23, 2021 RARE
an aging baby boomer, it was only a few years ago that I reluctantly
slipped a cell phone into my pocket. I still communicate mostly
at my desk, using the computer and landline phone. I check my
emails often but texts rarely. I leave the smartphone switched
off unless I'm expecting someone to call that number or I need it for
some special purpose away from home for example, notifying a
store or restaurant that I've arrived for curbside pickup.
not typical. Arthur C. Brooks writes in The Atlantic
about addiction to mobile devices. The average smartphone
user rarely goes two hours without using her device and unlocks her
device 50 or more times a day. You know what I mean: If
you have 15 seconds of downtime in an elevator or waiting at a red
light, out pops your phone. You are basically just killing time.
He suggests ways to counteract mindless scrolling. Set
times each day or week to look at your smartphone and really focus on it.
Don't do anything else; be all about the phone for those minutes, as
if it were your job.
some folks, expecting 3:00 AM messages, leave their cellphones on 24
hours a day! Brooks advises, Silo off parts of your home
where your phone is not physically proximate, such as the dinner
table and the bedroom. My personal strategy is to plug in my
phone in the kitchen at night before I go upstairs to bed. If I
wake up during the night, going to check it would take a lot of
effort, so I don't.
my messages pop up via email on my desktop computer, my version is to
locate it where I can't see it unless I'm actually at the desk.
year ago, the NSA issued security recommendations to reduce hacking.
They suggest turning a phone off and on to reboot it once every week.
I'm well within that guideline, but I'll pass the NSA's advice along.
21, 2021 THE
WAY WE WERE
I was in elementary school, as I reflect in this month's 100 Moons
article, the left and the right did not seem to be such mortal enemies.
the Halloween season, local photographer Dave DiCello looked across
Pittsburgh's rivers to the top of the distant Duquesne Incline and
captured a scary image: moonset over Mount Washington.
16, 2021 LEFT
Lange, the longtime voice of the Pittsburgh Penguins, has retired
after 50 years of broadcasting hockey.
in the last century, late in a game at Pittsburgh's Civic Arena, the
Pens were desperately clinging to a one-goal lead. The issue
was in doubt until they stole the puck and scored an empty-net
goal. That clinched the win. In effect, the game was
over. After describing the play, Lange triumphantly added,
And, ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has just left the building!
does Elvis Presley have to do with hockey? Nothing (although
Lange's catchphrases were famously context-free). And Elvis did
perform at the Arena in 1973 and 1976.
I remember that two months after The King's death in 1977, there was
a CBS-TV special showing his last filmed concert, and the poignant
ending included an announcer's voice: Elvis has left the building.
Evanier has explained, Elvis was grotesquely overweight in his
final years of touring. On stage, The King performed his
greatest hits, accompanied by a group of back-up singers who aided
him with the notes he could no longer reach. Even with this
help, the King still delivered a show so short that, when
he left the stage, everyone knew it was just a fake bow-off and he'd
be coming back for ten more numbers.
he wasn't coming back: Elvis exited directly to a waiting limousine.
fans would be standing and cheering, waiting for him to return and
finish the high-priced concert. Then, over the P.A. system,
once they were sure the limo was away, the hotel would announce,
Elvis has left the building. Thank you and good night.
crowds were always, to say the least, stunned, but the phrase
meant, Sorry, there won't be any encores. The show's over.
14, 2021 CAREFUL
WITH THOSE SCENIC CLIPS
casual sports fan might assume the TV crew has placed many cameras
in the vicinity of the venue to bring us beauty
shots. Besides welcoming us to the city, these also serve
as backgrounds for large graphics and billboards (brief
acknowledgments of the sponsors with their logos, for example The
second half is brought to you by...)
is this really a live shot of Chicago from a boat out on Lake
Michigan? Probably not.
many cases nowadays these views aren't live from a circling blimp or
drone. They aren't live at all; they're pre-recorded scenes.
they weren't even recorded the same year. Until recently, if
you closely watched a telecast from Pittsburgh, during the billboards
you might notice the distinctive dome of the Civic Arena
(arrow). It was demolished ten years ago.
before the turn of the century, I was working a telecast of a
Memphis State football game from Liberty Bowl Municipal Stadium.
The guys in the tape room had a selection of clips showing local
Memphis tourist attractions, something like below, which we were
using to assemble a series of billboards.
local technician quietly suggested that we might want to redo the
one featuring scenic #4. It featured an imposing equestrian
statue that happened to be the memorial of Confederate General Nathan
Bedford Forrest, the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. We
agreed and used a different clip.
the way, that Jim-Crow-era statue was removed in 2017. Then
four months ago, the remains of Forrest and his wife were exhumed
from ten feet below the statue's base and taken to a vault in an
statues of many other Confederate leaders have been coming
down. Robert E. Lee's in Richmond was dismantled only last month.
