Maunday Thursday Misc.

A good Easter to all. Back on Easter Monday, which is a holiday in a fair number of countries, so why not here? Or at least something like in Buffalo, which seems to celebrate a thing called Dyngus Day.

The other day I noticed that I’ve nearly made 1,000 postings here. Not quite, but getting there. WordPress helpfully tells me the Top 10 Categories (out of 15, not counting Uncategorized) among all those posts.

Been There (526)
History (227)
Entertainment (160)
Over the Transom (152)
Public Art (105)
Food & Beverage (102)
Weather (100)
Family (83)
Holidays (66)
News (65)

I guess it’s fitting that Been There is first. It’s in the title, after all. Over the Transom is a little tricky: that’s any fool thing that comes my way without any plan, so it covers a lot of ground. Otherwise, I won’t put much stock in the ranking. For instance, I’ve posted more about weather than my family, but that hardly means I care more about the weather than them.

This made me laugh. Jonah Goldberg on the Trump administration: “I feel like I’m watching a Fellini movie without subtitles: I have no idea what’s going on.”

Here are some things young women get up to in Brooklyn. Or did in 2011.

Something to see in Denver. For the colorful art work, of course.

And maybe there is something new under the sun.

First Thursday in February Misc.

The only good thing about the beginning of February is that January is over.

A picture from this moment in history.

Ann was with me, and I had take this shot with her phone. The car was in a northwest suburban parking lot.

Speaking of cars in parking lots, as I was walking the dog the other day, I passed through the parking lot in front of Lilly and Ann’s former elementary school, and saw a Tesla parked there. As if were any other car. Which I guess it is. Still, I can’t remember seeing one around here before. New, they’ll set you back at least $68,000. So you don’t see too many.

I had no idea the French used the suffix -gate as we do. Headline from today’s La Parisien about the hot water that François Fillon, candidate for the presidency, is in: Penelope Gate: toutes les fois où l’épouse de Fillon disait ne pas travailler pour lui. Are there Frenchmen who think the real scandal is that obvious anglicisme being used to describe it? A silly objection. English has borrowed plenty of French; time to give something back.

One more item out at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Monastery, near the church: a memorial to Gen. Dragoljug Mihailovich, the Chetnik commander whom Tito ultimately had shot after the war.

Gen. Dragoljug Mihailovich memorial

Whatever else you can say about him — and apparently that’s quite a lot, for good and ill — President Truman did award him a Legion of Merit (Chief Commander) posthumously in 1948, the text of which is on the memorial in English and Serbian. It cites his efforts in rescuing U.S. airmen downed over Yugoslavia.

The Ambassador in His Salad Days

Today was about as foul a day as can be, marked by cold rain that varied unpredictably from drizzle to downpours. Strong winds blew nearly all the time. As much as 60 MPH, the National Weather Service said. At least it was warm for January, above freezing, or it might have been a blizzard.

Did a short item about Bill Hagerty recently, who will probably be the next U.S. ambassador to Japan. A little research told me that he went to Vanderbilt. A little more research told me he was Class of ’81, or two years ahead of me. I didn’t know him, and he certainly didn’t know me, unless it was as one of those characters who wrote for the student magazine Versus. Which he wouldn’t have, because no one pays attention to bylines, even if they read the articles.

I hauled out my copy of the ’81 VU yearbook, The Commodore. The spine cracked a little. Grumble. Anyway, Bill Hagerty’s with the other SAEs on p. 301 and his senior picture is on p. 396, which lists him as William Francis Hagerty IV, econ.

Bill Hagerty at Vanderbilt 1981

The girl immediately to his left — who presumably had nothing to do with him except for alphabetical placement — is a sad story I don’t know, and didn’t know then. Her caption reads, “Haberman, Harriett Susan, elem ed. May 20, 1959 — January 23, 1981.”

Godspeed, John Glenn

project_mercury_astronauts_-_gpn-2000-000651Occasionally, a public domain picture from NASA is just the thing. I opened up Google News at about 3 this afternoon to take a look at the latest outrages worldwide, and the page informed me of John Glenn’s passing. I knew he was still alive, but I wasn’t sure whether any of the other Mercury 7 astronauts were, so I checked.

The answer is no. He was the last one.

I don’t remember any of their flights, of course. I barely remember any of the Gemini missions. It wasn’t until Apollo that I started paying attention, but when I did, I made a point of learning about Mercury and Gemini too. I well remember my excitement at finding the July 1962 edition of National Geographic, which covered Glenn’s flight, about 10 years after it came out (because we saved them, like everyone). I read every word of the article. Early space flight was covered in other editions, too, and I read them as well.

Like all editions of NG, it was well illustrated. One in particular stuck with me: how John Glenn might have died in 1962 and not 2016. Reading that also meant that I knew how the dramatization of his flight in The Right Stuff movie would turn out (also, I’d read the book). Astronaut not incinerated.

