Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ten Most Famous Cemeteries in the U.S.-- Part 2: Hollywood Forever Cemetery

6.  HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY  Los Angeles.  Over 115 years old.  In the shadow of the famous Hollywood sign.  Among notables buried here:  Rudolph Valentino and Mel Blanc.

5.  BOOT HILL  Tombstone, Arizona.  They died with their boots on.  Up to 300 buried here.  One gravestone reads:  "Here lies Lester Moore / Four slugs / from a 44 / No less / No more."  Billy Clanton and Frank and Tom McLaury, victims of the OK Corral buried here.

4.  ST. LOUIS CEMETERY NO. 1  New Orleans.  Oldest of the city's three Catholic cemeteries, opened in 1789.  Built up because of low-lying land, vault on top of vault.  Marie Laveau buried here.

3.  FOREST LAWN MEMORIAL PARK  Glendale, California.   Final resting place of 250,000.  Among them: Gracie Allen, author L. Frank Baum "Wizard of Oz," Nat King Cole, W.C. Fields, Errol Flynn, Jean Harlow, Clark Gable and Walt Disney.

2.  GETTYSBURG NATIONAL CEMETERY  Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  The aftermath of the great battle and the famous speech.

1.  ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY  Arlington, Virginia.  The cemetery  built to "get" Robert E. Lee on his land.  Obviously, a real lot of famous people buried here.

Ten Most Famous Cemeteries in the U.S.-- Part 1: Olde Burying Point

From Listosaur.  They have more info and pictures.

10.   CAVALRY CEMETERY Queens, New York--  First burial in 1848.  Now has more than 3 million burials.  A lot of Medal of Honor winners and organized crime figures buried here.

9.  BONAVENTURE CEMETERY Savannah, Georgia.  The book "Midnight in the Garden of Evil" made this cemetery famous.  On the site of a former plantation.  Singer, songwriter "Moon River," Johnny Mercer buried here.

8.   SLEEPY HOLLOW CEMETERY  Sleepy Hollow, New York.  "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" written about the area and good ol' "Headless."  Opened 1849 and originally called Tarrytown Cemetery, but became Sleepy Hollow Cemetery after Washington Irving's death.  I wrote a lot about this one in my Not So Forgotten War of 1812 Blog this past week.  A lot of famous people buried here and for some reason gets very very popular this time of year.  Someone stole Irving's War of 1812 medallion earlier this month.

7.  OLDE BURYING POINT  Salem, Massachusetts.  Second-oldest cemetery in the U.S., established 50 years before the hysteria BUT no actual victims buried here.  Twenty residents put to death at the time, but only two have known graves.  The others were denied a Christian burial.  But many connected with the trial ARE buried here.  Also, another grave is of Captain Richard More, believed to be the oldest surviving male from the Mayflower when he died at 84 in 1696.

It's the Time of the Season.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Deaths for Week Ending October 4, 2015-- Part 2: Bagel Man and a Merry Prankster

Not only were there a lot of musicians dying, but also a lot of other interesting people.

VO PHLEN, 89--  Prolific Vietnamese author who preserved his country's wartime after landing in America as a refugee, producing the exhaustive collection "Van Hoc Mien Nam, Tong Quan," an overview of South Vietnamese literature from 1954 to 1975.  Died Sept. 29.

MARK SINGER, 67--  Architect whose dramatic use of concrete, rock, glass and exposed steel marked a sharp contrast from the traditional wooden cottages in the Laguna Beach, California, community.  Died Sept. 17.

DANIEL THOMPSON, 94--  Inventor of a commercially viable bagel-making machine who became a key figure behind what some have called "the industrialization of the bagel."  Died Sept. 3.

LEON VALSMAN, 64--  Prankster who came to the University of Wisconsin at Madison in the 1970s to study in "the graduate school of fun" and ended up masterminding such famous stunts as 1,000 flamingos on Bascom Hill and a Statue of Liberty head on frozen Lake Mendota.  Died Sept. 29.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Deaths for Week Ending Oct. 4, 2015-- Part 1: "Sea Cruise"

From the Oct. 4, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Deaths in the News"


BEN CAULEY, 67. Trumpeter and member of Stax Records group, the Bar-Kays who was the only survivor of the 1967 plane crash that killed most of his bandmates and Otis Redding..  Died Sept. 21.

WILTON FELDER, 75--  Bass and sax player and original member of the Crusaders.  Performed on hundreds of recordings with artists like Joni Mitchell, Michael Jackson, Marvin gaye and Steely Dan.  Died Sept. 27th.

FRANKIE FORD, 76--  Rock & Roll and R&B singer whose 1959 hit "Sea Cruise" brought him international fame at age 19.  Also recorded "Roberta," "Time After Time" and "You Talk Too Much."  Died Sept. 28.

PHIL WOODS, 83--  Leading alto saxophonist in mainstream jazz whose piercing solos could be heard on hit records by Quincy Jones, Billy Joel and Paul Simon.  Died Sept. 29.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fifteen Facts About the Original "Ghostbusters"-- Part 3 "Ghost Chasers"?

