Hasty Ruminations

Speaking out, to remove all doubt. http://hastyruminations.blogspot.com

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Brits: Outta Control


Once again, the damn Brits go too far.

They plan to show a fictional documentary on TV of President Bush being assassinated in October 2007, in an anti-war protest in Chicago.

I may not agree with everything the President is doing. I may actually agree with very little. But that's MY President you foreigners are targeting! And it's the security of MY homeland! Damn, the arrogance! You couldn't imagine using a fictional President, I suppose.

We fought a revolution and the War of 1812 to get you jerks outta here, and World Wars I and II to save your sorry asses! Even though my Irish forbears would have preferred you learn German instead.

Cancel this show, Limeys, if you know what's good for you!

I just sent a copy of this post to Channel 4 in England by email: viewerenquiries@channel4.co.uk Why not drop them a line yourself?

CNN's Kyra Phillips Forgets to Turn Off Microphone



So, I went to the CNN web page to see if they, like, apologized. Nothing. So I searched the CNN site for "Kyra Phillips", with this result:


Article matches for "kyra phillips" on CNN.com


Kyra Phillips - Cheap Prices Bargain Prices for Kyra Phillips. Computers and Electronics Reviews.www.nextag.com

Kyra - Shop eBay Shop from a vast selection, from antique dolls to the latest Barbie styles, new or used, it's all on eBay.www.ebay.com

Kyra Find Deals on kyra and other Apparel at DealTime. Choose from millions of deals. Save time and money every time you shop.www.dealtime.com


Yep, CNN is trying to sell her. Cheap. Bargain prices.

She could have seen THAT coming...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

My Great Grandparents


My great grandparents, John and Kate, lived one-half mile south of the Union Stockyards in Chicago, after they were married in 1888. Kate came to America from Ireland first, in 1883; and John followed in 1888. He was a butcher.
I wrote about them here.

This was their first home, at 5238 South May Street, from about 1895 to about 1910. They probably lived with her parents from 1888 to 1895; that is a prevalent tradition in my family, I have found!

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They probably had the top floor, since the family was young; or even the basement. It is not likely that they could afford the main (or first) floor. The street was more crowded in the years from 1888 to 1920, with many Irish immigrants and landlords anxious to keep their tenements occupied. By 2006, the neighborhood looks like an old boxer missing half his teeth: there are many open lots where houses have burned and fallen down.

As the years passed, John continued in a good job at the stockyard and, through Kate's efforts, the family saved what money they could. By the census of 1920, they had moved one block west and two blocks south - an airier location a little distance more removed from the stench of the stockyard, on a wider street: Racine Avenue. Here is how the street appears today:

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(I was advised not to drive into this dangerous neighborhood, so this trip was made on a Sunday morning, at 10:30 am. At high speed.)

The picture below shows houses on the same block as John and Kate's, which is still standing at 5427 South Racine Avenue. These houses were built at the same time as theirs, between 1900 and 1910, I think. The lighter colored blocks in the brick face are not decorative; they cover the bolts on the iron tie rods which run from front wall to back under tension to prevent the walls from buckling under the load on the floors. Hence, cheaper beams could be used to hold up the floors.

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In the picture below, their house at 5427 is next to the large building, behind the blue sign. They bought this house while they lived there.

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Across the street is Sherman Park, built in 1905 by the city to give some breathing space to the crowded immigrant neighborhoods. It also provided public baths, a huge man-made moat and a good fire break between crowded neighborhoods - a lesson learned from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The moat provided a ready source of firefighting water, too. Here is the northeastern corner of the Park today:

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And, here is the Sherman Park field house and baths:

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The city erected four foot bridges to span the moat. One can cross these to get to the baseball fields and the tennis courts (and now the basketball courts) on the island:

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My last record of John and Kate is the 1920 census. By that time, their son James (my grandfather) was 19. He was born in the house at 5238 May, appearing at that address on the 1900 census. It's fun to imagine his christening party, and the various birthday parties for this large family in these houses. The houses have small back yards abutting an alley, where trash was collected and horse-drawn wagons delivered milk and packages. The older kids had to fend for themselves on the streets from 1888 until the wonderful park appeared in 1905. I found an old Catholic church four blocks to the west, but I can only guess where they went to school.

