Body Language is Often More Important Than the Words Coming Out of Our Mouths


And ladies and gentlemen, who better to illustrate it than one of the people I’ve learned to not trust at all, Bill Gates!



This “Charisma on Command” channel is pretty interesting and talks a lot about charisma, body language, persuasion, etc. 

In the video the host has to give a big disclaimer towards the end about how we shouldn’t “otherize” people who are socially awkward because it’s not fair to people are are just socially awkward and not evil sociopaths.

And that’s true. Tons of well-meaning, normal people can be socially awkward, especially when nervous like on TV or in other public settings they’re not used to. 

But evil sociopaths can be socially awkward too, and there’s something weird about both Gates and Zuckerberg that goes far beyond social awkwardness, based on their beliefs, inventions, and public statements. In fact a lot of Technology and Silicon Valley types are weird people. And they advocate for weird, anti-social, anti-family, anti-freedom ideas.

It’s more than okay to otherize them, because their inventions otherize and isolate us, and actively divide us, and monetize all of that, every day.


On This Day in 1941

Ted Williams finishes the season hitting .406 

Nobody else has done it since, so it has now been 81 years since anyone has accomplished the feat. That’s an average human lifespan, more or less. 

Pearl Harbor was still in the future, FDR was president, Benny Goodman and swing music in general ruled the hit record charts, and Joe Louis was heavyweight boxing champion.

In all of sports there are very, very few single season records that survive that long. It tells you a lot.



Only 3 hitters have approached the .400 mark since, most notably Tony Gwynn with .394 in 1994, George Brett with .390 in 1980, Rod Carew with .388 in 1977.

These days nobody is remotely a threat to hit .400 because launch angle and exit velocity have taken over the game and nearly ruined it.

Ted Williams somehow managed to hit for both power and average despite using a slight upper cut in his swing — not because it caused the ball to “launch” off the bat at some desired angle to maximize home runs (and strikeouts), but because that better matched the slightly downward path of the pitch, maximizing your chance of hitting the ball hard and on a line. He wrote a famous book about his philosophy of hitting, “The Science of Hitting”.

He was clearly one of the best hitters of all time — if not for serving in two major wars and missing 5 years of his baseball prime, he definitely would have threatened Babe Ruth’s all time HR record of 714.

So it’s been 81 years since Williams did it, and prior to that there were 5 players who hit .400 a total of 10 times from 1900-1925 — Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby both did it three times, George Sisler twice, and Napoleon Lajoie and Shoeless Joe Jackson once. Here’s the full list of all-time season batting average records.

The first in the modern era was Lajoie in 1901 and the last was Hornsby in 1925. In between, Cobb (1911, 1912, 1922), Shoeless Joe (1911), Sisler (1920, 1922), and Hornsby (1922, 1924). Two .400 hitters in 1911 and three in 1922! 

I point all this out to highlight the clumping of these data points — eleven times total, five in the two years 1911 and 1922, nine in the years 1911-25. That’s the whole history of .400 hitting in a nutshell.

Of this group of .400 hitters, Hornsby, Cobb, and Williams all had, as one might expect, long runs of extreme dominance.

Hornsby’s run from 1920-1925 was one of the most amazing batting displays in history — he hit .400 three times and led the NL, all six years, in all of these categories: BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, plus five times in TB and four times in Hits, 2B, and RBI. His stat line over those years is incredible: BA .397 and 1.133 OPS with season averages of 118 Runs, 115 RBI, 216 Hits, and 363 TB. Over a twelve year run from 1920-1931 he averaged .378 with 185 hits and 105 RBI and led the NL in:

  • OPS ten times
  • OBP nine times
  • SLG eight times
  • BA seven times
  • TB six times
  • Runs five times
  • Hits, 2B and RBI four times
  • BB three times

Williams had a similar six-year run from 1941-1949 (excluding the war years 43-45) where he hit .359 with a .505 OBP and 1.161 OPS and averaged 35 HR, 130 RBI, 150 BB, and 339 TB, and led the AL, all six years, in all of these categories: BB, OBP,  SLG, OPS, plus four times in BA, HR, Runs and TB and three times in RBI. He is the all-time career leader in OBP at .482 — almost a .500 OBP for an entire career! Over a 13 year run 1939-1958 (excluding war years and injury-shortened years) he led the AL in: 

  • OBP twelve times
  • OPS ten times
  • SLG nine times
  • BB eight times
  • BA, Runs and TB six times

Cobb’s dominant run was thirteen years from 1907-1919 where he averaged .377 and 197 hits per season, and led the AL in : 

  • BA twelve times 
  • OPS nine times 
  • Hits and SLG eight times
  • OBP seven times 
  • SB and TB six times 

All three players were absolute machines on offense, obviously.