Lee was very famous, and other statues of him remain elsewhere,
proclaiming the nobility of the rebels and, by extension,
photo on the right shows the Virginia Monument at Gettysburg,
dedicated in 1917 at the location of General Lee's greatest defeat.
it was first proposed in 1903, Northerners raised numerous
objections. I've added to the photo the words suggested by John
Stewart of nearby Chambersburg, who declared that if such a statue
were erected, it should include an admission that Lee and his men
were traitors, fighting against a nation to which they had
earlier sworn allegiance a nation dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal (as Lincoln had said
on these grounds 40 years before).
also colorized the rebels' banner, which by the time the statue was
erected had become a potent symbol of the Lost Cause and white supremacy.
don't think I'd use this image as a beauty shot.
11, 2021 INDIGENOUS
you see, son, you get yourself a nice stick, and you whittle it down
so it's smooth and straight like this. You cut two notches into
it, a big one on the end and a shallow one on the side.
you need a thin strip of deerskin. Thread one end of the thong
into the little notch and leave the rest dangling.
you take this gray stone and wedge the flat end into the big notch,
like so. You wrap the thong around the stick, real tight, to
hold the stone in place. Tie a knot, and you're ready to add
have a couple of those gray stones in my apartment. Where did
they come from? I'll speculate in an article about Native
10, 2011 I'M
do you excite a pro athlete? Change his
circumstances. At least thats what hell tell
you. Interview him and notice how often he uses the word excited.
excited to be here! Im having a great time getting to
know my new teammates. Helping them make it into the playoffs
thats gonna be a challenge, but I'm excited about
it. And is it true were getting a new practice facility
in a couple of years? Im pumped up about that, too.
the typical athlete. Mr. Excitement. But how about you,
Mr. Straight Talker? The trade that brought you to our city
are you excited about it?
really. Im kinda bummed out, to tell the truth. My
old team had a chance to win a championship. The fans were
great. The weather was great. I loved the city. I
just built a new house there last year. And now Ive gotta
come here? To this team of losers? Where I
dont know anybody? Its depressing. Have you
seen that dump where we practice? But its my job, so
Ill have to give it my best effort, I guess.
if more interviewees were that honest? Its an exciting concept.
8, 2021 PINK
SURNAMES ARE FOR GIRLS
she marries, an American woman such as Sarah
traditionally abandons her maiden name
and adopts the surname of her husband to become Sarah
Their children are also Brodericks.
we're learning to respect the woman's identity and allow her to keep
her birth name, especially if she's become well-known using that
name. Many children of such marriages now include both parents
as in Tabitha Parker-Broderick.
not sure what happens when such a hyphenate grows up to marry, let's
say, Noah Barber-Roderick.
Will their daughter keep all four surnames to call herself Amy Barber-Parker-Broderick-Roderick?
And might her daughter be named Barbara Barber-Barker-Parker-Barton-Broderick-Roderick-Rubberwick-Butterstick?
This could start to get ridiculous.
Spain, names given to children also honor the mother by including
two apellidos or surnames without hyphens, as in María Castro Molina.
The order is: nombre or given name (Mary),
father's first surname (Castle),
mother's first surname (Miller).
But because the last part is often omitted, this name would be
alphabetized under C
like the father. Ken Jennings remarks, Let's not kid
ourselves. These are still patriarchal cultures.
were the ancient Romans. They too often had three names, but
the mother's was not among them.
Plutarch's Parallel Lives, he explains while introducing Caius Marcius Coriolanus
was the proper name; the second name, in this case Marcius,
was the common name of family or clan; and the third name was
adopted subsequently, and bestowed because of some exploit, or
fortune, or bodily feature, or special excellence in a
man. In this case Caius Marcius
captured a town called Corioles (kuh-RYE-uh-lus), so his cognomen
became Coriolanus (kor-e-uh-LANE-us).
I, having been baptized Thomas
with a Buckingham
mother and a Thomas
father, would have been Thomas Thomas Buckingham
if I been born in Spain. And if I been born in ancient Rome, I
would have been Thomas Thomas Chyronist.