11.  While shooting in Central Park, Reitnab filmed footage of Murray and Ackroyd acting like a Greek chorus while dressed as homeless men.  It was not included because they were too recognizable.

12.  Ecto-1, or the Ectomobile, was originally a pink Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance rescued from a salvage yard.  It was originally painted jet-black but they realized it would be too hard to see in the night shots.

13.  The coveralls worn by the Ghostbusters were essentially the ones in Aykroyd's original treatment.  Oscar-winning costumer Theoni Aldredge tricked them out blue-collar way.  (remember how many people wore these for costumes back then?)

14.  The original title was to be "Ghost Smashers," then "Ghost Chasers before it became "Ghostbusters."  There was a 1970s live action show called "The Ghost Busters."  Contingency plans also had possible names "Ghoststoppers" and "Ghostblasters."  But when the crowd started chanting "Ghostbusters" the studio ponied up fopr "Ghostbusters."  Who you gonna call, Ghost Smashers?

15.  Merchandise took off in 1986 with the cartoon "The Real Ghostbusters" which ran for seven seasons.

"If There's Something Weird, and It Don't Look Good."  --DaCoot

Fifteen Facts About the Original "Ghostbusters"-- Part 2: "The Slimer"

6.  The Stay Puft Man was a cross between the Michelin Man and the Pillsbury Doughboy.  For the big explosion, gallons of shaving cream were dropped over the Ghostbusters.

7.  Other than Mr. Stay Puft, the most memorable ghost was Slimer.  He was originally known as Onionhead on the set because of his stench characteristic in early drafts.  Once Venkman said "I've been slimed!", he immediately became the Slimer.

8.  Most of the cast came from sketch comedy troupes like Second City, SNL and SCTV and so a lot of adlibbing occurred.  After capturing the Slimer in the hotel, the door flew open and out came Bill Murray who said a total of ten different things, seven of which were considered great.  But they kept the now classic, "We came, we saw, we kicked its ass."

9.  The first ghost, the "Library Ghost" was played by actress Ruth Oliver in human form.  The scary version was played by a puppet.  The exterior shots of the scene came from the New York Public Library and interior from the Los Angeles Public Library.  The transformation was filmed on a sound stage.

10.  Director Reitman spent nearly a month in New York City shooting on location.  Key sites include: Lincoln Center, Columbus Circle, the old Tavern on the Green Restaurant, Central Park and Columbia University. (as long as they agreed not to mention the school in the film, however, they proudly brag about it now).

"If There's Something Strange in Your Neighborhood."  --Cooter

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Fifteen Facts About the Original "Ghostbusters"-- Part 1: Dan Aykroyd Believes in Ghosts

From the October 26, 2015, Yahoo! Movies "15 Facts You Didn't Know About the Original Ghostbusters..." by Marcus Errico.

1.  Dan Aykroyd believes in ghosts and wrote "Ghostbusters."

2.  Dan Aykroyd dreamed up the original treatment around 1981 and called it "Ghost Smashers."

3.  The script was written for John Belushi to play Peter Venkman, but he had died of a drug overdose in 1982.  Then, they tried to get Eddie Murphy and later Chevy Chase for the role.  Chase did appear in Ray Parker Jr's "Ghostbusters" video.

4.  John Candy was tapped to play Louis Tully, the accountant, but Rick Moranis got it.

5.  Elements remaining from the original treatment that made it to film was the core team battling spooks fireman-style, the apparition with the voracious appetite and the monstrous Stay Puft marshmallow man.  They had several versions of what Terror Dog would look like.

Who You Gonna Call?  --DaCoot

Cubs' Ghosts-- Part 4: Fan Interference

2003--  We really thought this would be that evasive World Series year (last one was in 1945).  The Cubs led the Marlins 3-1 in the National league Championship Series, but lose the final three games including a Game 6 heartbreaker in which they are five outs from going to a World Series and a Cubs fan (I won't say his name) interferes with a foul ball and the team suddenly and inexplicably implodes on the field, then blows Game 7 as well.

I won't say the fan's name, but absolutely everyone around him was reaching for it as well, including that slickster lawyer who got it and made a lot of money off it.

2007--  The Cubs lose Game 1 of the NLDS to the Diamondbacks when manager Lou Pinella removes Carlos Zambrano in the seventh of a 1-1 game so he'll be fresh for his next playoff start.  Arizona scores two runs off Carlos Marmol and goes on to a 3-1 win en route to a three game sweep.  Zambrano's next start has to wait until 2008.  Guess he got adequate rest.

2008--  The Cubs lose Game 1 of the NLDS to the Dodgers after team executive Crane Kenney brings in a priest to spread holy water in the dugout and remove the goat curse.  James Loney's fifth-inning grand slam odd Ryan Dempster gives the Dodgers a 4-2 lead and turns Wrigley into a morgue.  The Dodgers go on to a 3-0 sweep, and the Cubs pay damages for breaking a water pipe at Dodgers Stadium and flooding their dugout.

A Long, Sad History.  --CootSad

Monday, October 26, 2015

Cubs' Ghosts-- Part 3: The Gatorade Glove

1984--  The Cubs lead the Padres 2-0 in the best-of-five NLCS, but lose the final three games, including a Game 5 heartbreaker in which a ground ball goes past Cubs first baseman Leon Durham.  Legend has it that Gatorade was spilled on Durham's glove  Steve Garvey's walk-off against off Lee Smith in Game 4 was equally disasterous.

