was four days after Christmas 1876 in northeastern Ohio.
During a blizzard, a train was crossing a bridge which had been
personally designed by the president of the Lake Shore & Michigan
as a result of the cold weather, the cast-iron bridge collapsed into
the Ashtabula River. One locomotive made it across, but the
second didn't, nor did the passenger cars.
from overturned oil lamps and heating stoves were fanned by the
wind. Ninety-two people died.
into the next century, the disaster would stand as the worst U.S.
rail accident ever.
was the spring of 1891, and a fast mail train (in red) was headed
east towards Cleveland. A westbound passenger train on the same
LS&MS track was supposed to leave Oberlin at a certain time and
pull off onto a siding at Kipton seven minutes later. But the
engineer's watch was four minutes slow and he was late getting to the
siding. The two trains collided head-on, killing eight.
the aftermath of that Great Kipton Train Wreck, the LS&MS hired
Cleveland jeweler Webb Ball to check its timing. Mr. Ball
created new standards which included watches accurate to within 30
seconds per week. Employees were thereafter admonished to
"get on the Ball."
train smashups were not that uncommon in those days. They made
all the newspapers and were memorialized in song.
folks traveled to gape at the wreckage, wishing they had been on
hand to actually see the crash take place.
a man named A.L. Streeter made their wishes come true! As
shown on the right, it happened in Ohio 125 years ago today. I
tell the story in The
Great Buckeye Collision.
BIBOLATRY REQUIRES SKIRTS
was brought up in the Methodist Church. The Bible was
important to us because it told the origin story of Christianity.
we didn't study it daily to discover all God's ancient laws.
(According to Leviticus 2, we're supposed to make grain
offerings. They have to include oil and salt but no yeast or
honey. After the priest burns a little grain on the altar, he
can keep the rest for himself.)
did we search the Scriptures obsessively for thou shalt
not lifestyle rules, for example prohibiting the consumption of
fat or pork or shrimp. (Jesus gave us permission in Matthew
6:25 to ignore those parts of God's Word. Don't worry
about what you will eat or drink. Don't worry about what you
will put on. Isn't life more than food? Isn't the body
more than clothes?)
I find it hard to understand people who organize every detail of
their lives according to The
an infallible and unchanging graven image that holds all the
answers. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their 19 children are
that kind of Bible-worshipping
of the kids is now 27 years old. She's finally decided she's
allowed to leave Arkansas, move to Los Angeles, and wear pants.
mom had always dressed us girls in skirts and dresses, writes
Jinger Duggar, a standard that was taken from Deuteronomy 22:5,
which says, A woman shall not wear a man's garment.
But I wanted to discover for myself what The
had to say.
had a true desire to understand what The
said and do exactly that! She studied Scripture,
listened to sermons, read commentaries, and talked to her
seminary-student husband Jeremy.
her surprise, she realized that not everyone interpreted
different passages of Scripture the way I always had. I never
found a passage specifically forbidding women from wearing pants!
struggled with going against the beliefs of the rest of
her conservative family. I didn't want to hurt them, now
that I didn't share those convictions. Finally, she
realized that she had to walk in truth and follow what I knew The
said. Finding certainty from The
my heart was free. She no longer had to worry about
thinking for herself.
channel-surfing I frequently run across TV evangelists who support
their teachings not by appealing to common sense but by quoting what The
says, whether or not it's reasonable. Perhaps another
passage of The
says something they dislike, so they don't talk about that. Strange.
example, Scripture specifically teaches us that from the
nations around you, you may buy slaves. Listen
to the proclamation of God's Law from the 25th chapter of Leviticus
the reluctantly delivered, possibly Satanically-revised
45 extends the slave trade to more than just purposely-imported
Africans. Aliens and their native-born children can become
property as well. You may also buy some of the temporary
residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country.
verse 47 allows for slaves to be kept in bondage forever.