On This Day . . .

 

In 1896 gold is discovered in the Yukon Territory by George Carmack at Bonanza Creek (renamed for obvious reasons from Rabbit Creek) south of Dawson City in the western part of the Yukon, leading to the last gold rush in the Old West:

Hoping to cash in on reported gold strikes in Alaska, [George] Carmack had traveled there from California in 1881. After running into a dead end, he headed north into the isolated Yukon Territory, just across the Canadian border. In 1896, another prospector, Robert Henderson, told Carmack of finding gold in a tributary of the Klondike River. Carmack headed to the region with two Native American companions, known as Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie. On August 16, while camping near Rabbit Creek, Carmack reportedly spotted a nugget of gold jutting out from the creek bank. His two companions later agreed that Skookum Jim–Carmack’s brother-in-law—actually made the discovery.

“Klondike Fever” reached its height in the United States in mid-July 1897 when two steamships arrived from the Yukon in San Francisco and Seattle, bringing a total of more than two tons of gold. Thousands of eager young men bought elaborate “Yukon outfits” (kits assembled by clever marketers containing food, clothing, tools and other necessary equipment) and set out on their way north. Few of these would find what they were looking for, as most of the land in the region had already been claimed. One of the unsuccessful gold-seekers was 21-year-old Jack London, whose short stories based on his Klondike experience became his first book, The Son of the Wolf (1900).


Two American icons passed away on this day . . . 

In 1948 Babe Ruth passes away just 53 years of age. Raised in an orphanage, he became the first “larger than life” sports hero and packed a lot of living into those 53 years. Even his name has a mystique attached to it, and he is known to millions as simply “The Babe”.



In a stunning coincidence this was also the day in 1977 that Elvis died. He was 42.


Blackbeard’s Reign of Terror in 1717-1718


In November 1717 after several months of terror up and down the coast of the American colonies and in the Caribbean he captured a large French ship near St Vincent carrying 500 slaves bound for sugar plantations. 

After outfitting it with 40 guns, he renamed it Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Now with one of the most powerful warships in the world under his command plus 3 more ships in his fleet, and a total of 250 men, he set out again.



His naming the ship Queen Anne’s Revenge is explained by his service in Queen Anne’s War in the early 1700’s (the video refers to the war of Spanish Succession from 1701-1714 which was also known as Queen Anne’s War in the American theatre). 

This war — between three major European powers plus multiple Native American tribes lasting well over a decade — started over the question of who should succeed King Charles II of Spain in 1701.

Blackbeard — an Englishman, given name Edward Teach — died in November 1718 during a raid ordered by Virginia Lt Gov Alexander Spotswood into North Carolina where Blackbeard had lived in semi-protected status.

On A Break

 

Finding the energy to post just twice this month and seven times last month means that I’m essentially taking the summer off, as it turns out. Wasn’t planned, it just happened.

When I return it will be in a somewhat different format and schedule (working through some ideas now).

See ya soon!





Undiscovered Gems: Gordon Lightfoot

 

It took me a few decades to wake up to the genius of Gordon Lightfoot — don’t let that happen to you.

Over the last two years I have discovered several album cuts that are absolute gems and a much clearer view into who he is as an artist when compared to his U.S. hit singles like “Sundown” and “Carefree Highway” — which I liked but not enough to care about digging deeper into his albums.

The passage of time and the wisdom of life experience has revealed to me that his music was far more mature than I was capable of appreciating as a young adult.

The lyrics, the band, the subtlety and power of the music, the impeccable taste of the arrangements, it’s all in there — but you have to be ready as a listener to absorb it.


The Circle is Small



Hangdog Hotel Room



Race Among the Ruins



I especially like the chorus:

When you wake up to the promise
Of your dream world comin' true
With one less friend to call on
Was it someone that I knew
Away you will go sailin'
In a race among the ruins
If you plan to face tomorrow
Do it soon


High and Dry



Best Exercises for Longevity

 

Confirming everything I have ever said about exercise: 



Direct quote from Dr. Peter Attia:

“Exercise is the single most important longevity drug we have, bar none.”

