Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Labor Day Weekend

“On a shiny John Deere will he reappear
with a power drill and a paintbrush
and a chip on his shoulder as wide as a barn
and as hard as the workingman's hands.”
         “Workingman’s Hands,” Fountains of Wayne
Jeff Manes wrote:
  Lest we forget....  While enjoying your grilled brats and hamburgers and drinking a few cold bottles of beer, please don't forget what this day is about. The photograph posted depicts what happened in South Chicago on Memorial Day, 1937. Hundreds of unarmed steelworkers were peacefully picketing with their wives and children when the Chicago Police Department opened fire on them. When the smoke cleared, 67 were wounded and 10 were dead, all of them either shot in the back or clubbed to death. Three of the 10, Handley, Popovich ad Reed were from Inland Steel (Local 1010) and weren't even on strike like the workers from Republic Steel. They were simply there in solidarity. No police were ever prosecuted. In memory of the murdered...Alfred Causey, Leo Francisco, Earl Handley, Hilding Anderson, Otis Jones, Sam Popovich, Kenneth Reed, Joseph Rothmund, Anthony Tagliari, and Lee Tisdale

Friday was a day of close calls.  I was about to turn right onto Route 49 from Indian Boundary Road when a jerk from the other direction made an illegal left turn, causing me to come close to rear-ending the car ahead of me.  Then it took Anthony from the IUN Help Desk over two hours to discover why I couldn’t access my James B Lane blog.  Spotting my entry on the Crusades, Anthony told me that David Parnell was his favorite teacher.  I can understand why.  Doing laundry, I tripped a circuit breaker opening and then closing the dryer, darkening the entire basement and affecting (oddly) the kitchen microwave.  We were anticipating spending the weekend at Lisa and Fritz’s in Granger, but their lovable dog Jack needed an operation on a cancerous leg.
 Lisa reports on Jack: Only 3 legs but tail still wagging

I found a thousand-page history of the Crusades at Westchester Library by Christopher Tyerman titled “God’s War” as well as a book called Seinfeldia” (mainly to read about sitcom co-creator Larry David) and the Fountains of Wayne CD “Sky Full of Holes” (2011) on which “Workingman’s Hands” appears and my favorite, “Someone’s Gonna Break Your Heart (One Coldplay Morning).”  At Chesterton’s European Market Lake Street Gallery’s booth was doing a brisk business selling South Shore posters. A folksinger wearing a black Neil Young t-shirt emblazoned “EARTH”  (the name of Young’s most recent album) and sporting a guitar and harmonica, was garnering tips singing “Heart of Gold” followed by Dylan’s “Blowin’in the Wind.”  Phil arrived for the weekend, as did Angie, James, and Becca since Dave was working a 15-hour day collecting blood samples in Illinois and taking them to a lab in Portage.

In the Preface to “God’s War” Christopher Tyerman praised Steven Runciman’s three-volume “History of the Crusades” published between 1951 and 1954, as having stimulated interest in medieval history that led to new insights, especially from a non-European perspective.  While Tyerman’s perspective, like Runciman’s, is western European, he adds that that “this stance in no way implies approval of crusading.”  In fact, he repeats Francis Bacon’s mockery of the Crusades as a “rendezvous of cracked brains that wore their feather in their hair instead of their hat.”  He stated:
  This study is intended as a history, not a polemic, an account, not a judgement, an exploration of an important episode of world history of enormous imaginative as well as intellectual fascination, not a confessional apologia or witness statements in some cosmic law suit. 

Commenting on the fate of Peter the Hermit’s followers in 1096, Tyerman wrote that while he was negotiating with Byzantine authorities in Constantinople, the French and Italian captains engaged in pillaging, not only against Seljuk Turks but Greek Christians as well:
  The objectives were food, booty, and action.  It was a truism of medieval warfare that an armed force was ever more vulnerable than when foraging.  In September French raiders penetrated to the walls of Nicaea.  Not to be outdone, a contingent of Germans and Italians, under an Italian named Rainaldo, ranged further afield, seizing a castle at Xerigordo near Nicaea.  There they were trapped and massacred by  Seljuk Turks from Nicaea, allegedly only those who surrendered and embraced Islam escaping to live lives as captives and slaves, one of them being Rainaldo himself.
 Joe Madden

Sunday Phil, Dave, Tom Wade and I played board games, and I ordered food from Joy Wok, a nearby Thai restaurant.  In the afternoon I played practice bridge hands with Phil, Toni, and Becca and watched the Cubs with Dave, who mentioned that manager Joe Madden once purposely used a batting order corresponding to the Tommy Tutone hit 867-5309 (starting with the centerfielder (8), followed by the shortstop (6), etc., and the rightfielder (9) seventh).  Dave “King Kong” Kingman, who hit 48 home runs for Chicago in 1979, was at the game and bears a resemblance to Super Dave Osborne (Bob Einstein), who plays Funkhauser of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”  My favorite Cub, Jason Hayward, drove in all three Cubbie runs, including the game winner in the thirteenth.  That evening Phil and Dave were at Robert Blaszkiewicz’s for a Fantasy Football draft and stayed to watch the denouement of Notre Dame’s 50-47 double overtime loss to Texas.

Labor Day Phil took a photo of the brunch Toni prepared for him, a repeat of a favorite meal he’d consumed two days before.  We split a couple Lost Cities contests.  After he took off for Michigan, I caught the end of the Cubs 7-2 victory over the “Brew Crew.” 
Tori serving against Ottawa Hills

Even though Tori is just starting school, her varsity volleyball team has had matches for three weeks.

At Dave’s for the LANE Football Fantasy draft, I had chili and a hot dog Angie had prepared, and with James’ help I hunkered down in front of his computer.  In our 8-team league are three nephews, Pittsbugh Dave’s wife Kira (“The Cougar”), my two sons, and grandson Anthony (The Powerhouse”).  My team is Jimbo Jammers.  I drafted eighth in the initial round but then first in round two.  Wide receivers were on high demand, so I took DeAndre Hopkins and then Rob Gronkowski, the NFL’s premier tight end.  My next two picks were running back LeSean McCoy and QB Andrew Luck (after Cam Newton, Aaron Rogers, Russell Wilson, and Drew Brees had been taken). Each team drafted 15 players with two-minute time limits, so the whole process took just 90 minutes.  After I arrived home, Phil (“The Commish”) called for a rehash.  The regular season starts in two days – autumn has indeed arrived despite temperature in the 90s.  My first game is against Anthony, who picked third and grabbed Adrian Peterson, persona non grata two seasons ago for beating his son's ass with a switch.
above, Al Terzes; below, John Barile
Herb Read introduced Jeff Manes to WW II navy veterans, Al Terzes and John Barile; both became SALT column subjects.  Though just 20 years older than I, they grew up in a radically different world from the postwar suburban affluence that baby boomers enjoyed though many of my generation bore the scars of war from Vietnam.  Barile just retired from owning a Ford dealership last years while Terzes organizes veterans’ group discussions at his assisted living facility (Symphony of Chesterton).  Some of his comrades hadn’t opened up about their wartime experiences in years, if ever, so it was therapeutic for them.

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