1989--  The Cubs lose Game 3 of the NLCS to the Giants when reliever Les Lancaster wnters in the 7th with a 1-0 count on Robby Thompson.  Lancaster forgets the count and grooves a fastball on a 2-0 pitch and Lancaster hits a two-run, game-winning home run.  Lancaster admits that he thought the count was 3-0.  The Giants take a 2-1 series lead and go on to win 4-1.

1998--  The Cubs lose Game 2 of the National League Division Series to the Braves after leading 1-0 with one out in the 9th.  Javy Lopez's home run off Kevin Tapani ties the game, and Terry Mulholland loses it in the 10th.  remarkable seasons by Sammy Sosa and rookie Kerry Wood end with a 3-0 sweep by the Braves.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Cubs' Ghosts-- Part 2: Sonovia the Goat and the Black Cat

1932--  The Cubs lose Game 3 of the World Series to the Yankees at Wrigley as Babe Ruth allegedly points to centerfield and calls his home run off pitcher Charlie Root.  The Cubs get swept the next day, and Ruth's "called shot" becomes legendary, whether it actually happened or not.

1945--  The Cubs lose Game 4 of the World Series to the Tigers after Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis is denied admission to Wrigley because he refuses to leave his smelly goat, Sonovia, outside.  After the Cubs lose in seven games, Sianis sends a wire to the Cubs' owner: "Who smells now?"  Sianis places a curse on the team, saying they will never play in a World Series again.

So far, they haven't.

1969--  The Cubs blow an 8 1/2 game lead over the Mets in the National League East, along with their best opportunity in 24 years to get back to the World Series.  When a black cat crosses paths with Ron Santo near the on-deck circle Sept. 9 at Shea Stadium, the die is cast.  It remains the most epic of the Cubs failures.

As much as I like the Cubs, I have to admit that I wasn't watching too much baseball this year as I was still in mourning for the White Sox collapse in 1967.

Crying In My Beer.  --Cooter

Friday, October 23, 2015

Cubs' Ghosts: A Guide to Goats, Gloves and More-- Part 1

From the October 11, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Cubs' Ghosts: An illustrated guide to goats, gloves and more" by Paul Sullivan and Rick Tuma.

Just in time for Halloween, things that go bump in the night and scare the Cub faithful.

"Funny things have happened to the Cubs over the last century or so on their way to a world championship, conspiring to deprive fans of the ultimate celebration every year. Whether it's a lost fly  ball in the sun, a called shot, a black cat, a smelly goat or a momentum-shifting foul ball, it's always something.

"Here are 10 of the most miserable moments in Cubs history:"

1929--  The Cubs lead the Philadelphia A's 8-0 in game 4 of the World Series before the A's score ten runs in the 8th for a 10-8 lead.  Star outfielder Hack Wilson loses not one, but two fly balls in the sun, one that leads to a 3-run, inside-the-park home run.

Two weeks later, the stock market crashes, starting the Great Depression, but Cubs fans already have a head start.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Sears Home Legacy-- Part 4: For the "Man of Average Abilities"

Compared to conventional construction, homeowners saved about 30% by building their own homes from a kit.  Sears Roebuck promised a "man of average abilities could assemble a Sears kit home in about 90 days."  About half were constructed by owners.  Professionals built the remainder, charging and estimated $450 in 1908.  (I would have had to have a professional build my home as I have a problem with tending to hit my thumb.)

The first home catalog, issued in 1908, was 68 pages and offered  44 house designs ranging in price from $695 to $4,115.  By the time Frank Novak's Crystal Lake house was built at 297 McHenry Avenue in 1927, the options had grown.

His Hamilton bungalow featured built-in seating in the dining room and a "delightful" window configuration.  Frank Novak bought his home 25 years ago from the original owner.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sears Home Legacy-- Part 3: Bob's House

My brother Bob sent me an e-mail about his Sear home in Goldsboro, N.C..  he said that it was built in 1920 and cost $4500..  It came without an optional bathroom which would have cost another $500.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sears Home Legacy-- Part 2: 750 Pounds of Nails

Homebuyers could select from 447 models.  Options included reversing floor plans, swapping wooden siding for brick, adding storm doors and windows, the addition of screen doors and asphalt shingles and the color of cabinetry hardware.

Entire homes from pre-cut lumber to carved staircases, down to nails and varnish--  would be delivered by rail.  Each kit contained 10,000 to 30,000 pieces of house-- the framing materials numbered to ease construction.

The Chelsea model, for example, came with 750 pounds of nails, 22 gallons of paint and varnish and 20,000 shingles.  There were also extensive instructions.

My brother lives in Goldsboro, N.C., in a Sears home.


Sears Home Legacy-- Part 1: A Catalog Home

From the Sept. 24, 2015, Northwest Herald (Illinois) "Sears home legacy to be explored at historical society program" by Kurt Begalka.

