Monday, August 31, 2015

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Unions-- Part 3: The Battle of Blair Mountain and Union Membership

4.  Few Americans know of THE BATTLE OF BLAIR MOUNTAIN, one of the largest civil uprisings in U.S. history.  In 1921, a coal-mining strike in West Virginia led to a ten-day clash pitting at least 7,000 armed miners against about 3,000 deputies, hired guns and volunteers.

Federal troops stopped the fighting after the deaths of an estimated 30-100 miners and 10-30 on the other side.  The situation became so serious that bombers under Gen. Billy Mitchell were deployed.  When asked how he planned to stop the miners, Mitchell said:  "Gas.  You understand, we wouldn't try to kill people at first.  In the end, his planes performed only reconnaissance, but private aircraft did drop home-made bombs.

5.  UNION MEMBERSHIP:  About 11% of all American workers belonged to unions in 2014, but the percentage of public-sector employees belonging was at 35.7%.  Union membership peaked in the mid-1950s but never topped 35%.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Unions-- Part 2: Satan Made Me Do It

2.  The Airline Pilots Association reached an agreement with National Airlines in the late 1940s after airline executive Ted Baker attended a religious retreat and called the pilots to ask for forgiveness saying that he had been under the influence of SATAN.  If only it was that easy.  Flip would be so proud.

3.  The "YES WE CAN" slogan from Obama's 2008 campaign was not original.  Obama had used it in 2004 during his run for U.S. senate in Illinois.  But it had been used 30 years earlier by the United farm Workers union as coined by co-founder Dolores Huerta as well as Cesar Chavez's hunger strike in Arizona in 1972.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Unions-- Part 1: Why It's Called a Strike

From the June 7, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Mark Jacobs and Stephan Benzkofer.  Once again our intrepid researchers have come up with some interesting little tidbits.

Illinois has become a battleground over worker rights with Gov. Bruce Brauner pushing for right-to-work zones to diminish union power.

1.  Why is a labor stoppage called a 'strike"?  Because in 1768, English sailors unhappy with a wage cut expressed their anger by taking down, or striking, the sails on ships in the port of London.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Life Inside Wrigley Field's Scoreboard-- Part 3: "Best Seat in the House"

From the June 28, 2015, Chicago Tribune "The man who has the best seat in the house" by Rhiannon Walker.

Fred Washington, a member of the Wrigley Field grounds crew, has worked in the scoreboard for 25 years, and he has no worries about its demise, "The scoreboard will be here forever.  I never worry about anything replacing that scoreboard."

He is a West Side native and has been in that board since 1990 and at Wrigley since 1984.    As a member of the grounds crew, he has worked every job, but now has to hose down the dugouts and warning track in addition to his scoreboard duty.  Also, he is the one that hoists the famous "W" flag (and "L" flag after a loss).

Working the scoreboard is considered a promotion because he gets extra pay.

Washington said that you won't miss a thing working inside the board.  It's the best seat in the house.  If it's cold outside, it's very cold in there; if the wind is blowing straight out, it's blowing straight in his face; if it's hot, then it's very hot.

Fans will help him out if he misses anything, but that doesn't happen often.  His seat is above the "8."


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Life Inside Wrigley Field's Scoreboard-- Part 2: "Quick Rick"

Theo Epstein, Cubs president, says he looks at the scoreboard to keep track of the count (balls and strikes)  Rick Fuhs is in charge of that.    Epstein says, "No one will be as fast as the center-field lightning' ball-strike guy.  He's the best employee in all baseball.  Who is better at his job than he is at that?"

Rick Fuhs operates out of the press box and does the balls-strikes-outs on the board.  He goes by the name "Quick Rick."  He's so fast because he knows every umpire's body language.  "I have all their idiosyncrasies down pat," he says.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Our 42nd Anniversary Today

Forty-two years ago today, I woke up in the apartment in Des Plaines, Illinois, and drove to DeKalb, Illinois, where Liz and I were married at the Newman Center on the campus of Northern Illinois University.  We then had our reception at the Holiday Inn (now Red Roof Inn) on Lincoln Highway (Ill-38).

We drove out to Galena, Illinois, for our honeymoon.  We stayed at the old Palace Motel, a mom and pop place, on US-20 north of town.  It was torn down and is now a Ramada Inn.