Imagine moving in to the May Street house as new immigrants, just starting a family, with all of the bustling industry 1/2 mile north at the stockyards; and then, all this commotion starts four miles to the east. By 1891, over 40,000 skilled laborers and workers are building the Chicago World's Fair and Columbian Exposition! I will write about that soon.

John and Kate surely took their six children on more than one outing to watch the construction. The older kids may even have had jobs there.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Polygamist Captured

A polygamist was finally captured by the FBI. He's been on the Ten Most Wanted List since May.

Yes, you read that right. I did a double take, too.

I thought the List was for public enemies, violent folks, and terrorists.

Even though John Ashcroft is gone, it's something he would do: folks who fib, look squirrely or write in library books SHOULD make the Ten Most Wanted List, too!

This lack of priorities helps to explain our porous borders, the failure to find bin Laden, and local DA's paying $9,500 to bring Karr back from Thailand for no good reason.

As if polygamy isn't a self-correcting crime. More than one wife (or husband, for that matter)?

You gotta be kidding!



Guess where New Horizons, which NASA launched last January, is going?

Yep. Pluto.

Read about it.

Makes sense, I guess. They're still flying the space shuttle, too, for some reason.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Big Surprise (Yawn)


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So, the DNA doesn't match, and Karr won't be charged in the Jon Bonet Ramsey case.

The media feeding frenzy got out of control. And, he fed it.

Who is surprised?

The government should make him pay for the flight from Bangkok, and the jail in LA, the flight to Colorado, and all expenses, including the extra guards.

Every jurisdiction should check its pedophile logs before anyone thinks of releasing this guy.

The only person who is happy is Perky Katie Couric. All of this happened before she took over the CBS Evening News and became just another media harpy on the Karr bandwagon.

Man, we saw this coming...

Mayor Nagin


First, the debacle of useless emergency response by City of New Orleans during Katrina and Rita. Then, the "chocolate city" comments. Now, the New York "hole in the ground" comment.

New Orleans deserves better than this.

Chicago Columbian Exhibition, 1892


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This picture of the Fine Arts building from the Columbian Exhibition (Chicago World's Fair) of 1892 was taken in the late 1920's, just before its renovation. All of the other Beaux Arts buildings had been completely removed as their temporary plaster-and-hemp facings had deteriorated. The Fine Arts building was considered the finest building of the collection. So, the facings of the Fine Arts building were removed, leaving the steel structure and interior brick walls intact. Indiana limestone was used as the new exterior over the steel skeleton, to make the structure permanent. Today, it is the Museum of Science and Industry, and its current appearance is shown below.

Chicago Update


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Here is a picture of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry recently. It is located at 57th street (south) and Lake Michigan. I recently visited it, to see the Da Vinci exhibit (more on that later). It is also only 4 miles from the two houses where my great grandparents on my father's side raised the family, at 52nd and May Street and 55th and Racine Avenue. I never knew of those addresses, even though my parents and I lived with my grandparents at 72nd and Wentworth until I was four years old.

Although I had been advised by wiser heads not to enter that neighborhood, I did anyway. Last Sunday, I drove Big Ride through at 10:00 am, first to 5238 May and then, two blocks away, to 5427 Racine. This is the Sherman Park area, south of the old stockyards.

I will tell those stories shortly, too, but let's jump ahead one week to Sunday, 8/27/2006 - yesterday.

For the first time since I arrived back in Chicago in June, I bought a Sunday Tribune newspaper. I really liked the Tribune, even when I delivered it in Chicago's cold winters of 1956 through 1959. The headline story concerned the terrible rape and attempted murder of a young white woman not long ago at 51st and Wentworth, a neighborhood the article called "the worst crime area in Chicago."