McHenry County resident Frank Novak doesn't just live in any old house.  he lives in a Sears home.  Most people don't know it, but at one point in the early 1900s, many Americans were buying their homes from the Sears catalog.

According to sears archives, about 70,000 pre-fabricated "modern homes" were sold between 1908 and 1940, including many in McHenry County.

Architectural historian Rebecca Hunter of Elgin talked about these homes, their impact and continuing legacy at a 2 p.m. Sept. 27 program at the McHenry County Historical Museum in Union.  The cost is $5 and includes museum admission for society members and $10 for nonmembers.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Big Ten Stadiums: Three Best Experiences

3.  PENN STATE--  Beaver Stadium (106,572)--  No place rocks like Beaver Stadium at night.  Add a "whiteout" in the stands, maybe some rain and a fierce Penn State defense, and the intensity is unmatched.  there's a reason nearly every Big Ten player calls this the conference's most intimidating venue.  Even more daunting, the traffic on the way out.

2.  NEBRASKA--  Memorial Stadium (85,000)  The "Sea of Red" has filled the stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, since 1962, an astounding 343 consecutive sellouts.  With an average home attendance of 91,249 last season, the Cornhuskers ranked fourth in the Big Ten (considering the other three all seat 104,000+ that is pretty good).  The historic feel of the 1922 construction has had upgrades to make this a comfortable, high-tech yet intimate stadium.

1.  OHIO STATE--Ohio Stadium (104,944)  If you don't like red, don't show up.  And, if you don't like the marching band's beautifully choreographed "Script Ohio" at half time, there's something wrong with you.  The  double-decker gives "The Shoe" (short for horseshoe) a massive feel.  I saw that Michael Jackson "Moonwalk" the band did.  Wow.

Big Ten Football.  --Cooter

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Big Ten Stadiums-- Part 4: Michigan and Wisconsin

5.  MICHIGAN--  Michigan Stadium (101,901) The Big House experience starts at a neighboring golf course where a huge pre-game tailgating takes place.  Once inside, you'll be amazed that a stadium this size almost seems compact because it is a bowl where even the top row yields no nose bleeds.  Noise escapes the bowl and Michigan fans are considerably less loud so not as intimidating of a place as might be expected.

4.  WISCONSIN  Camp Randall Stadium (80,321)  On the site of an old Civil War training camp, hence the name.  You'll never forget your first "Jump Around."  The House iof Pain anthem blares before the fourth quarter and everyone starts hopping, the stadium shakes and you hope that every nut and bolt holds.  It is the Big Ten's best stadium tradition.  So eat a brat, chug a Spotted Cow, toss a football on Monroe Street, grab a seat and look for Barry Alvarez in a red blazer.

--Ra-Ra-Ras, Kick 'Em In the Other Knee.  --Cooter

Friday, October 16, 2015

Big Ten Stadiums-- Part 3; The Middle Experiences, Northwestern

Especially since I will be at the Northwestern-Iowa game tomorrow.

9.  NORTHWESTERN--  Ryan Field (47,330)  Northwestern officials liken the former Dyche Stadium to Wrigley Field, without the ivy.  There is rooftop viewing, though, on Walker terrace at the north end.  The old-timey feel was captured on the film "The Express" about 1961 Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis.  Since Ohio State fans took over in 2006, NU has countered with ticket-selling schemes to keep purple the predominant color for the Wildcats.  However, red dominated last year when NIU played Northwestern.  A bonus  for the fans on the west side, a view of nearby Lake Michigan.

8.  MINNESOTA-- TCF Bank Stadium  (50,805)  Another corporate name.  One of the smallest stadiums in the Big Ten and also one of the newest, opening in 2009.  They even sell beer and it has one of the largest college football video displays, measuring 48 feet high and 108 feet across.  The Gophers are now outdoors after playing a long time inside at the Metrodome.

7.  MICHIGAN STATE--  Spartan Stadium (75,005)  It is not the biggest, coolest or most historic, but Spartan Stadium gets the job done-- especially at night, when crowds get wild.  Michigan State has been playing well here under Coach Mark Dantonio, going 15-1 since 2013.  The stadium opened in 1923 and has had frequent upgrades.

6.  IOWA--  Kinnick Stadium (70,585)  The Hawkeyes had an $89 million upgrade in 2006 with new scoreboards, more concession stands, rest rooms, private suites and a grand main entrance.  This is the place to be in Iowa City on game day, but the Hawkeyes have lost nine home games since 2012.

Ra-Ra-Ree  Lick 'Em in the Kneww.  --Cooter

Best Big Ten Stadiums-- Part 2: The Bottom Experiences

14.  PURDUE--  Ross-Ade Stadium (57,236)  Poor performance on the field leads to poor attendance.  Last among Big Ten teams with 35,269 per game while suffering a 3-9 2014 season for the Boilermakers.

13.  INDIANA--  Memorial Stadium (52,929)  Fans have dubbed it "the Rock" in honor of the Indiana limestone boulder the late Terry Hoeppner had installed in the north end zone.  A big challenge for the Hoosiers is to get fans to go to their seats instead of hanging out at the tailgates.  Maybe get Indiana's John Mellancamp to start performing for the games.