We had planned on staying five days, buy that was cut short as I signed my teaching contract on August 24th.

Life Inside Wrigley Field's Scoreboard-- Part 1

From the June 28, 2015, Chicago Tribune "As Wrigley's future arrives, park's centerpiece may seem obsolete" by  Paul Sullivan.

No Advertising in My Park.

Back in 1937, during a modernization of the scoreboard, Wrigley Field owner P.K. Wrigley had a sign of his Doublemint Twins removed from the top.  he had decided he wanted no advertising at his field, even his own.

Not the way of thinking today.

I have often thought it would be really neat to go inside that scoreboard.  What a great view it must have.  Then, there was the San Diego Chicken in there back in the 1970s.

The only entrance to it is by a ladder on top of the bleachers and described as relatively dark and dingy on three levels.

Been There, Done That

Legendary Cubs groundskeeper Cotton Bogren once manned it.  Ex-Cub pitcher Ryan Dempster used to lead teammates up into it where they would stick their heads out the windows for laughs and photos.

Cub hall of Famer Billy Williams says he has never been in it even though he has been around the firld for five decades.  Cubs President Theo Epstein hasn't been it either though he looks at it often during games to check the counts.

Stick Your Head Out the Window.  --CootCuber

Monday, August 24, 2015

Wrigley Field's Center-Field Scoreboard-- Part 4: How To Make It Matter Again

LIGHT IT BRIGHTER--  Cubs executives say they are exploring this option because the center-field board no longer appears bright enough.

TWEAK THE BACKGROUND COLOR ON THE VIDEO-  At night, the color of te video boards appear to be a lighter, brighter green than the dark "Wrigley Green" of the scoreboard.  The two should match, forming a seamless whole.

DISPLAY THE SCORE OF THE CUBS GAME MORE PROMINENTLY--   Replace the word "batter" with "score" and display the score below it.  Fans could still see the inning-by-inning score in the lower-left corner of the board, but they could quickly see the score without having to add up the totals from each inning.  The "Batter" designation is outmoded because of a wealth of information about the batter is available on the left-side video board,

But, by all means, leave the old scoreboard.

Next, how'd you like to work in Big Green?

Like the Old Stiff.  --RoadDog

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Wrigley Field's Center-Field Scoreboard Through the Years-- Part 3: Lights, Abbreviations and Grid Lines

LIGHTS--  Lights were added to the scoreboard in teh 1980s, anticipating Wrigley Field's first night game on August 9, 1988.

ABBREVIATIONS--  The abbreviations on the scoreboard--  "SP" (starting pitcher) and "RP" (relief pitcher) -- once designated to columns of numbers identifying the battery of the pitcher and catcher.

GRID LINES--  The white grid of lines (going up and down) separating the inning-by-inning score of each major league game on the scoreboard is not original.  It was added in 1987, along with red horizontal lines that draw attention to the Cubs game.

--CooterBG (Blog Guy)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Wrigley Field's Center-Field Scoreboard Through the Years-- Part 2: Lettering and Football Scoreboard


The words "National" and "American atop the scoreboard used to be lower than they are now.  They were raised to accommodate listing more scores because of baseball's expansion which increased the number of teams from 16 to today's 30.  Even so, there is not enough room to show the score of every game so west coast late-starting games are often left out.

Cubs Score--  The linescore of the Cubs game, now displayed in the lower-left-hand corner of the scoreboard, had been shown on the top in the top row of National league scores on the board's left side.

White Sox Score--  It is customary to display the score of the White Sox game on the American League (right) side.  Previously, the South Siders were referred to as "Sox."  now, like other AL teams, they are called by their city, not their nickname.


During the years when the Bears played at Wrigley Field-- a tenure that began in 1921, 16 years before the scoreboard was built, and ended in 1971-- the scoreboard was modified for football.  In one archival photograph, the words "Batter," "Strike" and "Out" are replaced by "Yards to Go,"  'Down,"  "Ball" and "Quarter."

The scores of other football games are displayed with each quarter's scores instead of each inning.  In addition, there is a digital clock on the scoreboard which contained an ad for Longines as the official watch.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Wrigley's Center-Field Scoreboard Through the Years-- Part 1; Original Board and Clock

From the June 28, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Technology 1, Tradition 0."

