 1901.  Years later that ship was reclassified and renamed the "Prairie State" to free up the name for another battleship.

Diving Again!  --Cooter

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Christening of USS Illinois Gets Nearer-- Part 2

This will be the fourth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name.  Two of them were never completed due to the end of the Civil War for the first and the end of World War II for another one.  The only commissioned USS Illinois was an early battleship.

This submarine has some impressive states:

** 377 feet long, 34 -foot beam and 32 feet draft.

**  It will be able to dive than feet below the surface.

**  It will be armed with Tomahawk missiles and MK-48 heavyweight torpedoes carrying 650-pound high-explosive warheads.

**  It will attain top speeds of more than 25 knots while submerged.

**  The crew will be all-male and number 139.

The Land of Lincoln on the High Seas.  --DaIllinoisCoot

Christening of USS Illinois Nears This Year-- Part 1

From the Feb. 4, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Christening near for nuclear sub named for the state" by Katherine Skiba.  It used to be that only battleships and ships-of-the-line were designated to be named after states.  But now, that honor has gone to submarines.

The $2.7 billion nuclear submarine USS Illinois is currently under construction at Groton, Connecticut and is expected to be christened June 27th of this year.

Its captain is Commander Jess Porter, who brought some of the crew to Chicago in early February for two days of public appearances to acquaint Illinoisians with the ship and to build a "fan club" for it.

First Lady Michelle Obama is the ship's sponsor and will break the ceremonial bottle of Champagne across the bow on June 27th at the ship's christening.  However, the ship is not officially accepted into Navy service until it is commissioned.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday the 13th News of Note-- Part 6: Mayor Daley Sells out Chicago

FEBRUARY 13, 2009:  Mayor Richard M. Daley's administration seals a deal to lease Chicago's parking meter operation for 75 years in exchange for an upfront payment of $1 billion--an arrangement now famous as a boondoggle.  We are still not sure how much the mayor profited from it, but it certainly was selling the city down the tubes and resulted in really, really expensive parking.  A really, really unlucky day for Chicago.

JUNE 13, 2014:  Donald Trump answers complaints from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin that the large new sign on Trump's building is tasteless.  The Donald insists that "everybody loves it" because "we're probably the hottest brand there is."

Sorry, The Donald's Hair Is the Hottest Brand.  --Cooter

Friday the 13th News of Note-- Part 5: Unlucky Day for "Joey the Clown" Lombardo

MAY 13, 1994:  The Bulls' Scottie Pippen sits out the final 1.8 seconds of a playoff game against the New York Knicks with the score tied because he is miffed that coach Phil Jackson has drawn up a play giving the last shot to Toni Kukoc.

The Bulls win when Kukoc hits the shot.

JANUARY 13, 2006:  FBU agents arrest "Joey the Clown" Lombardo in Elmwood Park.  The mob boss, on the lam for nine months, is apprehended after suffering from an abscessed tooth and going to his dentist, who turns out to be an FBI tipster.  What a world when you can't even trust your dentist.  Wondering if he got that tooth taken care of?

Sorry 'Bout That Scottie.  --DaCoot

Friday the 13th News of Note-- Part 4: Disco Demolition

SEPTEMBER 13, 1963:  A fire at Mercy Hospital forces a surgical team to terminate brain surgery and close up a patient as firefighters battle a blaze 50 feet away and smoke enters the room.  The patient survived.

JULY 13, 1979:  The American League informs White Sox owner Bill Veeck that the game that was called off because of the previous night's Disco Demolition disturbance would be considered a forfeit.  Thanks a lot Steve Dahl.

AUGUST 13, 1982:  Two drivers celebrating their birthdays--both born Aug. 13, 1938 (a Saturday)--  collide in Des Plaines, Illinois, just after 6:13 a.m. Friday the 13th.  One of them has a 13 in his address, and he gets away without a ticket, unlike the other driver whose address has no "13."

Talk About Your Bad Operating Conditions.  --Cooter

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Friday the 13th News of Note-- Part 3

AUGUST 13, 1937:  About 1,500 girls and boys march through the Loop carrying signs such as "Friday the 13th is unlucky for syphilis" as part of a campaign to stamp out venereal disease.

DECEMBER 13, 1940:  The Anti-Superstition Society of Chicago meets for dinner in Room 13 of the Merchant & Manufacturers Club.  Each banquet table seats 13.  The president opens the session by breaking a mirror.  Guests end the night by departing under a ladder with an open umbrella on top

Pressing Your Luck.  --Cooter

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Friday the 13th News of Note-- Part 2: Bad Day for "Scarface"

OCTOBER 13, 1871:  As contributions pour into Chicago less than a week after the Great Fire, Mayor Roswell Mason orders all funds to be administered by the Chicago Relief and Aid Society.  However, this group is picky about who gets aid, showing favoritism to skilled workers and the affluent and still has hundreds of thousands unspent years later.  Imagine that happening in Chicago?

NOVEMBER 13, 1908:  Richard Nash, a Chicago cop at the West 13th Street Station, is fired.  He blames his bad luck on Friday the 13th.  And, he was hired on a Friday the 13th as well.

MARCH 13, 1931:  A bad day for Chicago's famed "Scarface."  A grand jury indicts Al Capone on an income tax evasion charge.