I crossed Wentworth at 55th on my way to the family houses.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pluto Demoted


So, all of these hot-shot astronomers who taught us that tiny Pluto and its two moons was a planet have changed their mind.

They kicked Pluto out of the club, reducing our planet count from 9 to 8.

Big deal; like I was planning a trip or something.

Best part of it: with fewer planets, we now need fewer astronomers. Hey, one out of every 9 of you guys has to turn in your telescope. AND your magic decoder ring.

We know how to deal with feisty astronomers: like the Inquisition and Pope Urban dealt with Galileo.

Recant, you heretics!


Well, this is starting to heat up. Globally. Check this out.

Heat up, globally.


Global Warming...

Why, this is a case for...


Man-bear-pig will just have to wait.



A Jewish grandma and her grandson are at the beach. He is playing in the water and she is standing on the shore not wanting to get her feet wet, when suddenly, a huge wave appears from nowhere and crashes directly onto the spot where the boy is wading.

The water recedes and the boy is no longer there. Swept away.

She raises her hands to the sky as she screams , "Lord, how could you? Haven't I been a wonderful grandmother? Haven't I been a wonderful mother? Haven't I kept a kosher home? Haven't I given to B'nai B'rith? Haven't I given to Hadassah? Haven't I lit candles every Friday night? Haven't I tried my very best to live a life that you would be proud of?"

A voice booms from the sky, "Okay, okay!"

A few seconds later, another huge wave appears out of nowhere and crashes onto the beach. As the water recedes, the boy is standing there once again, smiling and splashing around as if nothing had ever happened.

The voice booms again. "I have returned your grandson. Are you satisfied?"

She responds, "He had a hat."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Diffrn't Culchas

So, da Staten Island team at the
Little League World Series is losing to Lamont IL in Podunk PA.

One of da kids gets p***ed off and yells a purple obscenity. It gets picked up by the radio broadcast.

Da coach smacks da kid. Wid an open hand, I might add.

Da Little League mucky-mucks get all over da coach and da kid.

Dis is what we teach dese kids in Staten Island schools. And da coach, too. Like dese Little League guys never seen a game in Staten f***in' Island before?

Da kid and da coach are still good friends, and dey are saying, "Wtf?" Or, probably, "Wdf?!"

Another Milestone


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Thank you, gentle readers! That's a lot of readers.

Golf Story


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A man was at the country club for his weekly round of golf. He began his round with an eagle on the first hole and a birdy on the second. On the third hole, he had just scored his first ever hole in one when his cell phone rang.

It was a doctor notifying him that his wife had just been in a terrible accident and was in critical condition and in the ICU.

The man told the doctor to inform his wife where he was and that he'd be there as soon as possible. As he hung up he realized that he was leaving what was shaping up to be his best ever round of golf. He decided to get in a couple of more holes before heading to the hospital. He ended up finishing all eighteen. He finished his round shooting a personal best 61, shattering the club record by five strokes and beating his previous best game by more than 10.

He was jubilant; then he remembered his wife. Feeling guilty he dashed to the hospital. He saw the doctor in the corridor and asked about about his wife's condition.

The doctor glared at him and shouted, "You went ahead and finished your round of golf, didn't you? I hope you're proud of yourself! While you were out for the past four hours enjoying yourself at the country club your wife has been languishing in the ICU! Its just as well you went ahead and finished that round because it was more than likely your last! For the rest of her life she will require 'round the clock care. And you'll be her care giver!"

The man was feeling so guilty he broke down and sobbed.

The doctor started to snicker and said, "Just kidding! She died more than two hours ago. What'd you shoot?

Friday, August 18, 2006


Teaching the youngsters respect.

Ferrari Comedy


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Man - Bear - Pig


This is kind of a sequel to "Inconvenient Truth", I think.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Green? Not So Much.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Another Airport Clampdown


Open note to Mike Chertoff:

I commanded a Navy ship after Vietnam. I taught my crew this about security:

If the first thing you do everytime someone gets spooked is tighten up security, then day-to-day security is inadequate.