The Cubs' famous center-field scoreboard you see today is not the one that was always there.  It has changed over the years.  The Tribune had a center section of two full pages of coverage of it and the new video board.  Best of all are the pictures of it over the years.


The original board was  a reddish-brown.  In 1944, it was changed to green after batters complained that they were distracted by the reflections of the sun.


The board's circular clock, which has dots instead of numerals, was added in 1941.  Its original face was white before it was painted green in 1944.  Of course, these days, younger folks can't tell time on it.  Must use their cell phones to tell the time.  What's a watch?

Let's See, Big Hand on Three, Little on One.  --DaCountingCoot

Technology Versus Wrigley Field Center-Field Scoreboard-- Part 2

But what really makes the scoreboard at Wrigley so neat is that the numbers are turned by humans.  And, even better, occasionally you'll see them put the numbers up.  As Blair Kamin says, "'s like peeking into Santa's workshop."

My neatest experience with the center-field scoreboard was the time the Cubs had the San Diego Chicken at the park and at one point, the Chicken had his head out one of the number slots and was really hamming, well, chicking it up.

But, things are different at the old ballpark this season because of that huge video board in left field.  It just overwhelms the old one, especially at night.

The new board's designers have incorporated some things that harken to the old board and ballpark.  Its colors are green and white, blocky type and graphics that bring back to the park's Art Deco marque outside.

I sure would like to spend a game inside that scoreboard and move the numbers.

Progress Goes On, But Keep At Least Some of the Old.  --Cooter

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Technology Versus Wrigley Field Center-Field Scoreboard-- Part 1

From the June 28, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Technology 1, Tradition 0" by Blair Kamin.

"A few simple changes can keep center-field board in the game."

In most baseball stadiums, the scoreboard is simply what its name implies-- a medium that delivers the messages of the score, not to mention whatever ads are plastered on it.

"But at Wrigley Field, the center-field scoreboard rises beyond the merely utilitarian and becomes--  I hesitate to use the word, but it fits-- transcendent.  Installed in 1937, the scoreboard is the apse of Wrigley's baseball cathedral, culminating the upward sweep of the bleachers with its symmetrical backdrop of dark green and white.

"The scoreboard's flagpoles, with their flapping pennants, resemble the masts of a yacht, acknowledging nearby Lake Michigan even as they reveal whether the wind is blowing in or out."

Mr. Kamin Sure has a Way With Words.  --CooterField

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ballpark Bricks Placed on Chicago's Tribune Tower-- Part 4: Comiskey Park and Wrigley Field

There are now pieces of the destroyed World Trade Center and Sydney Opera House.

The placement of the ballpark bricks coincides with the Cubs-White Sox "Crosstown Classic" series.  This is the big baseball event in Chicago since neither team usually gets to the playoffs or World Series.  The Cubs took two of three at Comiskey Park this past weekend and the final tally for all six games (three were previously played at Wrigley Field) is 3-3.

It is so much better than the "Crosstown Series" before interleague play began when minor league players were brought up, now we get to see the regulars playing.

"Fittingly, given the locations of Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park (which was replaced in 1991 by what is now called U.S. Cellular Field), the Wrigley brick will go on the north side of the arched entrance to Tribune Tower and the old Comiskey brick will occupy the south side."  I quoted this as I do not use the new Comiskey Park name.  It is still Comiskey Park to me and always will be.

It is said the space between will keep the fans of the two teams apart.  Of interest, both parks were designed by the same architect, Zachary Taylor Davis.

I'll touch the Comiskey brick.  I won't say what I'll do with the Wrigley one.

Da Sox All da Time.  --DaSoxCoot

Ballpark Bricks Placed on Chicago's Tribune Tower-- Part 3: Get It However You Must

Some reporters were taken aback by the directive, but best that you not cross the boss, Robert McCormick.  A Paris correspondent in France went to Rouen to get a piece of the Gothic Cathedral which served as a model for the Tribune Tower.only to find the local paper had gotten word and banner headline said that he was there to steal it.  Tribune records show he obtained it legally.

But, there was plenty cloak-and-dagger items.  A Finnish diplomat smuggled Kremlin bricks out of Moscow

In 1946, Tribune reporters started gathering fragments from every state.  A Tribune staffer asked a Nebraska newspaper editor to have someone knock a piece off famed pioneer Chimney Rock as "large as your two fists."