The news set me wondering about how many of the Moon walkers are still around. Seven of 12, as it turns out, but every jack man of them are in their 80s. Buzz Aldrin’s the oldest, nearly 87, while Charles Duke is the youngest, at 81. Wonder if Aldrin would even have the energy these days to offer up a punch to a Moon landing denier who clearly deserved one (officialdom agreed; Aldrin wasn’t charged).

Pretty Good Moon

“Supermoon” again, eh? I took a look. I would have anyway, because I usually take out the trash on Sunday evenings, as I did yesterday. I understand that the Moon was at perigee, and closer than it will be for more than 20 years. So I looked up and there it was, looking like a nice full moon. That’s all.

Photoshop Nightmare Election Leftover

Remarkably windy this afternoon, though not particularly cold. Yet winter is coming, as they say on a TV show I haven’t gotten around to seeing.

The influx — flow — torrent — of election season postcards has, of course, come to a sudden stop. I didn’t count the number that passed from campaigns, through to USPS, to our mailbox. And then into the recycle bin or, if I were in a less sustainable mood, the regular trash.

Most of them weren’t that memorable. Then there was this Photoshop nightmare.


It might not have changed my vote, but it did get my attention.

Otherwise, Today Was Fairly Normal

Not much to add to the volumes written about the election, and which will be, ad nauseam. Biggest surprise since 1948, maybe bigger than that. Trouble is, Trump is no Truman. No one knows what he’ll be in office. So it’s an awful gamble.

Best not to dwell on it too much at this juncture. Instead, hum something cheerful.

Presidential facts to mull over. Assuming President Obama finishes his term, and it’s a safe assumption, it will mark only the second time that three presidents in a row have held office for eight years each. The first time was long ago: Jefferson-Madison-Monroe. Four times in a row has never happened.

Also assuming Obama survives his term — and all of the other ex-presidents do, too — then there will be five living former presidents for a time after Jan. 20, 2017 (Carter, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama). That’s only happened three times: March 4, 1861-Jan 18, 1862; Jan. 20, 1993-April 22, 1994; and Jan. 20, 2001-June 5, 2004.

Donald Trump will be the first president from New York City since TR, though of course FDR was from New York state and so were a number of others. In fact, with the upcoming addition, that will make six presidents from New York state, same as Ohio, “Mother of Presidents.”

Libertarian on the Thoroughfare

Political signage isn’t all that thick here in the northwest suburbs this year, only a scattering of statewide races, and I hadn’t seen a single presidential sign until the other day. Could be that, since Illinois isn’t remotely in play in that election, no one is bothering.

Then again, there’s a certain house on a small road I’ve been driving by regularly for more than a decade, and every election — every one — Republican signage is prominent in the yard, especially the presidential nominee during those contests. This year, nothing. Maybe they’ve moved. Or maybe their presidential nominee just embarrasses them.

But recently I did see a bit of presidential advertising, near the intersection of Schaumburg Road, a major thoroughfare, and Salem Road.

Gary Johnson Sign made of yellow cups

That’s the more visible part, made of yellow cups stuck in the fence. Less visible, and off to the side in blue cups, is # LET GARY DEBATE.

Schaumburg Town Square, Augmented

Before she left for school, Lilly told me that people spend time at Schaumburg Town Square on warm evenings — all of them, this time of year — playing Pokemon Go. Not long ago I took a look myself, to see if she was pulling my leg.

She wasn’t.

Playing Pokemon Go at Schaumburg Town Square 2016Among other things, Schaumburg Town Square, which includes the township library and some retail space, features a small grass-surfaced amphitheater, and the game seemed especially popular there. I watched for a while to make sure that’s what they were doing, and confirmed it for certain when I heard a couple fellows talking about it. These guys.

Playing Pokemon Go at Schaumburg Town Center, 2016As The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy said about Earth, “mostly harmless.”

Fun With Autofill

Google autofill is reputed to say nice things about Hillary Clinton, but I have no way to judge whether that’s true or an election year canard or if it even matters. In the meantime, for fun, I put in “Hitler” for Google to autofill, because he always makes guest appearances in modern political rhetoric, which rarely mean more than, “I don’t like my opponent.”

Anyway, Google “Hitler” suggested (the other day, your results may vary) in order:

quotes, memes, youth, death, ‘s birthday, ‘s rise to power, salute, did nothing wrong [!]

Google News “Hitler” suggested, in order (caps added, because I’m an editor):

‘s birthday, death, and Trump, memes, compared to Trump, book, mustache, quotes, youth

For additional grins, I let Google autofill “Mussolini,” too. This is what turned up:

death, quotes, Trump, definition [?], speech, WW2, nickname

Google News autofilled “Mussolini” this way:

Trump, death, definition [who’s asking that?], facts, Italy, quotes

For a more contemporary autocrat, I then let Google autofill “Putin”:

bay, news, memes, net worth, on the ritz, Trump, poutine, height, wife

Google News “Putin”:

news, Trump, Greece, Russia, Syria, hockey, NATO, Obama