Criminally inadequate.

A few years ago, the airlines blew security, and turned it over to the feds. The feds did what they always do: they quickly set up a big budget, hired untrained people, and began a detailed, convoluted pattern of blowing it big time.

On top of all that, we have let someone convince us that "racial profiling" to find a suspect is a bad thing.

Here's the list of terrorists arrested in this latest fiasco:

ALI, Abdula, Ahmed
ALI, Cossor
ALI, Shazad, Khuram
KAYANI, Waseem
KHAN, Assan, Abdullah
KHAN, Waheed, Arafat
KHATIB, Osman, Adam
PATEL, Abdul, Muneem

RAUF, Tayib
SADDIQUE, Muhammed, Usman
SAVANT, Ibrahim

TARIQ, Amin, Asmin
UDDIN, Shamin, Mohammed
ZAMAN, Waheed

Anybody else see a pattern?


a. Get one set of security rules which work from the experts, and don't tighten them.

b. NEVER admit to racial profiling.

c. Find a new name for racial profiling, like, say, suspect filtering.

d. ALWAYS apply suspect filtering secretly, and ALWAYS put them under a very intense, uncomfortable microscope which forces them to miss their flights.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Hillary's "Statue"


I take it all back.

I have been much too hard on Bill Clinton.

If he needed to fool around with Monica, who am I to criticize?

You gotta walk a mile in HIS moccasins.

They just unveiled the new Hillary bust. Remember, he's STILL married to her.

The man is a saint...

AIrplane Terrorist Threat?


Now wait a minute.

Perfume, mouth wash, deoderant, cosmetics.

The Brits claim to have exposed a huge terrorist plot, and we go to Condition Red and throw out all of this stuff before we get on a plane.

Funny. That's the same stuff the Brits don't use enough of.

Ever visit England? Or France, for that matter? In August??

"Olfactorily challenged" doesn't begin to describe it.

They probably read some of my comments about Cromwell and decided to reopen the War of 1812.

Don't get me started...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Army Shoots Down Idea Of A Military Theme Park

The Army got a proposal from a Florida company to build a military theme park next to its planned Army Museum near Fort Belvoir, VA. The idea was for guests to experience what it's like to command the M-1 Abrams tank, and free fall with a parachute.

To get that experience, the Army will continue to require a person to raise his or her right hand, and then go to Iraq, Afghanistan, or The Bronx, NY to get battlefield experience.

The Navy will probably build a theme park in Mississippi, where guests can get flooded, blown away and become homeless all at once, just like sailors do both at sea and in waterfront gin mills around the world. You'll just have to wait for the next Katrina.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Kim Jong-Il Missing


North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has kept a low profile since his country's test-firing of missiles.

No one has seen him in public since he visited a tire factory on July 4, a day before the missile launches.

And when was the last time we saw Condolezza Rice?

Inquiring minds want to know.


High-ranking generals accompanied the Dear Leader on August 15, 2006 for an inspection of animals in his first appearance since July's missile tests.

Kim visited a farm run by an army unit and was accompanied by top generals. The generals are now cleaning their shoes. And his.

News Roundup


Shuttle Crew Practice Countdown

It's not easy to count backwards.

Wife Locked Out Of McCartney Home

Earlier, Heather Mills McCartney had taken three bottles of cleaning fluid. Enough is enough.

Teen Accidentally Kills Mom During Driving Lesson

She was pinned under the car driven by her daughter.

Police believed the girl may have hit the gas pedal instead of the brake.

Police said the teen won't face criminal charges. The Mom would have, since the licensed driver is s'posed to be IN the car, not under it.

This was in Joisey, so the kid will get her license anyway. In Joisey, they test you for use of the horn, not the brake.

Panda Baby Boom In China

Five births. Five. Most American dogs have bigger litters.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006



One day a farmer called on a mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer to fence off the largest possible area with the least amount of fence.