Ponder that and note the following which he emphasizes, and which I have been saying for a long time.

Cardio and strength (not muscle mass) are by far the two best predictors of longevity. It isn’t close.

Cardio is the biggest impact on longevity, with a 5x reduction in all-cause mortality — dying from any reason — but strength is important too, with a 3x reduction, so it’s best to do both with cardio as your base. The ideal is biking (stationary is okay) 4x per week for 45 minutes (which is exactly what my ideal goal has always been, coincidentally). He does not discuss walking but my own take is that walking is far better than doing nothing, but biking, swimming, or running are ideal.

For strength the biggest predictors of longevity are grip, dead arm hang, and quads strength (body squats with a basic test of how quickly you can get up from a chair five times in a row). His testing only splits people into “high” vs. “low” strength so that’s where the 3x reduction in mortality applies, no further breakdown is available. Still, what more do you need to know? Work on your grip, your dead arm hang, and body squats, first and foremost. These are lifestyle exercises, too. Everything becomes easier with strong hands, forearms, legs, and core.

And as he notes, and I have always said, by far the biggest “bang for your buck” is in the change from doing nothing to doing something, not in going from doing something to doing a lot. Avoid sloth — it’s a sin, and not good for your health either. Just aim for moderately active, consistently. If 4 x 45 minutes per week is too difficult at first, or due to age or infirmity, try for 3 x 30 minutes per week.

The first step is always the hardest. Make yourself do that, the rest will be easier.

Molly Tuttle and Tommy Emmanuel

 

There’s not much to say … turn it up!



Steiner Destroys the Field


Abby Steiner in the NCAA Outdoor Championships 4x400 … watch from 1:45 to see her take the handoff for the 3rd leg at least 20-25m behind the leader — and then just destroy the field. 

It’s almost impossible to believe a runner could be so much faster then the entire field, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a lap like this at any level. 

 


The U.S. Championships are this weekend, June 24-26. 

Better Call Saul: A List of Reasons Why It’s Brilliant

 

This show for me is one of the best of all time, without question.

And it’s for many of the same reasons in the video below, that I noticed right away, on my own:  excellent visuals, dialogue, and characters, for starters. 

But I’ll let this video go into the details, he does a better job explaining than I would, and goes deeper too.

And he doesn’t even list “Bob Odenkirk” as one of the reasons.

Why ‘Better Call Saul’ is Brilliant


Tricking Your Brain into Falling Asleep


Jim  Donovan explains



Rhythm as a way to calm yourself to sleep works — I discovered something similar many years ago.

He gives instruction on how he does it, and anyone who fights with sleep should try it.

But the key learning here is anything that helps you get out of your head and fall into any kind of peaceful, focused, rhytmic state will probably work.

That's what it's all about, turning off your brain and feeling the natural rhythm of your physical body and especially your breathing. 

I will explain my method in a future post.

Just One Victory


Todd Rundgren and Utopia, “Just One Victory” (live)



Somehow, someday,
We need just one victory and we're on our way
Prayin' for it all day and fightin' for it all night
Give us just one victory, it will be all right

We may feel about to fall
But we go down fighting
You will hear the call
If you only listen
Underneath it all
We are here together
Shining still
To give us the will
Bright as the day
To show us the way


Slowly over the years this became one of my favorite Todd Rundgren songs, because it's got a great chorus and the lyrics are fun and inspiring and it makes me feel good inside.

“Just one victory” … just one victory … we can all relate to that feeling at various points in our lives, many times over.

The studio version, with lyrics.



They caught lightning in a bottle with the arrangement on this one. 

151 Years Ago Today, John Wesley Hardin Arrives in Abilene

 

John Wesley Hardin was one of the most violent Wild West outlaws in the violent and notorious 1870s and 1880s.

He claimed to have killed over 40 men by age 25, when he went to prison (in 1878) — that’s a lot of killin’ in just ten years, especially for the son of a preacher who was named after John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church  — but news accounts and law enforcement could only confirm about half of those.

Either way — a lot of killin’.

He arrived in Abilene on the first of June 1871 and somehow became friendly with lawman Wild Bill Hickock. One classic story from his short stay there:

During his stay in Abilene, Hardin rented a room at the American House Hotel. One night, a stranger in the next room began to snore loudly. Hardin became so annoyed that he began firing bullets through the wall to quiet him. The first bullet was high, and it merely woke the man. The second bullet silenced the unsuspecting stranger permanently.