12.  RUTGERS--  High Point Solutions Stadium (52,454)  Thumbs down for a mouthful of a corporate name.  The stadium is not on campus either.  In first Big ten season, though, the Scarlet Knights drew 50,632 per game  Improvements are planned.

11.  ILLINOIS--  Memorial Stadium. (60,670)  The addition of the Grange Grove tailgating area has helped and a high definition video has been added, but the Illini still fail to draw fans, partly because of poor field performance of late.  Ranked above only Northwestern and Purdue in home attendance with 41,549.

10.  MARYLAND--  Byrd Stadium (51,802)Attendance is below capacity for terrapin games, but an upgrade in 2009 added 64 suites and 440 new mezzanine seats.  Students have proposed a name change because former university president for whom the stadium was named, was a segregationist.

Hep, One, Hup Two.  --DaCoot

Best Big Ten Stadiums-- Part 1

From the October 2, 2015, Chicago Tribune "The Shoe Fits" by Teddy Greenstein and Shannon Ryan.

"The Big Ten (-11, -12, -13, -14) is a conference of big dreams and even bigger fan bases.  So it fits that the nation's largest three stadiums reside in a footprint that now stretches from Nebraska to new Jersey.  With full-scale conference play beginning Saturday, the Tribunes offers its rankings of Big ten stadiums based on quality of its structure, its tradition, the enthusiasm of the fan base and game-day atmosphere."

I still don't know about Big 10-14 teams being in Maryland and New Jersey.  It IS a Midwest Conference.  Somebody seems to have forgotten that in the GRB race to riches.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Teachers Went Begging in Great Depression-- Part 7

In 1933, teachers almost got a measure of relief from the legislature until Governor Horner vetoed a bill allowing them to walk out of their classrooms once their pay was 90 days in arrears.  This got the teachers very upset and they began to have mass marches and noisy protest.

During spring break of 1935, 5,000 teachers converged on the Loop which led to quite a confrontation, though nonviolent.

During these times teachers were accused and denounced as radicals poisoning student minds with revolutionary ideologies.  Accusations were made that the students were being sacrificed because of their greed.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Teachers Went Begging in Great Depression-- Part 6: "Mutilated Paychecks"

Hoping to restore confidence in its scrip, the school board issued "mutilated paychecks."  When banks refused to cash them, the board offered to trade scrip for the checks.  In a 1932 Tribune headline it said, "Teachers May Be Paid With N.S.F. Checks."  City officials even considered lobbying the state legislature to repeal the law against writing bad checks.  By then, the board owed employees $12.9 million.

There wasn't much the educators could do.  They lacked the ultimate weapon used by teachers today: a strike.  And, the school board let it be known they were not in favor of teacher unions.  In 1915, school board president Jacob Loeb had denounced the fledgling Chicago teachers Federation as a bunch of "lady labor sluggers."


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Teachers Went Begging in Great Depression-- Part 5: The Situation Worsening

Agnes Clohesy, a teachers union officer told the Tribune on Nov. 4, 1931, "There are cases where teachers, until they received their September pay last week, had borrowed all they could, had no money for carfare, and were stinting themselves on their food."

The Tribune calculated that by the end of the year the board of education would owe $9,736,000 in overdue salaries to teachers and other employees with no prospects of getting the money.

One new teacher was "living on graham crackers and milk"  A year later, one said that she had been unable to make mortgage payments and was on the verge of losing her house:  "I am not getting younger, and I have always hated the thoughts of the poorhouse."  Even one teacher's child had died because of want of medical attention because of lack of money.


Teachers Went Begging in Great Depression-- Part 4

But in 1933, the board somehow found the money to secretly give the janitors, who were often patronage workers.  The janitors were already better paid than teachers.

When that news leaked out, John Fewkes, a physical eduaction teacher at Tilden High School, urged teachers to take to the streets.

Teachers were already angry with the payless paydays, scrip that decreased in value and weren't always accepted by local merchants.

Despite all this, teachers were still deeply concerned about their students.  In the Sullivan School District near the steel mills, teachers managed to feed and clothe needy students early on in the Depression, but by 1931 "helping their pupils was out of the question."


Monday, October 12, 2015

Teachers Went Begging in Great Depression-- Part 3: School Board Shenanigans

"Although the Chicago Board of Education recently adopted a budget with a $500 million hole in it, that risky gambit pales by comparison with the shenanigans of board members during the Great Depression.

"For many months, the board simply didn't pay its teachers and other employees.  Then the board tried to pay them with script, which wasn't much of an improvement as the paper IOUs had limited value.  Admittedly, the board was facing the worst economic crash in the nation's history (brought on by the greedy rich and greedy rich want-to-bes) and didn't have a lot of good choices.

"At one point, board members even considered asking the state legislature to repeal laws against check kiting so they could pay teachers with bad checks from empty coffers."

Hard Times.  --DaCoot

Teachers Went Begging in Great Depression-- Part 2 "At End of Rope"

Some 1933 Chicago Tribune headlines:

Pay Teachers, End City Shame, is Bogan's Plea.

School Head Challenges Politicians.

Unpaid Teachers Unable to Feed Famished Pupils.