Robert McCormick died 60 years ago, but the collection continues to grow, but considerably slower.

A Piece of My House?  --Cooter

Monday, August 17, 2015

Ballpark Bricks Placed on Chicago's Tribune Tower-- Part 2: Six Inches Square

Some other famous stones are from the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, the Great Pyramid of Cheops and the Alamo.  There are stones from all 50 states.

Then, Blair Kamin goes on to explain how the Tribune got the stones.  There are those that raise eyebrows as to whether they were obtained legally.

Robert R. McCormick stood 6-foot, 4-inches and joined the Army where he earned the title "The Colonel" in World War I.  One of his idiosyncrasies was to order his correspondents to combine reporting and rock collection.  But, his reporters had to come by the rocks "by honorable means."

In 1923, a year after a great architecture competition took place that led to the Tribune Tower.  Apparently, McCormick was considering what to put on the outside walls.  he sent a memo to his people, instructing: "If you can get stones about six inches square from such buildings as the Law Courts of Dublin, the Parthenon of Athens, St. Sophia Cathedral, or any other famous cathedral or palace or ruin-- perhaps a piece of one of the pyramids-- send them in."


Ballpark Bricks Placed On Chicago's Tribune Tower-- Part 1: Robert McCormick's Idea

From the August 14, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Blair Kamin, Cityscapes.

The stones in the Tribune's walls began in 1914 when Robert R. McComick went to Europe to cover World War I for the Chicago tribune.  The United States was not yet in it, but to get his country to back the Allies he procured a stone from Yrpes, Belgium's medieval cathedral which had been shelled by the Germans.

This was tye first of the Tribune Tower's 148 fragments of famous buildings and historic sites from around the world.  This array often stops passers-by at the neo-Gothic skyscraper at 435 N. Michigan Avenue.

And, now, there are pieces of Comiskey Park and Wrigley Field.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Ten Archaeological Discoveries Found in Strange Places-- Part 2

5.  Viking Outpost in Newfoundland.

4.  Mayan Murals in Guatemalan family kitchen.

3.  Roman Gravesite in Bulgaria.

2.  Ancient Building under a Wales housing development.

1.  Royal hair Pin of Catherine de Medici's found toilet during restoration of Paris' Fontainbleau Palace.  It was 3.5 inches long and identified by its interlocking Cs for Catherine and its green and white colors.  The real mystery is how it ended up in a communal latrine.

Pretty Smelly Find.  --DaCoot

Ten Archaeological Discoveries Found in Strange Places-- Part 1

From the Feb. 15, 2013, Listeverse by Elaine Furst.

10.  British King Richard III remains found under Leicaster Car Park.  (I tell you, I can'y get no respect!)

9.  Gladiator School in Austria.

8.  Ancient Well under a home's living room in Devon.

7.    Viking Burial Pit under Dorsett, U.K. road construction.

6.  Whale found under railroad tracks in Charlotte, Vermont.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Writer Jack Woodford Was At Eastland Tragedy

From Wikipedia.

Writer Jack Woodford witnessed the Eastland capsizing from across the Chicago River and wrote:

"And then something caught my eye.  I looked across the river.  As I watched in disoriented stupefaction a steamer large as an ocean liner slowly turning over on its side as though it was a whale going to take a nap.

"I didn't believe a huge steamer had done this before my eyes, lashed to a dock, in perfectly calm water, in excellent weather, with no explosion, no fire, no nothing.  I thought I had gone crazy."


"Papa Bear" George Halas Almost on Eastland That Day-- Part 2

From Wikipedia.

George Halas was born Feb. 2, 1895 and in 1915 was temporarily working for Western Electric, the company whose employees boarded the SS Eastland that fateful day.  he was running late because of an attempt ro gain weight in order to play Big ten football.  (So, evidently eating.)

he graduated from Chicago's Crane High School and attended the University of Illinois where he played football for Coach Bob Zuppke.  he also played basketball and baseball.

He helped U of I win the 1918 Big Ten Conference football title after serving in the U.S. Navy, during World War II.  he also played for a team at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station so probably saw theSS Eastlant, now the USS Wilmette, while it was there.

Halas was named the MVP of the 1919 Rose Bowl.