Hardin realized that his friendship with Hickok would not save him. “I believed,” Hardin later said, “that if Wild Bill found me in a defenseless condition, he would take no explanation, but would kill me to add to his reputation.” Wearing only his undershirt, Hardin escaped through the hotel window and jumped down to the street. He spent the night hiding in a haystack, stole a horse at dawn, and returned to the cow camp. The next day he left for Texas, never to set foot in Abilene again.

About that he allegedly said this:

“They tell lots of lies about me,” he complained. “They say I killed six or seven men for snoring. Well, it ain’t true, I only killed one man for snoring.”

While serving a 25 year term in prison he studied law and wrote an autobiography. 

Taking Chance

 

Memorial Day reminds us of sacrifice and so today would be the perfect day to watch this  great movie, “Taking Chance”.

Here’s the trailer: Taking Chance trailer

A true story about a young man Chance Phelps who died much too young and the Marine who volunteers to escort the body back home to Wyoming for burial. 

It began as a wonderful and touching human interest story “Taking Chance Home” written by LtCol Michael Strobl USMC, posted at a military blog that I read regularly back in 2004 called blackfive.net.

I saw “Taking Chance” upon its release in 2009 and then again on Saturday and it has lost none of its emotional power.

There were many movies made about our adventures and mis-adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan but most were manipulative and exploited death to hammer home political points. That’s gross.

But if you like raw and emotionally powerful stories told well, about honoring sacrifice, with characters you quickly grow to like and respect, you’ll not do better than this one.

A scene that did not make it into the movie but is excellent nonetheless.



PFC Chance Phelps was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and promoted to Lance Corporal.

Here’s the real Lt Col Strobl discussing the making of the movie.



Free on HBO Max and you can rent it on Amazon. 

Everything I Need, and Some Things I Don’t

 

Zac Brown Band, “Homegrown”



I’ve got everything I need
And nothing that I don’t


The song stands on its own but the best thing for me is that lyric which is actually great life advice, if you’re looking for it.

It took me about 5 decades to realize it — or maybe to turn into one — but I am a minimalist (or “minimalist-adjacent”) who likes less stuff around me for better mental and emotional health.

But the process of living your life, especially raising a family, brings a constant flow of stuff in the front door, and after a couple decades the “it might be useful someday, put it in the basement” system stops working and you suddenly realize that “something new comes in, something old goes out” is far superior.

The only thing I would care about saving in a house fire — after family and pets of course — is photos. Everything else can be replaced. 

But we have SO many photos … and most of them just sit in boxes in a dark closet 24x7x365. 

So I ask myself, what good are they, like that? Who does that help? What value are they adding to our lives? Almost zero.

Photos are only useful when you look at them. This is obvious but it raises an important point: the time that these photos spend sitting in boxes is a series of missed opportunities.

Each of us only has so much time here on this planet — opportunities missed are opportunities lost.

 

Little did I know as a kid listening to Elton John in the early and mid-70s that I was getting a master class in melody writing, arrangement and piano. 

One great example is “Tiny Dancer” which grew an entirely new audience in the 2000s because it was used in a key scene in “Almost Famous”:  the band is near a breakup and in constant conflict and might not even finish the current tour, for the usual reasons: personality conflicts, power struggles, strains of life on the road, etc. Then this happens …



That’s very powerful storytelling, combining music with visuals to show everyone on the bus growing closer in the span of 3 minutes just from singing together … it makes me both smile and tear up every time I watch it.

Rick Beato gives a music expert’s opinion on What Makes This Song Great.



It was never a hit single because it was over 6 minutes long, and makes us wait two and a half minutes for the chorus — but there were lots of great songs that were too long for Top 40 radio. 

Official video from the Elton John channel:



Paying Tribute




The Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a solemn and important ritual and one of the few “must see” events in my life, and that’s been true for over 50 years since I saw it for the very first time as a kid age 10-11.

One of my favorite podcasts, The American Story, explains why it matters in this week’s excellent episode Known But to God

My advice: take 6 minutes out of your life to nourish your soul. You’ll be glad you did.


Amazing Ancient Civilzation of Petra, Jordan

 


Discovered via Archaeology & Art — Twitter is actually good for something if you use it right — with this amazing photo.



They carved it out of a mountain. 

2100 years ago — at least — by hand. 