The mathematician arranged the fence in a circle and proclaimed he had the most efficient design.

The physicist made a long straight line and proclaimed, "We can assume the length is infinite...." and pointed out that fencing off half the earth was certainly more efficient.

The engineer just laughed at them. He built a tiny fence around himself and said, "I declare myself on the outside!"

Washington Post

To show you how out-of-control the Israeli-Hezbollah mess is...

I find myself agreeing with the Washington Post!

"The Israeli bombs that slammed into the Lebanese village of Qana yesterday did more than kill three dozen children and a score of adults. They struck at the core of U.S. foreign policy in the region and illustrated in heart-breaking images the enormous risks for Washington in the current Middle East crisis.

"With each new scene of carnage in southern Lebanon, outrage in the Arab world and Europe has intensified against Israel and its prime sponsor, raising the prospect of a backlash resulting in a new Middle East quagmire for the United States, according to regional specialists, diplomats and former U.S. officials.

"Although the United States has urged Israel to use restraint, it has also strongly defended the military assaults as a reasonable response to Hezbollah rocket attacks, a position increasingly at odds with allies that see a deadly overreaction. Analysts think that if the war drags on, as appears likely, it could leave the United States more isolated than at any time since the Iraq invasion three years ago and hindered in its foreign policy goals such as shutting down Iran's nuclear program and spreading democracy around the world."

Lake County Fair

The Lake County Fair in Grayslake, IL, was held from July 25 to July 30, 2006. It was wonderful, and except for a few heat induced lightning storms turning the motocross track into a moat, the weather was great. (It was hot, though: temperatures in the 100's with the heat index around 110.)

Some of the 4-H kids and Future Farmers of America (FFA) had to sit with their animals during public viewing, and it was hot, boring work. A goat just doesn't have the personality of a dog!

One tent had a petting zoo, with baby bison (and a visiting goat).

In bigger state fairs I have seen (Minnesota, New York, Missouri, etc.), there are more attractions, famous music performers and bigger rides. But this one was small enough so that one could see many things closer than is possible at the big fairs. I saw my first live rodeo (four events - calf roping, steer wrestling, bucking broncos and bull riding) in an hour and a half. Unlike TV, each event was limited to 15 minutes, with rodeo clowns in between. This dude used his lariat on cattle, while another cowboy did many rope tricks and bullwhip stunts.

There were several barns with animals on display - cattle, pigs and hogs, poultry, goats and smaller critters. Most were 4H sponsored. Do you know what the 4H's are?*

I followed a champion 3-year-old steer from the show tent to cleaning and auction.

The steer, still a calf, was 4'6" tall at the shoulders and weighed 1,800 pounds. The cattle here had their names displayed, though they didn't name beef cattle I saw at the Missouri fair. One youngster explained, "That makes it too hard to say goodbye." The owner, a girl of 17, curried and cleaned every square inch of the steer with a spray containing lanolin and a long toothed curry comb. And a hair dryer!

I went to the auction, and I got a seat in the second row. I was careful NOT to raise my hands at all during the bidding, even to scratch my nose! This steer had already been named Grand Champion of the fair by the judges the day before. A professional auction firm ran the event, and it was a lot less confusing in person than it seems in the movies. They sold the cattle by the pound, on the hoof, and this one fetched $7.50 per pound. The buyer can keep the steer, donate it to the Illinois Food Bank (and pony up the "processing" fee, too), or give it as a gift. Since it is already a steer, it cannot be used for breeding.

The owner hauled it around during the bidding, and after making eye contact with the winning bidder, she mouthed a sincere thank you to the young family. The $13,500 will go a way toward her college education, her dad told us. I suspect that he is in the dairy business, and I suspect that she is raising several steers a year or two apart in age. The runner up sold for $4.75 per pound, so it pays to have the champion.

There was a lot more to see, and to eat. A fine day, and a chance to be proud of America and particularly of American kids.

*4H stands for Head, Hands, Heart, and Health.