Da Bears, Da Papa.  --Cooter

Thursday, August 13, 2015

"Papa Bear" George Halas Almost On the Eastland That Day-- Part 1

A 20-year-old George Halas, one of the founders of the NFl and "Papa Bear" to the Chicago Bears, was scheduled to be aboard the SS Eastland that day, but was delayed in leaving his house for the cruise and arrived after it turned over.

Would he have been one of those who perished that day and what effect would that have had on the NFL and the Chicago Bears?


Marking the Centennial of the SS Eastland Tragedy-- Part 4

The Eastland Disaster Historical Society also plans a public ceremony along Chicago's Riverwalk where it took place on July 24; then a family day on the 25th starting where the passengers boarded 100 years ago, and author's panel and a  sunset ceremony where attendees will light 844 candles at the river.

The week will conclude with a gathering at the Museum of Broadcast Communications for people whose families were involved in the tragedy

The organization has also redesigned its website.

Keeping the Memory Alive.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Marking the Centennial of the SS Eastland Tragedy-- Part 3: A Mock Trial

Earlier this year, a University of Illinois at Chicago graduate student unearthed film footage of the ship sinking inthe Netherlands showing rescue workers walking on the side of the ship.

Soon after that, a Northern Illinois University student located another clip that shows people being pulled from the water.

These two events brought a lot of name recognition to the disaster.

In June the organization is hosting a criminal trial in regards to it.  There was to be one after the incident as prosecutors indicted the ship's captain and four company officials on manslaughter and criminal carelessness charges.  But a U.S. District Court judge in Michigan refused to extradite the men to Illinois.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke will preside over the mock trial using modern legal statutes.  Audience members will decide on a verdict.

Marking the Centennial of the SS Eastland Disaster-- Part 2: Capsized in a Matter of Minutes

To commemorate the centennial, the organization is planning a series of events this summer in hopes of educating people.  In addition they will unite those with family connections to it.

There were signs of trouble early on that fateful July 24, 1915, day.  The Eastland rocked back and forth several times after passengers began boarding, but apparently no one, even the crew, thought much about it.

When it began lurching more violently to its left side (port) a few minutes before scheduled 7:30 a.m. departure, the catastrophe between Clark and LaSalle streets on the Chicago River came so swiftly that passengers and crew barely had time to react.

Lifeboats never were deployed and the captain did not evacuate the ship.  The ship capsized within minutes.  Some 844 people died.

Many victims died in the 20-feet-deep water while others died from blows to the head.  More than a third of those killed were children and teenagers.

Among the fortunate survivors was 13-year-old Borghild Aanstad, nicknamed Bobbie, who was a strong swimmer.  Susan Decker and Barbara Decker Wachholz, Aanstad's granddaughters  grew up listening to the stories of the Eastland and, along with Ted Washholz, started the historical society in 1998.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Marking the Centennial of the 1915 SS Eastland Disaster-- Part 1: Many Don't Know About It

From the June 5, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Society to mark centennial of 1915 Eastland disaster" by Dawn Rhodes.

On July 25, 1915, the SS Eastland listed to its side in the Chicago River and sent hundreds  of passengers into the water, killing 844 people, including nearly two dozen whole families.

What started out as a day of fun including a boat trip to a picnic in Michigan City, Indiana, ended in Chicago's worse tragedy, much worse than the Great Chicago Fire and with deaths approaching those on the much-better known Titanic.

These days, descendants of an Eastland survivor are battling to preserve the doomed ship's memory.

Ted Wachholz, executive director of the Eastland Historical Society based in Arlington Heights said: "There are countless instances when we're talking to someone who has lived in Chicago their whole lives and they have never heard of it."

Chicago, the Dingy City-- Part 7: "Enveloped in Smoke Clouds All Day":

The city didn't end the year 1892 too well either.  On December 1, the Tribune reported, "Chicago Enveloped in Smoke Clouds All Day," as a heavy black smoke sooty smoke held sway making the gas lamps look like stars on a foggy night.

The paper went on to say the banks of smoke were "heavy enough to use as paper weights."  Offices and businesses had to turn on every jet and electric light to do business in the middle of the day.  Retailers complained that sales were down by buyers couldn't see the merchandise.  One resident went so far to say that pedestrians would be needing lanterns to walk around.

It is hard to determine how many times the sun was mostly blocked out, but this continued into the 1950s because the Tribune would write about these times when it was particularly bad.