The Nabataeans were nomadic Arabs who not only carved amazing buildings and art from solid rock, but created a luscious green oasis in a desert by mastering rainwater retention.

They specifically chose this location because it was a natural fortress with only small openings through the mountainous desert terrain, and because it was on an incense trade route. 

And so it became a prosperous city, carved out of the mountains.

They carved this out of a mountain too.



More





This Week in 1873, Patent for Blue Jeans Issued

 

149 years ago today a U. S. patent is granted to Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis for “Improvement in Fastening Pocket Openings”, i.e. for the use of rivets to strengthen the weak spots around the pockets.

Details from history.com — and if you end up confused about who actually invented blue jeans, you’re not alone, the underlined could have been worded more clearly:

In 1872, he wrote a letter to Strauss about his method of making work pants with metal rivets on the stress points—at the corners of the pockets and the base of the button fly—to make them stronger. As Davis didn’t have the money for the necessary paperwork, he suggested that Strauss provide the funds and that the two men get the patent together. Strauss agreed enthusiastically, and the patent for “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings”–the innovation that would produce blue jeans as we know them–was granted to both men on May 20, 1873.
It was Davis, not Strauss, who invented jeans with rivets. 

Two main factors drove their popularity — miners and railroad workers — and the amount of ancillary economic activity those two fields generated in the mid- to late-1800s is nearly impossible to imagine today. 

Is there another name — other than Jesus himself, and ignoring world leaders— that became as famous worldwide as Levi Strauss? Michael Jordan maybe? Muhammad Ali? It’s a pretty short list.

Wikipedia tells the story with much greater detail:

In his tailor shop, Davis made functional items such as tents, horse blankets and wagon covers for the railway workers on the Central Pacific Railroad. The fabric Davis worked with was heavy-duty cotton duck cloth and cotton denim which he bought from Levi Strauss & Co., a dry goods company in San Francisco. To strengthen the stress points of the sewn items he was making, Davis used copper rivets to reinforce the stitching.

In December 1870, Davis was asked by a customer to make a pair of strong working pants for her husband who was a woodcutter. To create suitably robust pants for working, he used duck cloth and reinforced the weak points in the seams and pockets with the copper rivets. Such was the success of these pants that word spread throughout the labourers along the railroad. Davis was making these working pants in duck cotton and, as early as 1871, in denim cotton. Before long, he found he could not keep up with demand.

Davis had previously applied for patents for other inventions. Realising the potential value in his reinforced jeans concept, in 1872, he approached Levi Strauss, who was still his supplier of fabric, and asked for his financial backing in the filing of a patent application. Strauss agreed, and on May 20, 1873, US Patent No. 139,121 for "Improvements in fastening pocket openings" was issued in the name of Jacob W. Davis and Levi Strauss and Company. That same year, Davis started sewing a double orange threaded stitched design onto the back pocket of the jeans to distinguish them from those made by his competitors. This trademark feature became Registered U.S. Trade Mark No. 1,139,254.

Apparently the only reason that Levi Strauss instead of Jacob Davis became a household name was that Strauss funded the patent application process, even though the invention itself, the rivets to strengthen the pants, was Davis’.


Aquifers, Wells, Spillways and Dams, How Do They Work


How Wells and Aquifers Actually Work 



Near failure of Oroville Dam in 2017 — I remember hearing about it and watching video of the spillway falling apart. 




Quoted: Thomas Sowell



The most basic question is not what is best
but who shall decide what is best.

Thomas Sowell 


This should be obvious — especially to an American — but as a people we continue to not get it. 

This was the whole point of starting a new nation with power vested in the people to control their government rather than the other way round. 


This Week in 1954: Supreme Court Overturns Its Own Disastrous Decision


May 17, 1954 was the day that Brown vs. Board of Education ended “federal tolerance of racial segregation".

Ironically, it was issued one day shy of the anniversary of the historically awful “Plessy vs. Ferguson” 1896 decision that it overturned..

All during the post-Civil War era there was exactly one institution with both the power and the duty to force change on Southern states: the federal government. 

All three branches had both the power and the duty: to pass laws, to enforce them, and to uphold them. 

But empirical evidence shows us that the federal government was either a) okay with entrenched Southern institutional racism, or b) too powerless and afraid to do anything about it.

Blame Southerners and their culture, of course. It was their system, they built it, and they own it. 

But the federal government was empowered to fix it, as a basic question of Constitutionally-guaranteed human rights, and for whatever reason did not, and must not escape accountability.