You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property
and can make them slaves for life.
men seek Scriptural authorization for requiring their wives
to be their willing slaves. One went so far as to issue ten
commandments to his bride, whom he intended to degrade and
is very clear that your husband is your master and that God expects
you to always respect his absolute authority over you, and to serve
and obey him in every way. Obedience means complete
obedience. No exceptions. Sometimes you are going to feel
that what your husband demands of you is degrading or
humiliating. Your obligation is to submit to him, so always
have a smile on your face.
now our secular government has banned slavery!
Outright! Congress has written a so-called 13th
Amendment contradicting what is ordained in divine Scripture.
Christians must be asking themselves how it has happened. How
has America sinned and strayed so far from obeying the infallible and
unchanging Word of God?
CAC? CEO? CFO? COO?
who dislike prominent persons seize any opportunity to belittle
them, even over something inconsequential like a misspelled tweet.
Mary Papenfuss posted a Huffington Post item headlined Ivanka
Trump In A Fog In Deposition About Role Of Investigated Top Trump Executive.
is Allen Weisselberg? Ivanka Trump was asked in a deposition
in December with investigators from the District of Columbia Attorney
General's Office as part of its lawsuit alleging the misuse of
is the I would have to see what his, his I don't know
his exact title but he's an executive at the company, she
responded, according to a transcript released earlier this year.
Trump's former personal attorney, felon Michael Cohen, who's serving
time for various crimes committed while working for his old boss,
quipped on Twitter that Trump has trained his daughter
well to play daft. I don't know. I wasn't
there, Cohen mocked her answers. Allen who?
not surprising that she knows Weisselberg as an important guy in the
executive suite but isn't sure of his official title. Like her,
he could be an Executive Vice President, but he could also be called
Comptroller, or Treasurer, or Head of Accounting, or Assistant to the
President, or Chairman of the Audit Committee, or Chief Operating
Officer, or many other things.
it turns out, he's the Chief Financial Officer. But is Ivanka
supposed to have the organizational chart memorized?
no fan of Donald Trump or his daughter, but I've got to say this
particular nitpicking is unfair.
24, 2011 GUARDIANS
have many issues to worry about, from vaccinations to potty training
to nightmares to sibling rivalry to homework and much else besides.
what issue always concerns parents on television situation
comedies? Guardianship. In the highly unlikely
event that we both die in a plane crash, who gets the
children? It seems to me that this problem comes up in
one episode of every family sitcom.
real life, its usually no problem. Just appoint
the grandparents, or the closest uncle and aunt.
on TV, agonizing over this decision affords opportunities for adult
characters to offend each other. These characters, often
unrelated, get to disparage each others parenting
abilities. That leads to much better comedy than making
everyday decisions, such as whether Susie can stay up past nine oclock.
Paul Reisers new NBC series was canceled this spring after
only two weeks, the obligatory story line was already in the
works. A later episode, TV Guide reported,
finds Paul reevaluating his choice of his childrens legal
guardian should something happen to him and his wife. ...The
laughs, he says, come from the consequences of rescinding one offer
only to learn no one else wants your kids.
Sitcom writers are still at it.
ALL LAPS ARE DIVIDED INTO FOUR TURNS
support Indiana's growing automotive industry, Carl Fisher laid out
a testing ground at Indianapolis in 1909.
big should it be? Maybe nine blocks long and five blocks
wide. Four trips around this rectangle of streets would make 10 miles.
Fisher and his fellow investors didn't build their circuit in the
city. They had 328 acres of farmland west of town.
of sharp-cornered intersections, they could construct sweeping
banked curves. Cars would barely need to slow down before
heading off in a different direction. Therefore the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a rounded rectangle.
has a 90° Turn 1, then a 1/8-mile short chute
leading to Turn 2, a 5/8-mile backstretch leading to Turn 3,
and so on.
newer, smaller speedways were built, most of them were ovals with
only two curves, 180° at each end. They kept the
traditional Indy nomenclature even though it didn't make sense.
example, the Bristol Motor Speedway is an oval scarcely more than
half a mile around, but its first semicircle is called Turns 1 and 2
and the slightly larger one is Turns 3 and 4.
the Daytona International Speedway opened in 1959, it was neither a
rounded rectangle nor an oval but a rounded triangle, a
tri-oval with three curves.