On Jan. 18, 1925, the paper reported "the densest, thickest and darkest smoke screen which has been thrown over the city this season."  The "plague of darkness" on Dec. 7, 1929, was caused by low-hanging clouds, fog and "the customary smoke screen."

Perhaps the "Good Old Days" Weren't So Good Old.  --Ciiter

Monday, August 10, 2015

Chicago, the Dingy City-- Part 6: A Regular Black-Out

The problem was so bad, some experts said that planting certain types of vegetables was a waste of time because the smoke blocked out so much sun.  They suggested in one huge swath that the "the following should not be attempted: cucumbers tomatoes, peppers, parsnips, beans, peas, potatoes, turnips, sweet corn, eggplant, berries and melons."

On Jan. 29, 1892, it got so dark that the smoke ate the sun.  Though the suburbs and outer parts of Chicago enjoyed bright, blue skies, "Chicago was dark.  ...There lay on the lake a pall of smoke, making it difficult at noon to see the pier-light on the government breakwater.  ...The westerly wind drove the smoke out over the lake, and for a mile from shore, all was dark."

Visibility downtown was two blocks and the smoke on occasion would sink lower and "pedestrians had to pass through an atmosphere that was simply choking."

Is That You?  --DaCoot

Chicago the Dingy City-- Part 5: Smoke, Dust and Stench

Officials realized early on that health was also an issue due to all the smoke pollution.  The Tribune reported in 1880, "Health ... is directly injured by the nuisance."  Twenty years later the Tribune ran a nearly half page article on the health threat.  Its headlines "How Chicago's Men's Lungs Are Blackened By Soot."  An autopsy of one Chicago resident's lungs revealed one so black that to touch it "would blacken the palm almost as black as to put it wet into a pan of soot," said one doctor.

On July 31, 1890, one Tribune reporter wrote: "The smoke nuisance in the region west of Wells and south of Pearson streets is of large proportions and of athletic build.  It has daily encounters with two fellow-giants -- dust and stench -- and not being able to settle the question of superiority, they join forces and make war on mankind."

Postmen in the area looked like coal heavers, and one claimed he bathed four times a day.  "It dies no good," he said, " a trip down as far as Kingsbury Street to deliver a snip of a postal card, and I am black-faced and ire-eyed."

Cough, Cough.  --Cooter

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Chicago, the Dingy City-- Part 4: "A Universal Nuisance"

On December 19, 1880, the Chicago Tribune wrote:  "There is not a storekeeper in Chicago whose goods are not seriously injured by it, and to many lines of fine goods it is destructive.  It soils and irreparably defaces some things.  The deposit of soot finds its way not only into stores, but into public and private offices, where it defaces papers and books.

"It reaches into every private dwelling, falls upon every bed, curtain, carpet, dining-table, blackens and disfigures all articles of furniture, finds its way into drawers and clothes-presses, is a curse to every laundry, and injures clothing to a costly extent.

"It is forever falling upon goods and upon persons, it renders the hands and faces of all grimy, sooty and unclean.  It is not a special but a universal nuisance, reaching all alike, and by all detested."

Not a Pretty Picture.  --DaCoot

Chicago, the Dingy City-- Part 3: "The Smoke Horror"

Tuorists to Chicago are amazed at the air quality.  But that was not always the case.  Noted author Rudyard Kipling visited and was not impressed with anything about the city.  As far as its air, on Feb. 8, 1891, he wrote, "Its air is dirt."  It was a statement of fact.

Civic leaders and the Tribune campaigned tirelessly against the "Smoke Horror."

In 1976, the Tribune wrote:  "The wisp of smoke that enters your eyes and mouths... the falling soot that decorates our noses and leaves its trace on our linen becomes more and more disgusting...and yet nothing is done.  Marble fronts are blackened, costly goods are spoiled, valuable books and papers are defaced, washing bills are multiplied, and everybody made uncomfortable in order that a few persons may not be put to the inconvenience of attaching a smoke-consumer to their engines."

Those few persons would be the mighty rich folks.

Hack, Hack, and i Don't Smoke.  --Cootcougher

Friday, August 7, 2015

Chicago, the Dingy City-- Part 2: "Its Dirty Imprint"

Government regulation beginning in the 1960s helped curtail that earlier scene.  The Wrigley Building is now again a blazing white and folks can breathe in the air deeply while enjoying the lakefront.