Don’t Ignore Potassium

 

The amount and balance of minerals in your body is very important for your health in many ways —and part of hydration too.

Potassium a Critical Mineral (aka “Electrolyte”)


This Week in History: Seven Years War Begins in 1756

 

Well, 1754 actually — but everything else about this war is confusing too.

We call it the French and Indian War here in the U.S. — but that name vastly under-represents the global nature of it, involving all European powers including Russia, fought on 4 continents, and ending with 1.3 million dead, mostly civilians.

This was actually the first World War, as this video makes very clear.

Seven Years War Summarized on a Map



Confusing and chaotic, as with everything else about European history, where endless entanglements, alliances, and power struggles between kingdoms produced the conditions for war. But that was just the way it was, across the entire world, since forever — until 1776 when a bunch of upstart punks decided there had to be a better way. 

This war also set the stage for the American Revolution by leading Britain into tremendous debt which caused them to tax the colonies (Sugar Act of 1764, Stamp Act of 1765, etc), leading directly to the “taxation without representation” battle cry. 

Another move by the British that upset the colonists was the Proclamation of 1763, prohibiting settlement of territory west of the Appalachians by anyone but the British government, supposedly in response to Native American raids on British forces by Chief Pontiac — although I’m not sure I see how putting the  colonists in a box does anything to stop war against Native Americans. Here’s what the above link says about it:

Acknowledging that “great frauds and abuses have been committed,” the proclamation furthermore prohibited settlers from buying tribal territory. Instead, only the crown could now make such purchases. “We shall avoid many future quarrels with the savages by this salutary measure,” said General Thomas Gage, who commanded all British forces in North America.

Stand back and admire the pure diplomacy just oozing from that quote.

In this list of 10 things about the Seven Years War you probably don’t know, we learn that the French Acadians migrated to Louisiana from Canada because the British forced them out during the Seven Years War, and that’s how Louisiana ended up as Cajun Country.

Comparing Two Fuel Additives on a Lawnmower

 

If you have ever spent any time in an auto parts store you have seen the bewildering array of additives, cleaners, and other potions for fuel, oil, transmission, power steering, coolant, hydraulic brakes, etc.

Maybe some of them even work — who knows? I sure don’t, and generally steer clear of magic solutions of every kind … it’s in my DNA, I can’t help it.

But for some reason one day last year I spent like 20 minutes looking at these products, figured “why not?”, and bought some Marvel Mystery Oil and added it to my fuel for a few weeks (on my 2007 Honda Accord V6). 

It’s supposed to clean your fuel system, heads, valves, etc, along with increasing MPG. It seemed to help with mileage, but I didn’t check it that carefully, so I could very easily be mistaken on that.

This guy tries it on his lawnmower, along with a well-known competing product, Seafoam. He even hooks up a compression tester — but this is a little over my head since I don’t know how to interpret the results. Too little is bad, but so is too much, I think.

Seafoam vs Marvel Mystery Oil



Compression testing a lawnmower with some interpretation of the results — the numbers are specific to the motor, which makes sense. These numbers are published by the manufacturer.



An overview of compression testing and what it diagnoses — but for a car, not a lawnmower.




Honoring My Mom

 

We had a beautiful service for my mom on Monday at Georgia National Cemetery. 

For now, these two musical tributes …

“I’ll Fly Away” from Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch



“Amazing Grace” from B. J. Thomas


Tunnel Under the River? Sure, Why Not?

 

The early leaders of Chicago took on their Civil Engineering challenges with gusto, raising the city 6-10’ to alllow installation of a sewer system in the 1860-70s and digging a vast network of tunnels under downtown streets to move goods between buildings and businesses more efficiently by avoiding gridlocked city traffic.

But wait, there’s more.

They also drilled tunnels under the Chicago River to relieve traffic issues when the drawbridges were up, which was often.



The tunnels proved ineffective and were eventually closed due to how steep and dark they were, but the fact that they tried it at all tells us a lot. 

Related posts:

This Week in 1966: Willie Mays Breaks NL HR record

 


Willie Mays breaks the National League Home Run record with number 512 breaking Mel Ott’s record of 511 — also with the Giants.

Which is of course over 200 fewer than Babe Ruth’s total of 714. 

Hank Aaron had 406 at the time and would go on to lead the league with 44 that year, and pass Mays in 1972 and ultimately break the most cherished and sought after record in professional sports — the Babe’s — on April 8, 1974.