NASCAR fans persist in referring to the first half-mile-long curve
as Turns 1 and 2. The cars are continuously
turning for about nine seconds. Then the other
half-mile-long curve is Turns 3 and 4. (This terminology
does allow folks to distinguish the entry portion of the curve, #3,
from the exit portion, #4.)
might think that the final curve, a kink at the start/finish line,
would be called Turn 5. It isn't. It's known
merely as The Tri-Oval.
then of course there are road courses with at least a dozen numbered
turns, which aficionados often identify not by number but by name.
example, before watching last month's Italian Formula 1 race, I
downloaded a diagram of the course. Then, when the announcers
casually referred to Tosa as though we viewers were as
familiar with the layout as they were, I could tell they meant Turn
7. And when they spoke of Rivazza, I knew they were
speaking of two 90° lefts, officially numbered 17 and 18.
NATHALIE'S PRONOUNS ARE IT AND IT
investments accounting fictions set up to avoid taxes
enable Luxembourg to host more foreign investment than the United
about 600,000 people in the world speak Luxembourgish. Perhaps
it's because in that language, as in some western dialects of German,
the usual pronoun for referring to women and girls is the neuter
pronoun. The Wikipedia example:
Dat ass dNathalie.
That is the Nathalie.
it a lot
17, 2011 GONE
have a number of reservations about Republican presidential
candidate Newt Gingrich, but one incident in particular has always
turn the clock back to 1998. Gingrich had represented the
Sixth Congressional District of Georgia for 20 years. For the
last four years, he had also been the leader of the majority party in
the House of Representatives the Speaker of the House.
November 3, the people of the Sixth District re-elected him for an
11th term as their Congressman. In that same election, however,
the Republicans suffered a net loss of five seats in the House.
Many in his party blamed Gingrichs leadership, including his
failed attempt to remove President Bill Clinton from office.
Therefore, three days after the election, Gingrich did the right
thing and announced his resignation from his leadership position as
the Speaker of the House.
he also announced that he was resigning from Congress
altogether. The people of his District had just re-elected him
to another two-year term, but he thumbed his nose at them and
declined to take his seat.
in similar situations, like Bob Dole in 1976 and John Kerry in 2004
and John McCain in 2008, didnt react to losing a national
election by walking away from their responsibilities to their local
constituents. They continued to serve in the United States Senate.
call on November 8, 1998, Gingrich gave his reasons for
abandoning Washington. We have to get the bitterness
out, he said. It is clear that as long as I'm
around, that won't happen. ...My only fear would be that if I
tried to stay, it would just overshadow whoever my successor is.
Congressman Joe L. Barton (R-Texas) fretted, We could end up
losing that seat.
me, that district will elect a Republican, Gingrich
replied. I think Marianne and I will probably take six
months off and go collect dinosaurs or something.
They didn't. Four months after leaving office, Gingrich
telephoned Marianne, his second wife, to tell her he wanted a
divorce. Eight months after it became final, he married his
frequent breakfast companion Callista.]
voters had elected Gingrich to serve them for two more years as
their Representative. Later, Alaska voters would elect Sarah
Palin to serve them for four years as their Governor. But when
these politicians were denied a higher office, they became
dissatisfied with the office they had. They decided to turn
their back on the voters and quit the game entirely. If
they couldnt call the plays, they were going to take the ball
and go home.
years ago I was part of the 50-year reunion of my Oberlin College
class, held concurrently with the graduation ceremony for the Class
of 2019. But then the pandemic came along, and reunion classes
after me have been unable (so far) to get together on-campus.
of my Twitter followees wrote last month, Something I cannot
relate to is college students being disappointed that there's no
in-person graduation ceremony. I didn't even go to mine because
I knew it would be boring and no one was making me. They still
send you your diploma. I mean, I just spent four years avoiding
long, boring lectures; why would I go to one now?