And, the debate over costs and benefits of clean air is again in the news as the judges of the Supreme Court rule on whether the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its authority in setting more stringent mercury emission rules.

But, Chicago for much of the 19th and 20th centuries was not a very healthy place to live.

The smoke nuisance, as they called it, was invasive.  Just think of all the factory smokestacks and people burning coal and wood for heat..  "It ruined belongings, blackened and eroded architecture, spoiled food and caused incalculable health problems for residents.  It turned day onto night...."

As early as 1974, as the city was being rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1871, the Tribune warned that the huge increase in factories andhotels and the new skyscrapers with their steam-powered elevators, was a serious problem.  "So dense is the volume of smoke that, unless there is a brisk, stirring breeze, the whole of it settles down in the central part of the city and leaves its dirty imprint," the editorial said.

Dirty, Dirty Chicago.  --DaCoot

Chicago, the Dingy City-- Part 1

From the June 6, 2015, Chicago Tribune "The Dingy City" by Stephan Benzkofer.

"The smoke and soot was so thick, they blotted out the sun.

"Residents who hung their clean clothing to dry hauled in dingy white shirts and gritty underwear.  Opened windows meant soiled curtains and filthy sills.

"Brand new buildings quickly weathered as the caustic pollution ate away the sun.

"This isn't a dystopian vision of the future.  It isn't a description of rapidly industrializing China or India.  It's Chicago's past."

Maybe the Good Old days Weren't So Good Old.  --Cooter

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Which Woman Gets On the $10 Bill?-- Part 2

Twiiter folks suggested Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosa Parks right away.  Possible, but more plausible possibilities included Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress in 1914; Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation; and Sojorner Truth, the 19th century activist and abolitionist.

At first, the whole thing was for a woman to replace Andrew Jackson of the $20 bill.

But, no one is upset about it going to the $10 bill..  University professor Amy Dru Stanley said the denomination doesn't matter because: "If women's equality is reduced to what currency she's on, it should be the $1 bill, to highlight that we lack pay equity.

The professor, however, says if she is forced to chose a woman for any bill, she would choose Jane Addams.

Not Sure Who I'd Pick.  --DaCoot

Which Woman Gets on the $10 Bill?-- Part 1

From the June 19, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Corilyn Shroposhire.

"Move over Alexander Hamilton, a woman will soon grace the $10 note.

"The challenge will be figuring out just who fits the bill.  And there's a caveat: She must be dead."  Guess that pretty much rules out Jenner.

The U.S. treasury plans to drop Hamilton and replace him with a woman "who contributed to the development of democracy in the United States."

They are accepting suggestions on social media at #TheNew10 or submit to

The new bill will be launched in 2020, the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

And, i Am Sure There Are Some Who Would Like to See Andrew Jackson Off the $20 Bill Because He Owned the "S" Word.  --Cooter

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Ten Doomed Industries in 2013-- Part 2

6.  Record Stores (because of downloading and big box stores)--  down 24.9%

7.  Video Rental--  down 35.9%

8.  Local Photo Shops--  down 69%

9.  Mobile Homes--  down 73.7%

10.  Wired Telecommunications Carriers--  down 54.9%


Ten Doomed Industries in 2013-- Part 1

From Yahoo! Finance.

These are ones whose revenue has really declined in the last decade.

1.  Video Postproduction Services--  24.9% decrease

2.  Newspaper Publishing--  down 35.9%

3.  Apparel Manufacturing in the U.S.--  Down 77.1%

4.  Textile Mills, down 50.2%

5.  Formal Wear and Costume Rental--  down 50.2%

Me?  --DaCoot

Bill "Moose" Skowron-- Part 3: Mr. World Series

Frpm Wikipedia.

Bill Skowron was of Polish descent.  His grandfather gave the seven-year-old Bill a haircut that looked like that of the Italian dictator Mussolini, and his friends began calling him "Mussolini.  Later, that was shortened to just "Moose."

He graduated from Chicago's Weber High School and went to Purdue University in Indiana on a football scholarship and pledged the TKE Fraternity.  he also played baseball and hit .500 his sophomore year.