Mays finished with 660 after retiring at the completion of the 1973 season (with the Mets).

But ultimately every career home run total discussion gets around to Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron, the only two guys to hit 700+ HR in the pre-steroid era.

When Babe Ruth retired at the end of the 1935 season, with 714, the guy in 2nd, Lou Gehrig, was 336 behind (from what I can tell by piecing it together at the wonderful baseball-reference.com site).

The list at that time:

714   Babe Ruth 

378   Lou Gehrig (still active - career total 493, retired during 1939 season)

302   Jimmy Foxx (still active - career total 536, retired 1947)

242   Mel Ott (still active - career total 511, retired 1947)

And Ruth is still the all-time leader in Slugging Pct and OPS, after 86 years, despite Bonds, Griffey Jr, ARod, and all those kinds of guys we hear about all the time for the last 20 years. 

In fact the top 3 in Slugging Pct have remained unchanged for 60 years: Ruth, Williams, Gehrig. 

Top 3 in OPS? Ruth, Williams, Gehrig.You could make a solid argument those are still the three greatest hitters of all time. 

Of course in 1935 many other great hitters — who would later end up very high on the all time HR list at retirement in the 50s, 60s, and 70s — had yet to play a single inning, like Mays, Mantle, Williams, Musial, Killebrew, F. Robinson, Matthews, and Banks.

Hank Aaron, by the way, is still the career RBI leader with 2297, with 301 more than Barry Bonds in the same number of seasons. He retired nearly 50 years ago. 

But the most impressive career RBI total based on per-season productivity has to be Lou Gehrig with 1995 in only 17 seasons — 16 is closer to reality since he only played 8 games in ‘39 with just 1 RBI — compared to Aaron’s 23, and with over 4000 fewer plate appearances (9,965 vs 13,941). 

That’s 124 RBI per year, every year, for 16 years in a row.

Harmony by the Fire

 

Last night it was a beautiful Spring evening so we used our fire table at our new digs for the first time. 




For our listening pleasure and for reasons unknown I called up “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” on Spotify. As albums go, this is one of my oldest “friends”.

I got this when it came out in 1973, and played it all the time for a couple of years. Classic album, classic cover.

Obvious hits all over it, but there are several unknown gems, like “Harmony”.


Music Memories from My Childhood Home



 

My mom loved music and dancing and so my young childhood years are filled with many warm memories of fun songs and happy music filling our space and time.

One of my favorite memories, in fact, now that I think back on it.

She’s gone now, two weeks today in fact, and I find that revisiting some of this music makes me both happy and sad at the same time, if that is possible to imagine. That’s just how that works, I guess. 


Trini Lopez Live at PJs from 1963 — “America”



Same album, “Bye Bye Blackbird”



Her initials were “PJ” so “Live at PJs” held special meaning. 

The whole album is full of fun, upbeat, danceable, singalongs like these, plus his relentless driving rhythm guitar and charisma and energy — it can be streamed here on YouTube.


Al Hirt, “Java”



Al Hirt, “Tansy”



I just listened to the whole thing front to back for the first time in at least 50 years. Still great. The whole album can be streamed here on YouTube.




This Week in 1469: Machiavelli Born

 

Niccolo Machiavelli became widely known for publishing “The Prince” in 1513 as a pamphlet — the book was not published until 1532, posthumously, 5 years after his death in 1527.

The Prince is about ruthless amoral power politics, using war, violence, and religion as tactics, and so his name became synonymous with such nastiness — but ironically it was not autobiographical, it was about a Papal States prince (and Cardinal in the Catholic Church) named Cesare Borgia. 

Niccolo Machiavelli himself was far less calculating, and was even marginalized and shunned by his connected political “in group” from 1512 until his death in 1527 … too ethical I suppose?

So who is Cesare Borgia, the guy so ruthless and amoral that he inspired a book that defines it?

Well, he was just one of several illegitimate children of a Catholic Church Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia — who was elected Pope Alexander VI in 1492

Takeaway #1 — Cardinals decided that a guy with not just one but several illegitimate children would make a fine Pope. 

Good ol’ Rodrigo had clout as a member of the prominent House of Borgia (in modern day Spain) and became a Cardinal shortly after his uncle was elected Pope Callixtus III in 1455.