It's Up to Hungry School Children's Fund.

5,000 Teachers At End of Rope; Tell Privations.

Can't Go Longer Without Pay, They Say.

A big photograph also accompanied the article.  Caption:  "Chicago teachers wait in lines outside temporary school pay offices on North Wells Street in August 1934.  The Tribune wrote, 'Back salaries are due to 14,000 teachers.'"  I could see only three men in the group of 25.  Most teachers back then were women.  Everyone seemed to be dressed in their Sunday-best.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Teachers Went Begging in Great Depression-- Part 1: Beggary

From the September 6, 2015, Chicago Tribune.  "Chicago Flashback" by Ron Grossman.

The Chicago School Board did not pay its teachers and other employees for awhile during the Great Depression.

Accompanied by a picture of Agnes Clohesy, a teachers union officer, showing the "Teacher's Calendar" in 1931.  Some teachers hadn't been paid in six months.

MAY.:  No Pay--  Surprise

JUNE:  No Pay--  Dismay

JULY:  No Pay--  Consternation

AUG::  No Pay--  Disaster

SEPT.:  No Pay--  Hopelessness

OCT.:  No Pay--  Beggary


Ten Things You Might Not Know About Chicago Taverns-- Part 5: Drunkard Haters and "The Blind Pig"

9.  After bloody clashes between police and labor activists in 1877, a new group decided tat saloons were partly to blame.  Its activists began monitoring bars to see if youths and already intoxicated customers were being served, then filed complaints with police and urged the patrons' families to sue.

The group's name was sobering all by itself.  They were called The Citizens League of Chicago for the Suppression of the Sale of Liquor to Minors and Drunkards.

10.  Unlicensed bars in Chicago were once known as "BLIND PIGS."  The origin of the term is unclear, though there is a story about police raiding an illegal one which had a sign reading "APG."  A cop described it as "a pig with its I knocked out."  In other words, a blind pig.

Oink, Oink.  --Cooter

Friday, October 9, 2015

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Chicago Taverns-- Part 4: Of Bad Behavior and Hats

7.  Plenty of BAD BEHAVIOR has taken place at Chicago bars.  Al Capone shot and killed rival "Ragtime Joe" Howard at Hymie Jacobs' bar on South Wabash in 1924.  Attorney W.W. O'Brien, who helped inspire the character Billy Flynn in the play and movie "Chicago," was shot in 1921 at Ryan & Novak's saloon on South State but refused to name his attacker.  He won plenty of business from mobsters after that.

In 1903, a saloon owner allowed his establishment at Dearborn and Randolph streets to be used as a temporary morgue after the Iroquois Theater fire.  The barkeep was caught stealing about $200 from a body.

8.  In 1941, the Ratcliffe family threw a party at its Rogers Park bar, the Ranger Inn, for a relative who was going into the Army.  That GI left his civilian HAT at the bar, saying he would reclaim it when he was out of the service.

For the next four years, more than 400 people hung their hats there as they went off to war.  When peace came, the bar held a hat-reclaiming party.  Those that went unclaimed were disposed of at a bonfire.  The American Legion held a memorial service for three hat owners who never returned from the fighting.


Ten Things You Might Not Know About Chicago's Taverns-- Part 3: Mike Royko and Rush Street

5.  Famed Tribune columnist (also the Chicago Daily News) MIKE ROYKO grew up in an apartment over his parents' tavern, the Blue Sky Lounge at 2122 N. Milwaukee Avenue.  Later, he offered advice on barroom demeanor: "Don't sit next to someone who leans over at more than 1 45-degree angle.  ...Never call a bartender with an 18-inch neck 'my good man' or 'fellow.'  ...In a strange bar, never use the phone more than once or they'll think you're planning a stickup."

Mike Royko was one of my all-time favorite columnists.

6.  Chicago's famous RUSH STREET bar district, which sports many taverns and clubs on Rush and Division and neighboring streets, got its start in the early 1950s and flourished in the 1960s and 1970s, when it became a big tourist destination.  By 1985, some folks would say the area was past its peak, a typical weekend night would see 60,000 people flocking to the area to party.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Chicago Taverns-- Part 2: "Two-Gun Pete" and Prohibition

3.  When infamous Chicago police officer SYLVERSTER "TWO-GUN PETE" WASHINGTON retired from the force in the 1950s, he opened a bar in the Oakland neighborhood called the Hill Top Lounge.  as a cop, he had shot many suspects, including at least nine fatally.  As a barkeep, he saved a reminder of those days in a cigar box with bullet fragments pulled from his victims.

4.  The definition of Chicago tavern expanded a bit during PROHIBITION.  Thirsty patrons turned to the local pharmacy (with a doctor's prescription, residents could buy whiskey), the soda fountain counter (a risky yet common venture for many in the business) and, of course, the unnamed hole-in-the-wall speakeasy.

And, in October 1923, police cracked down on liquor sales of a fishmonger (the herring delivered a kick), a shoe shine (moonshine) and even a candy store which sold rye on the side.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Chicago Taverns-- Part 1: Lincoln's Body and Mickey Finns

From the August 16, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer.

Alright, we have some more interesting factoids from these two.

