“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” Andy Warhol
In the Jeopardy category “It’s About Time” I’d have nailed the questions about Reconstruction, the “Gilded Age,” the “Roaring Twenties,” and “Millenialists.” Going into Final Jeopardy” one contestant had $11,000 and another $22,000. The question asked for a word not found in the first edition of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” but in all subsequent ones. Both contestants knew the answer was “Evolution.” The leader bet nothing. Had the runner-up bet everything, they would have tied, and both would have kept their money and returned. I could see that scenario coming but the contestant with $11,000 foolishly bet just a couple thousand dollars
Post-Trib sports columnist Mike Hutton talked with Chris Christoff, a super-sub on the top-ranked 1950-1951 Gary Froebel basketball team that was undefeated (26-0) before losing to Lafayette Jefferson in the semi-state. Their stars, John Moore and Vlad Gastevich, went on to UCLA and Louisville. Hutton wrote:
The school had an oval track that hung over the corners of the gym. There was no way to shoot a corner jump shot without throwing up a line drive. [Coach Hank] Mantz wanted it fixed. . . The school board wouldn’t open the job up for bids – so he told them he’d do it himself.
And he did. Christoff and his teammates walked past the gym in the summer of 1949. They’d hear the torches blowing and the saws cutting. The job killed Mantz. He died of a heart attack with a hammer in his hand.
Replacing Mantz was athletic director Johnny Kyle, a football coach with very little basketball experience who, Christoff declared, “was coaching stuff from the late 1920s.” To make matters worse, right before the semistate, Kyle’s father died and the coach’s mind was clearly not on the game. “It was just bizarre,” concluded Christoff, who believes those two deaths cost Froebel a state championship.
Choice asked me to review Mitchell Hall’s “The Emergence of Rock and Roll: Music and the Rise of American Youth Culture,” part of a Routledge Press series on “Critical Moments in American History.” Does the topic deserve inclusion alongside volumes on the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the 1892 Homestead Strike, the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and the 1980 Presidential Election. You betcha. As W. Michael Weis of Illinois Wesleyan asserted: “Rock helped to create a social revolution throughout the United States and the world. Indeed, no history of post-World War II is complete without an understanding of this cultural phenomenon.” More than armed might, what caused the Berlin Wall to come down was Rock and Roll – and pornography - the first things those rushing into West Berlin sought. Routledge Press has also published Ron Cohen’s book on Woody Guthrie and Nicole Anslover’s “Harry S Truman: The Coming of the Cold War.”
Good old Chancellor Lowe thanked me for sending him Pat Buckler’s “Bloody Italy,” adding that he is returning the book about detective novels “since it is inscribed to you.” About his signature Lowe wrote, “All the best.” I appreciate the handwritten note and believe it was sincere. Pat’s inscription - “For our shared values” - was a reference to our outrage at Anne Balay having been denied tenure. In fact, so, too, had Buckler. My purpose in showing “Bloody Italy” to the Chancellor was to underscore how unfair was the purge of two excellent scholars and teachers who dared challenge their department chair’s leadership and paid the price.
Recreational marijuana went on sale in Seattle. Deb Green, 65, who camped out all night to be the first customer at Cannabis City, told reporters, “I came not so much for the pot, though I do smoke a little bit, but I came out more for the history of this. I never thought this would happen in my lifetime.” The next two customers were an ACLU lawyer who led the fight for legalization and Seattle’s city attorney.
Vanity Fair contains a long article by Sylvia Jukes Morris on Clare Booth Luce, who married the Time-Life founder Henry Luce and served in Congress, experimented with LSD, and became Ambassador to Italy. In 1959 Henry sought a divorce so he could marry Lady Jeanne Campbell, who described her aged lover as the “cuddliest” man in the world but one who, due to prostate problems, took “six months to get it up.” Distraught upon discovering the affair, Clare twice O.D.’d before Henry withdrew his request for a divorce. Campbell wed novelist Norman Mailer, a misogynist who had no trouble getting it up and got Lady Jeanne what she wanted – pregnant. The turbulent marriage lasted a single year but produced a daughter, Kate.
The new HBO series, “The Leftovers,” dealing with the mysterious disappearance of several million people, has promise. In one disturbing scene teenagers at a wild party are playing an X-rated version of Spin the Bottle with such directions as “Fuck” and “Choke.” One of he main characters goes into a bedroom with a boy and chokes him around the neck as he masturbates. Hopefully this won’t inspire others to try doing it. Sex therapist Alfred Kinsey near the end of his life was into similar painful practices.
I doggedly watched to the bitter end Brazil getting humiliated by the Germans 7-1. The score was 5-0 29 minutes into the match. Unbelievable. Dave and Phil, second place finishers in a golf outing, had been looking forward to watching the second half but instead inquired about gaming possibilities.
Due largely to publicity generated by Anne Balay’s “Steel Closets: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Steelworkers,” USW Local 6787 union members at Arcelormittal in Burns Harbor passed a resolution condemning harassment and discrimination against LGBT millworkers. Paul Kaczocha, who suffered a heart attack just weeks ago, was a prime-mover in making it happen. A New Jersey local took similar action. By the time of the USW international convention in Las Vegas, enough momentum will have occurred to obtain passage of an anti-discrimination resolution. Balay wrote: “Holy shit, then, though still fired and increasingly freaked out about whether I will ever teach again, something I wrote made the lives of real people materially, measurably better. Can’t beat that!!!” In her second week of truck driving school, Anne reported that her leg hurts because depressing the clutch is very hard and needs to be employed much more frequently than for cars. The trooper added: “I did it – I backed up an 18-wheeler.”
Paul McCartney, 72, performed 37 songs for fans at Chicago’s United Center, concluding during the second encore with the "Golden Slumber” medley from “Abbey Road.” The final lines go:
“Boy, you’re going to carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time.”