Playing with the Yankees, he was a five-time All-Star in '57, '58, '59, '60. '61.  With the Dodgers in 1963, he hit just .203 versus NL pitching, but when they played his old team in the World Series, his bat came alive and batted .385 and hit home runs as the Dodgers swept to the championship.

He was again an All-Star with the 1965 White Sox.  Altogether, he played in eight World Series.  Seven with the Yankees: '55, '56. '57, '58, 60, '61 and '62.  And one with the Dodgers in 1963.  The Yankees weren't in the 1959 World Series because the White Sox were.

In his career, he played 1478 games, all but 14 at first base.  In 1980, he was inducted into the National Polish-American Hall of Fame.  He resided in Schaumburg, Illinois, until his death.

Loved That Old Moose.  --CooterMoose.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Bill "Moose" Skowron-- Part 2: Big Time Pay

Not saying that today's baseball players are paid too much, but here is what "Moose" was paid by the Yankees during four of his prime years:

1957--  $21,500 and batted .304
1958--  $22,000 and batted .273
1959--  $23,000 and batted .298
1960--  $23,000 and batted .309

Chump Change for the Players Today.  --DaMooseCoot

Baseball Player "Moose" Skowron-- Part 1: Chicago Boy, But Played Mostly for the Yankees

One of my earliest favorite White Sox players, even if he did play for those nasty New York Yankees at one time.  The first time I was at Comiskey Park, I thought the fans were booing him when he came to bat, but they were yelling "Moose!"

Born in Chicago, Illinois, on December 18, 1930 and died April 27, 2012.  Until his death he was employed by the Chicago White Sox in community relations.

Had a .282 batting average, hit 211 home runs with 888 rbis in 14 seasons of MLB, 9 with the Yankees, 1 with the Dodgers and 4 with the Sox.

In 1964, he batted .385 while with the Los Angeles Dodgers against his former team, the Yankees.  As a result, the Dodgers swept that New York team.  Sometimes a trade comes back to haunt you.

Go "Moose!!"  --CootMoose

Monday, August 3, 2015

President Wilson's United War Work Campaign-- Part 2

Seven organizations: YMCA, YWSA, American Library Association, War Camp Community Service, National catholic War Council (Knights of Columbus), Jewish Welfare Board and the Salvation Army set out to raise $170 million during one very intensive week in November 1918.

They had a nearly $1 million operating budget and used all forms of media: print, outdoor advertising, posters, leaflets, stickers, lapel pins, radio spots and motion picture shorts.  I didn't know we had radio back then.

Not only did they meet their goal of $170 million, they ended up raising $203 million which was hailed by the press at the time as the largest fundraising event in history.


President Wilson's United War Work Campaign-- Part 1

After writing about the August calendar poster on Saturday, I looked up the United War Work Campaign to find out more about it.  I was also confused about the dates it ran from November 11-18, 1918.  Wasn't the war over by then?  Why would they have a war campaign if the war was almost over?

From the Oct. 1, 2011, Duke Magazine.

On September 9, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson wrote to Raymond Fosdick, coordinator of the War department's Commission on Training Camp Activities.  The end of the war was in sight and demobilizing the nearly 4 million American troops was going to be a huge undertaking.  the president figured the process would take at least two years and require a staggering sum of money. for programs to maintain the troops' morale.

He requested that organizations pool their resources on a single massive campaign to raise money for these programs.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

World War I Poster: United War Work Campaign

From the Smithsonian Military Posters 2015 Calendar.

A young woman rowing in a small boat named "Victory."  Words on the poster: "EVERY GIRL PULLING FOR VICTORY."  Victory Girls United War Work Campaign."

Every Girl Pulling for Victory.  Created by Edward Penfield, United War Work Campaign, 1918.

With a goal of raising $170 million towards funding World War I, the United War Work Campaign ran from November 11, 1918 to November 18, 1918.  The nationwide campaign collected over $190 mill;ion dollars.


Famous Celebrity Recluses

From Yahoo! Today.

1.  BRIAN WILSON--  The creative force of the Beach Boys.

2. LAUREN HILL--  Of the Fugees and solo.

3.  AXL ROSE--  Guns N' Roses

4.  GRETA GARBO--  In the 1950s booked an apartment in New York City and rarely ventured out.

5.  AGNETHA FALTSSKOG--    Female singer with Abba.