This article appeared because Illinois once again has Happy Hour.  That's nice, but a bunch of the places that now have it, dropped their daily drink specials.

1.  A depraved plot took place in 1876 in a Near West Side saloon called The Hub when a crime ring decided to steal ABRAHAM LINCOLN's corpse from a Springfield cemetery and demand a $200,000 ransom and the release of an imprisoned comrade.

Their big problem was that one of their members was a mole for the U.S. secret Service.  When they opened Lincoln's sarcophagus, the feds moved in, but they escaped but were later arrested in Chicago.

2.  The expression "TO SLIP SOMEONE A MICKEY" comes from a South Loop bar called the Lone Star Saloon and Palm Garden, circa 1900.

The proprietor was known for doctoring drinks and stealing customer valuables when they passed out. His name was Michael Finn, aka Mickey Finn.

One, Two, Three, Floor.  --Cooter

Monday, October 5, 2015

Echoes of the Past, Decorah, Iowa-- Part 3: House For Sale At $11,000


**  FOR SALE:  three-bedroom home on Spring Street.  Only 1-year-old.  Wall-to-wall carpeting.  Priced at $11,000.


**  Nob Hill is serving all-you-can-eat chicken on Tuesday nights for $1.50.  Don't forget Friday night fish fry event,$1.25.

**  H.T. Leseth of Decorah bowled a perfect game here on Jan. 18, 1965.  It was the first perfect game bowled here since 1951.  Leseth bowls for the A&J Agency in the City League.

1985, 30 YEARS AGO:

**  The local ice skating rink closed the other day due to wind chills dropping to -83 degrees.  Many other events were cancelled in the area due to the cold snap, the most severe weather of this winter so far.


Echoes of the Past, Decorah, Iowa-- Part 2: Dozen Doughnuts for 10 Cents

From the decorak newspaper.

1935, 80 YEARS AGO:

**  Stop at Carl's East End Bakery for a dozen doughnuts, 10 cents; or sweet rolls, 13 cents per dozen; or cookies, 9 cents per dozen.

**  The Elks Lodge will host a grand birthday ball Jan. 30, 1935.  Proceeds will aid the infantile paralysis fund.  Tickets are $1 for each gentleman, giving admission also to his wife or lady friend.  Organizer is Charles Altfilklisch.

1945, 70 YEARS AGO:

**  Now showing at the Calmar Theatre:  "Meet the People" starring Lucille Ball and Dick Powell.  Admission is 25 cents for adults and 10 cents for children.


Echoes of the Past, Decorah, Iowa-- Part 1: 1935: The Unknown Intruder

From the January 22, 2015, Decoarh (Iowa) Joutnal "Chamber membership gala will cost 50 cents" by Roz Weis.

News from 1935, 80 years ago:

The annual Decorah Chamber of Commerce membership drive commences here Jan. 21, 1935.  Banquet tickets for the annual gala are 50 cents each.

The Jackson Junction Savings Bank is being liquidated.  The bank has been operating under the restrictions of Senate File 111 for nearly two years.  (This was during the Great Depression.)

Five steers marketed in Decorah last Saturday by Albert Andera of Spillville were sold for a grand total of $450, and average of $90 per head!

Those on relief rolls here are prohibited in the use of cars in Winneshiek County.  It has been found that in one case, a car is absolutely necessary for the family.  But when it comes to 74 other cases, they will be prohibited from using cars.  (Again, the Depression)

Big commotion reported at the Baker Lumber Yard!  Mrs. Olga Symonds, bookkeeper at the G.E. Baker & Sons lumberyard heard a noise in the private office of the firm last Monday afternoon.  She informed Mr. Baker, who was in the front office.

Mr. Baker, backed up by his son George, Pierce Anderson and other employees, cautiously entered the private office.  They found a huge rat behind a desk cabinet.  All of the gentlemen made an effort to subdue the rodent, which finally bit the dust after a frantic battle, in which we understand Olga DID NOT participate.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Military Posters Calendar for October 2015: Your Country's Call from World War I

From the Smithsonian Military Poster Calendar of 2015.

The poster shows a soldier standing in the front pointing toward an idyllic countryside scene featuring flowered cottages, a road, hills and farm animals.  The words:  "YOUR COUNTRY'S CALL" above the picture.  And "Isn't This worth fighting for?  ENLIST NOW" below it.

This was put out by the British Parliamentary Recruiting Committee in 1915.

"British recruitment posters began appearing in cities and towns throughout the United Kingdom as early as 1915 on almost any available surface.  One newspaper stated that 'All London is placarded-- the walls of buildings, billboards, even the base of Trafalgar Monument.'"


30 Things You Might Not Realize About Coffee-- Part 3

21.  Daily consumption of 1-2 cups is linked to lower risk of erectile dysfunction.

22.   Drinking coffee and boost your memory.  (Must drink more)

23.  Can prevent dental caries (?) because it has anti-bacterial component trigonelline.

24.  Might prevent development of multiple sclerosis.

25.  Might lower the risk of breast cancer.

26.  Makes you like working out more.

27.  2-3 cups can lower the risk of depression in women.

28..  Might ward off Alzheimer's (at least it does in mice).