however, Oberlin's Class of 2021 is actually holding a Commencement
separate ceremonies are being held in the football stadium, each
with approximately 300 fully-vaccinated or negative-testing
graduates. The first half of the alphabet will assemble at 9:00
this morning; those with names from Li to Zz, at 2:00 this afternoon.
student can have two guests, all wearing masks and seated six feet
apart. The ceremonies are being live-streamed
on the Internet.
are some frames from the live webcast of the 2½-hour morning ceremony.
previous years, the president did not give a diploma and a handshake
to each graduate crossing the stage. For social distancing,
they merely posed for a photo. However, at least one graduate
did receive a presidential elbow bump.
week all alumni will be able to participate in a virtual reunion.
last week, I joined a Zoom session from Oberlin and another from my
other alma mater, Syracuse.
the first session, an alumna from my era discussed conserving the
artwork at the United States Capitol. (On the right: the
President's Room, which has too much art for my taste. When the
visual field is cluttered, says psychotherapist Dana Dorfman,
the brain must sift through everything and weed out
the interfering stimuli. When clutter is removed, studies
show a significant decrease in the stress hormone cortisol.)
the second session, alumni told how professionals can become
professors, starting new careers.
report on these webinars in an article called Zooming
MOST SEASONS HAVE ENDED
National Hockey League regular season, reduced by a third to only 56
games this year due to the pandemic, was supposed to conclude last
weekend. Due to postponements, however, 14 contests still
remain to be played, the last scheduled for a week from tonight
(Vancouver at Calgary).
the East Division, Boston and Washington completed their schedules
last night, so I can now show you that division's Ice
Cube Road for 2021.
of the eight teams spent the final eight weeks tangled in a fight
for the top spot. Pittsburgh and Washington each finished with
77 points, but the tiebreaker based on Regulation and Overtime Wins
went to the Penguins, 34 to 33.
four qualify for the playoffs, which will begin Saturday with #2
Washington hosting #3 Boston.
the other matchup, #1 Pittsburgh will host the #4 New York Islanders
on a starting date to be determined.
remaining four teams failed to qualify. At the end of the
season, the New York Rangers lost five games in a row; one more would
have dropped them into a tie with Philadelphia. Earlier, the
New Jersey Devils had a nine-game
losing streak. So did Buffalo, which managed only one point in
the month beginning February 27 (0-15-1).
washing my hair last week, I couldn't do a thing with it. And
donning my glasses would occasionally push my scraggly eyebrows down
into my field of vision.
then I realized that I'm now fully vaccinated! Therefore, I
dared to visit the neighborhood barber shop for the first time in a year.
removed my mask, Mr. Bianco snipped off at least three inches of
growth, and things are much better now.
haircut in a year, eh? I remember my first encounter with a
barber. It was in downtown Cambridge, Ohio, so I must have been
about three years old. I recall that the floor of the shop was
a checkerboard of black and white tiles, and my father and I sat
along the wall at first. Then he led me up to another chair, a
huge rotating one with a lever and big steel arms and a booster plank
across them. I had to sit atop this scary contraption while my
father returned to his seat and a stranger came up from behind me and
covered me with a black sheet so I couldn't run away. Holding
sharp scissors, he squirted me with water! Then he held my head
still and pressed a loudly-buzzing object to my temple! I
cried. Wouldn't you?
stranger spoke soothingly, the traumatic experience didn't last that
long, and I survived.
WE WANT TO MAKE OUR OWN RULES
1967, nine Baltimore teenagers (including these four) prepared to
set out for the wilds of Ohio, where they would enroll in Oberlin
College despite its old-fashioned social regulations.
the left in the sport coat, Chris Rouse (1949-2019). I would
later hang out with him at the campus radio station, and he went on
to become an orchestral composer.
the right in the pigtails, Heather Partridge. When she was
considering 50 colleges to attend, Oberlin ranked 50th. Then,
as she narrowed the list down, Oberlin somehow became 25th of the top
25, 10th of the top ten, and 5th of the top five.
the way home from visiting the other four schools on my list,
Heather recalls, my mom and I stopped in to visit, and I had
lunch at South Hall. Before lunch, a student sat down at the
baby grand piano and started playing Handel's Messiah.