"Me and My Lil' Friend."  --DaCoot

Friday the 13th News of Note-- Part 1: As Luck Would Have It

From the Friday, February 13, 2015, Chicago Tribune "As luck would have it: Friday the 13th news of note" by Mark Jacob.

That was a Friday the 13th and we have another one coming up in a week and a half.  Mark Jacob takes a look back at some stories from Chicago's past on this "unlucky" date.

Friday, May 13, 1932:  A North Side man reported his 13 golf clubs and 13 balls were stolen from his car at 13th and Wabash.  Sounds like a story to me.

1980: Tribune film critic Gene Siskel hated the movie "Friday the 13th" so much, he went beyond just a "Thumbs Down" and gave away the movie's ending to discourage people from seeing it.

APRIL 13, 1860:  A slow day for crime with just two "little cases" handled by police in the growing city of 110,000.  The Tribune remarked, "Our city is very moral, or the police are not very sharp."

What Luck, A "Moral" City.  --Cooter

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Goodbye "Mr. White Sox": Minnie Minoso-- Part 2

Teams Minnie Minoso played with:

1949, 1951--  Cleveland Indians
1951-1959--  Chicago White Sox
1958-1959-- Cleveland Indians
1960-1961--  Chicago White Sox
1962--  St. Louis Cardinals
1963--  Washington Senators
1964, 1976 and 1980--  Chicago White Sox

He is the only major league baseball player to have played in five different decades and was always greatly disappointed that he was not on the 1959 American League Champion Chicago White Sox.  Like Ernie banks, he never had the opportunity to play in a World Series.

After retirement, he became a White Sox ambassador.

I was able to meet him on two occasions: once at the Old Comiskey Park and I saw him speaking once.

He'll Be Missed.

Goodbye "Mr. White Sox": Minnie Minoso-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Chicago and I were saddened greatly Sunday morning to hear of the death of White Sox favorite Minnie Minoso, the "Cuban Comet" and "Mr. White Sox."  This coming just weeks after the death of "Mr. Cub," Ernie Banks.  He died March 1, 2015 at what is believed to be the age of 90, but no one knows for sure.

He came over from Cuba before Castro took over in 1959 and played in the Negro Leagues in 1948 with the New York Cubans.  In 1949, playing with the Cleveland Indians, he became the first black Cuban to play in the major league.  As such he is often called the Jackie Robinson of Latino baseball players.

A seven-time all-star, he came to the White Sox in 1951 as a rookie left fielder and was the first black player on the White Sox (just as Ernie Banks was for the Cubs).

His career stats included a .298 batting average, 186 home runs and 1023 rbis

Should Have Been in the Hall of Fame.

Charles Dwight Sigsbee: the Maine's Commander

Well, I was wondering about Sigsbee's desk and bathtub as well as other objects.

From Wikipedia.

(1845-1923)  Noted pioneering oceanographer.

He was captain of the USS Maine when it exploded.

Appointed acting midshipman 16 July 1862 from the USNA.  During the Civil War, he served aboard the USS Monongahela, USS Wyoming and USS Shenandoah (not the Confederate cruiser of the same name). He was at the Battle of Mobile Bay and both battles of Fort Fisher.

He commanded the USS Kearsarge (which sank the famed CSS Alabama) and was on the European Station 1885-1886.

Sigsbee and his officers were exonerated by the court of inquiry after the Maine sank and later commanded the USS St. Paul in 1898 at the second battle of San Juan and the  Texas in 1900.

In 1905, he commanded the USS Brooklyn when it brought home the remains of naval hero and Father of the U.S. Navy John Paul Jones from France for internment at the USNA.

Retired from the Navy in 1909 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


Remembering the Maine Through Her Artifacts-- Part 3

Here is another partial list of artifacts from the USS Maine, the Ship That Started a War.

READING, PA.: bow anchor

PITTSBURGH, PA.: torpedo tube  (I did not know our warships prior to 1900 had torpedo tubes.)

CHARLESTON, S.C.:  capstan


ALPENA, MI.:  6-inch gun

COLUMBIA, S.C.:  6-pdr. gun

MILFORD, MAINE: One-pdr. gun

PORTLAND, MAINE:  6-inch gun barrel

KEY WEST, FLA.: 10-inch turret sighting hood

AUGUSTA, MAINE:  Ship's silver service

28 BRONZE PLAQUES:   made from the USS Maine.  Spread throughout the country.

Remember the Maine.  --Cooter

Monday, March 2, 2015

Remembering the USS Maine Through Its Artifacts-- Part 2

Artiact location of the USS Maine.

UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY:  foremast, life preserver, two porthole covers, log glass, keys to the magazine,  electric light bulb and shade, a bugle, 1888 Penny from Sigbee's desk, Sigsbee's desk, Sigsbee's inkwell and binoculars.

I looked up Sigsbee and found that was the name of the Maine's commander at the time of the explosion.  I also later found out he had been at both battles of Fort fisher, another big interest of mine.

HAMPTON TOADS NAVAL MUSEUM, Norfolk, Virginia: Union Jack

MUSEUM, OF AMERICAN HISTORY, D.C.: stern scrollwork and name plate


HANCOCK HISTORICAL MUSEUM, Findlay, Ohio:  Sigsbee's bathtub

MUSEUM OF HISTORY, Raleigh, N.C.: a bolt.

Well, that Sigsbee's bathtub in Ohio really peaked my interest.  More research needed to be on that.