29.  2-3 cups can lower the risk of clogged arteries.

30.  Could delay death.

I don't know, but were the facts given by the coffee industry.  Otherwise, it is our new (old) miracle drug.

In Other Words, Drink More Coffee.  Cooter

Friday, October 2, 2015

30 Things You May Not Have Realized About Coffee-- Part 2: Maybe It Is Good for You

10.  Coffee drinking seems linked with a lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

11.  Coffee beans contain antioxidants called quinines which become more potent when roasted.

12.  The caffeine in coffee can make your workout seem easier.

13.  Magnesium is naturally found in coffee.

14.  Coffee is linked to a lower risk of liver cancer.

15.  The amount of caffeine you get depends on the bean and brewing method.  There are about 85 milligrams in an 8 ounce cup.

16.  Drinking four cups of coffee is linked with lower risk of melanoma, skin cancer.

17.  The caffeine in coffee can help make your naps more effective.  (Actually, I always heard it keeps you awake.)

18. The caffeine in coffee could help you with your proofreading skills.  Readers of my blogs know better than that. Actually, it might help if I did proofread a little more.)

19.  Three to five cups of coffee a day can be a healthy part of your diet, according to government studies.  (You mean something you can enjoy which won't kill you.  Imagine that?)

20.  The caffeine in coffee can ease headaches, but might cause rebound headaches.  (Rebound headaches?)

Imagine Liking Something That Won't Kill You.  --CoffeeCooter

30 Things You May Not Have Realized About Coffee-- Part 1: But, Is It Good for You?

National Coffee Day was this past Tuesday, September 29th.  I know I drank my usual cup to celebrate it.  More than half of all American adults drink the stuff every day.  My wife Liz doesn't, so I get it ALL!! around here.

From the September 29, 2015, Yahoo! Health.

1.  U.S. adults average 3.1 cups a day.

2.  Most, 65%, have it with breakfast, 30% have it between meals and just 5% with another meal.

3.  On Average, Americans spend $20 a week on coffee, or $1,092 a year.  And then there are those who drink at Starbucks.  I'd hate to think how much they spend.

4.  Average cost of a cup of joe is $1.38.

5.  Coffee comes from the coffee tree.  (I always thought it was a bush.

6.  Tribes in East Africa had an early version of the energy bar by mixing coffee berries with animal fat.

7.  Arabica and robusta are the two main varieties of coffee.  Arabica makes up 70% of the world's coffee.

8.  Coffee trees grow best in the :"Bean Belt."  This is land around the world closest to the equator.

9.  Coffee breath is caused by caffeine (which reduces saliva) and acidity (which promotes bacteria.  Maybe start calling it bacteria breath?


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Chicago's Rank Among the 10 Largest Cities, By decade-- Part 3

#10 in 1855
#9 in 1860
#5 in 1870
#4 in 1880
#2 in 1890

It remained #2 until 1980 when replaced by Los Angeles.

Challenger Houston wasn't in the Top Ten until 1960 when it hit #7.  #6 in 1970, #5 in 1980 and #4 in 1990.

New York has remained at #1 ever since 1850.

Philadelphia was #4 in 1850 and #2 from  1860 to 1880.  From 1890 to 1950 it was #3, #4 in 1980 and #5 from then to now.


Chicago's Population By Decade-- Part 2

Chicago's population grew rapidly from its founding in 1833 to a peak of 3.6 million in 1950.  Not only was the city growing in population, it was also annexing surrounding land.

Between 2000 and 2010, the demographic breakdown in Chicago has changed as the overall population has fallen.  The city lost 180,000 blacks while increasing in its Hispanic and Asian residents.

A line graph of Chicago population showed it reaching 500,000 by 1880 and a million by 1890.  By 1900, it was 1,500,000 and 2 million by 1910.  In 1920, it stood at 2.5 million and reached 3 million in 1930.  It leveled off until 1940 and then reached its highest at 3,6 million in 1950.

It dropped below 3 million in 1980.  2014 Estimate at 2.7 million.


Chicago's Lagging Population Growth-- Part 1

From the September 23, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Charting Chicago's lagging growth" by Kyle Bentle.

"Chicago's position as the third-largest city could soon be in danger..."  Houston could surpass it within the next 8-10 years  Recent data from the Illinois Department of Health show that the 2.7 million in Chicago could decrease by 3% by 2025 to 2.5 million.  Meanwhile, Houston's population could reach 2.54 million by 2025.

POPULATION CHANGE IN THE TEN LARGEST U.S. CITIES:  Rank, city--  2010 census--  new people added by 2014.

1.  New York--  8,175,133--  315,946
2.  Los Angeles--  3,792,621--  136,243
3.  Chicago--  2,695,598--  26,791

4.  Houston--  2,099,451--  140,107
5.  Philadelphia--  1,526,006--  34,291
6.  Phoenix--  1,445,632--  91,426
7.  San Antonio--  1,327,407

8.  San Diego--  1,307,402--  73,667
9.  Dallas--  1,197,816--  83,231
10.  San Jose, Ca.--  945,942--  69,843

--Seems Folks Are Headed South and West.  --Cooter