Several other students gathered around and began singing all the
parts. I thought that was wonderful. A few months later,
a friend of my parents asked where I was applying for college.
My parents said, Probably Carleton, but she hasn't decided
yet. I shook my head and replied, No, I've already
applied for early decision to Oberlin. They were surprised.
after arriving at Oberlin, Heather explained to the Dean of Women
that if she stayed up late studying, her return to her women's
dormitory could result in getting caught breaking curfew.
Therefore the rules might force her to spend the night in a men's dorm!
rules were relaxed, she stayed out of trouble, and she went on to
marry classmate Marty Oppenheimer on graduation day 1971. Much
later, they would become consultants, helping software and services
companies improve their engineering and project-management processes.
added Heather's Dean of Women story to the end of this month's 100
Moons article, which features our radio station's on-the-spot
coverage of a protest over housing arrangements on this night in
1967. Give it a listen!
7, 2011 MOTHER'S
me with my parents in Cambridge, Ohio, 55 years ago. My mother
is wearing a fox fur; she always hinted to my father that she wanted
a mink coat, but this was as close as she got.
occasion was Mothers Day in Cambridge, Ohio. My
grandmother Emma Buckingham had been widowed ten months earlier, and
on this weekend her three children had come to visit her.
the second photo, Im standing between my uncles Ralph and
Jim. The lady with the flower on her hat is my aunt Virginia
(Jims wife), and the older lady next to her is of course my grandmother.
4, 2021 "I
the story of a moment from television history which I didn't
see. Neither did my parents. I describe it, more than 61
years later, because the incident was mentioned during Sunday's first
episode of the CNN documentary series The Story of Late Night.
date was Wednesday, February 10, 1960. Comedian Jack Paar, an
Ohio native like my mother and me, was in his third year of hosting The
Tonight Show. It was telecast on NBC five nights a week,
though Best of Paar reruns had recently begun airing on Fridays.
program consisted of 105 minutes of talk. Tonight might
have been given a previously unused 120-minute block, as Today
had been. However, most local affiliates followed prime
time with their own 15-minute newscasts before signing off for
the night, so the network waited until 11:15 pm Eastern time to
resume its programming. Some affiliates didn't rejoin until 11:30.
The Tonight Show was broadcast live. However, with the
advent of video tape the network began the practice (which continues
today) of recording each program several hours in advance so the
staff, and particularly the guests, don't have to hang around the
studio past midnight. Also, the network can edit out any
inadvertent obscenities before airing the tape.
the February 10 taping, Paar spent about four minutes telling a
humorous tale about misunderstanding the abbreviation W.C., which to
British folks means water closet. A water closet
is, of course, a small room containing a flush toilet. Told to
much self-conscious laughter from the audience, the joke went like this:
English lady, while visiting Switzerland, was looking for a room for
a more extended stay, and she asked the schoolmaster if he could
recommend any to her. He took her to see several rooms, and
when everything was settled, the lady returned to her home to make
the final preparations to move.
she arrived home, the thought suddenly occurred to her that she had
not seen a "W.C." around the place. So she
immediately wrote a note to the schoolmaster asking him if there were
a "W.C." near the room.
schoolmaster was a very poor student of English, so he asked the
parish priest if he could help in the matter. Together they
tried to discover the meaning of the letters "W.C.," and
the only solution they could come up with for the letters was for a Wayside
Chapel. The schoolmaster then wrote the following note to
the English lady:
take great pleasure in informing you that the W.C. is situated nine
miles from the room that you will occupy in the center of a beautiful
grove of pine trees surrounded by lovely grounds. It is capable
of holding about 229 people and it is only open on Sunday and Thursday.