6, 2021 THE
racecar driver Louis Wagner described the beginning of his victory on
the road course. Starting in tenth place, my time for the
first lap, 28:36, enabled me to overtake and pass Nazzaro and
Luttgen, then Heath and Le Blon.
required half an hour to complete that first trip around the
circuit? As you may have guessed, this was not a recent
event. It took place on this date 115 years ago: October
6, 1906. Wagner and his riding mechanic were competing in the
third annual Vanderbilt Cup Race near New York City.
vehicle, depicted here by Don Packwood, was the #10 Darracq in the
French racing color of blue. It was noticeably smaller and
lighter than its competition. Unlike that sidelined monster in
the background with its flat radiator, the Darracq had a peculiar-looking
aerodynamic front, with wire wheels and Michelin tires. Yet it
boasted a 775-cubic-inch engine developing a whopping 100 horsepower,
and it went on to win the race at an average speed of 62.7 mph.
leading cars, Wagner wrote, were behaving with wonderful
consistency. But the crowd! On rounding the Hairpin Turn
for the second time, directly in the road were at least 50 persons as
we approached the turn. They swiftly made way, but my car must
have brushed at least a dozen coats while taking the turn. I
actually shut my eyes and piloted the machine by blind instinct,
expecting any moment to mow down several lives. That no one was
slain was nothing less than a miracle, for the oil-sodden roadstead
to one traveling faster than a mile a minute was
nothing but a very narrow ribbon fringed at brief intervals with
blotches of humanity.
for the 11 sharp bends in the course, it was impossible for me to
know from my own vision just when and where they may be met.
For this knowledge I depended entirely upon my companion who directed
the way with his hand.
prestigious event soon proved too popular for its own good.
Four years later an author attended the last of these Long Island
spectacles, and I've quoted liberally from his book to assemble my
latest article including lots of illustrations and even film
footage. It's called The
3, 2021 POWERLESS
we see the O'Tent family as they leave their home on a beautiful
Sunday morning. The father Imp and his teenage son are walking
in one direction, while the mother and her daughters have headed the
men are on their way to a sports bar to watch their hometown team's
football game on TV. As always, they've eaten their traditional
good-luck breakfast, and now they're wearing their heroes'
jerseys. They've brought their caps and banners, of course, and
they're loudly singing the team chant. Upon arrival, everyone
will grab mugs of beer. They'll join in the cheering whenever
their favorites get a first down, and they'll join in the booing
whenever the refs throw a flag.
the women are on their way to church. They're not wearing
sports jerseys but their proper Sunday-go-to-meeting
dresses, and if they're singing anything it's a gospel tune.
Once they arrive, they'll stand and sit and kneel at the proper
times, recite prayers when prompted, and perhaps consume a wafer and
a sip of wine. Most importantly, they'll ask God to improve
their lot, both now and even after they die.
this noise will have no actual effect. Neither the players nor
the officials can hear what's happening inside the sports bar.
If none of these rituals can influence the outcome of the game, why
do they exist?
hear no reply. Nevertheless, they'll be back again next Sunday.
actions often arise from a place of helplessness, according to
Murray State University sports psychologist Daniel Wann.
by Maddie Bender in Popular
Science, fall 2020).
like to suggest that these actions also arise from a place of helplessness.
practices put fans' minds at ease because they make them feel as if
they have some control over the game. There's also a bit of
peer pressure involved. Studies show that being part of a
team's hype squad offers a sense of belonging and togetherness, which
may be behind cheerers' decisions to take part in unusual
routines. Plus, when a team wins a nail-biter, you can't help
but wonder if your rally cap had something to do with it.
practices put believers' minds at ease because they make them feel
as if they have some control over the future. There's also a
bit of peer pressure involved. Studies show that being part of
a church's congregation offers a sense of belonging and togetherness,
which may be behind hymn-singers' decisions to take part in unusual
routines. Plus, when good news arrives, you can't help but
wonder if the little gold cross you wear had something to do with it.
1, 2021 THE
YEAR IS WRONG
night CBS aired a two-hour special celebrating the start of the 50th
year of its popular daytime game show, The Price Is Right.
I could stand to watch only a few minutes of the hyperactive
contestants jumping up and down and applauding their chances of
I thought the show was even older than that. Sure enough, when
they showed a 49-year-old tape of Bob Barker, the title was The New
Price Is Right. There was an earlier program by that name?
certainly was. It premiered on NBC in November of 1956, the
same month that our family finally got a TV set. I was not yet
ten years old at the time, but I recall seeing it. The affable
crew-cut host was Bill Cullen, whom I remember more for his
appearances on the panel of I've Got a Secret.
Price Is Right is now eligible for Social Security. Except
for a seven-year gap from 1965 to 1972, it has been on the air not
for 50 years but for 65, and it's believed to be the longest-running
game show on television!
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