there are a great number of people who are expected during the
summer months, I would suggest that you come early; although, as a
rule, there is plenty of standing room. You will no doubt be
glad to hear that a good number of people bring their lunch and make
a day of it, while others who can afford to go by car arrive just in time.
would especially recommend that your ladyship go on Thursday when
there is a musical accompaniment. It may interest you to know
that my daughter was married in the W.C. and it was there that she
met her husband. I can remember the rush there was for
seats. There were ten people to a seat ordinarily occupied by
one. It was wonderful to see the expression on their faces.
newest attraction is a bell donated by a wealthy resident of the
district. It rings every time a person enters.
bazaar is to be held to provide plush seats for all the people,
since they feel it is a long-felt need. My wife is rather
delicate, so she can't attend regularly. I shall be delighted
to reserve the best seat for you, if you wish, where you will be seen
by everyone. For the children, there is a special time and
place so they will not disturb the elders.
to have been of service to you, I remain,
story didn't contain any dirty words, but it did lead the audience
to picture (in their minds) a very public toilet. In those
days, toilet talk violated network standards & practices.
NBC removed it from the show and substituted a few minutes of news
coverage. Paar was not happy. (He was also becoming tired
of the grind of presenting seven hours of network television every
week, although NBC had begun giving him more time off.)
it was Thursday, February 11, 1960, the fourth and final taping of
the week. After the lesser-viewed first 15 minutes of that
evening's program, Paar began complaining about a clown
censoring him the night before. I believe I was let down
by this network at a time when I could have used their
help. Then he announced, I am leaving The
Tonight Show. There must be a better way of making a living than
this. And he got up from his desk and walked out of the
studio! (He would not return until a month later, admitting,
Leaving the show was a childish and perhaps emotional thing.
...I'm totally unable to hide what I feel.)
was not yet 13 years old and typically went to bed around 10:00,
listening to the radio beside my bed. From the radio I learned
that Jack Paar had unexpectedly walked off his set, and NBC was going
to air the episode as scheduled at 11:15 that night.
parents usually watched the 11:00 news for the weather forecast
before switching off the TV and going to bed themselves. They
knew about The Tonight Show but rarely stayed up for it.
breakfast the next morning, the story of the late-night surprise was
big news on the radio. When I boasted of my advance knowledge
of what NBC was going to air, my mother scolded that I should have
said something! We all could have stayed up late to see it.
might have been:
21" Sylvania with HaloLight for viewing comfort,
to show the fake mahogany veneer,
from the end of our couch,
the resignation moment superimposed.
1, 2021 TWEET!
the past few years, as I see interesting quotes on the Internet I've
been copying them into a Word document. I've even located
illustrations for some of them. For example:
Collier Baseball is now better defined as two guys
playing catch while eight others stand around, one of whom is holding
a large stick for purposes that are not often apparent.
Jennings I like Take Me Out to the Ball
Game a lot, because if they don't win it's a shame!
is the maximum healthy amount to care about any sport.
Renshaw I clearly don't have the right temperament
to be a pro athlete, because whenever I hear someone say it's
win or go home, go home always sounds more appealing.
the king's men:
need some kind of adhesive.
All the king's horses:
Why is everyone looking at us?
Hood [hands over stolen fortune]:
you are, my poor friend.
Wow, thanks. I'm rich!
Robin [narrows eyes]:
Levy Don't talk about a woman's beauty as if it is an accomplishment.
Reich Republicans say Biden shouldn't increase
corporate taxes, even though corporate taxes now account for just 7%
of federal revenue. In the 1950s, they accounted for 35%.
Fruhlinger One of the times I feel proudest of how America
has organized its whole society is when I see TV ads for a kind of
insurance you pay for to help when the other insurance you pay
for doesn't pay for something. There's a duck in it, for
collection is now 46 pages long, over 16,000 words. I've
condensed it down to 4,600 words on more serious topics, called The
Take it for what it's worth.