And since nepotism runs in families, naturally when Rodrigo was elected Pope, he installed his 17 year old son Cesare as Cardinal. 

Takeaway #2 — The same guy who inspired “The Prince” was an entitled, power-hungry, rich beneficiary of nepotism and a Cardinal in the Catholic Church at age 17.

You can see where this is going. I’ll stop here. Read on if you like using links above, there’s plenty more of this kind of unpleasantness. 

Takeaway #3 — Funny how the entire backstory to “The Prince” is Catholic Church corruption, nepotism, illegitimate children among leadership, etc — but this is not more widely known and flies completely under the radar when people invoke Machiavelli to talk about amoral leadership. 


Remembering Rush Album “Moving Pictures”

 

Since Rush released “Moving Pictures” in 1981 it has sold 7 million copies worldwide and 5 million in the US alone.



Several songs from it got major airplay, such as “Tom Sawyer”, “Limelight”, and “Vital Signs”, plus an amazing instrumental “YYZ” — the Toronto airport code — which uses a time signature (5/4) that matches those same letters in Morse code.

Here’s “YYZ”.



Pretty cool song, with definite jazz-rock influences — sounds a lot like major jazz fusion bands of the 70s, such as Jean-Luc Ponty or Return to Forever. Apparently Al DiMeola was a major influence on guitarist Alex Lifeson, and you can hear that.

The album grew out of song ideas they created during sound checks while on tour for their previous album “Permanent Wave”. After that tour ended in 1980 they developed these ideas into actual songs at Ronnie Hawkins’ farm in Stony Lake, Ontario and went back into the studio to record it later that year.

As musicians they are all amazing and pretty much set the bar for the power trio rock band. I especially liked their string of albums from 1980-82, “Permanent Wave”, “Moving Pictures”, and “Signals”. 

Here are three of my favorite Rush tunes, first “Subdivisions” https://youtu.be/EYYdQB0mkEU 

“Spirit of Radio” live at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2013) https://youtu.be/7o9pWOGn9Yg

“Closer to the Heart” https://youtu.be/kyhW2v0NDM0 notable mainly as a showcase for the musical chops of Lifeson and drummer Neil Peart.

Even though I was never a big fan — the vocals push me away, sorry Geddy Lee — this was a mega-talented band with a distinctive sound and something to say, and they left a major legacy.

In 2021 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of “Moving Pictures” they reissued it as a special boxed set.


Amazing 19th Century Engineering

 

Chicago was home to an incredible number of amazing engineering feats in the mid- to late-1800s.

The city was settled on low-lying flat ground at the shores of Lake Michigan — a swamp, essentially — so as a result muddy streets and unsanitary conditions quickly became a huge problem, and a cholera outbreak in 1845 killed 6% of the population. 

Clearly the city could not grow further without major improvements. 

They needed a sewer system to handle draining away both sewage and surface water — but in a swamp, gravity is your enemy, not your friend. 

The sewer system had to be above the current streets. So they raised the streets, the buildings, all of it. Over about 20 years, starting in 1858.



They raised an entire downtown city block, several feet, all at once, in four days, while people were conducting business inside the buildings. In the 1860s.

Earlier post about the large underground tunnel network, largely forgotten until 1992 when the river above started draining into it and flooded many downtown buildings.

RIP Naomi Judd

 

A “victim of mental illness” as stated in the official statement from her daughters Wynona and Ashley. 

We can only guess what that means — but in any case, she’s gone now.

She was 76.

The Judds were scheduled to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame yesterday.

Songs like these are the reason why.


Mama He’s Crazy



Why Not Me



Give a Little Love



Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

 

It’s Spring and that means time to fire up the lawnmower. Unless you’re like me and sold it as part of a moving sale … 

In any case knowledge of all things mechanical is always interesting and potentially useful, and this video includes tips on the proper way to tip over your lawnmower. If you’ve ever tipped it over to the spark plug side — to drain fuel for winter storage, sharpen the blade, clean the bottom, etc — you quickly learn that was the wrong side to tip it over to when oil fouls the plug.

How to Tip Over Your Lawnmower


Re-watching “Mad Men”

 

Ever since I watched “Mad Men” during its original run I have wanted to watch it again, from the beginning, to fill in more of the details I had missed due to starting in season 2, or 3 (or maybe it was late in season 1).

But it wasn’t important enough to pay for the privilege. Then recently I discovered a way to watch it for free (see end of post for details). 

This show is so unique and I like almost everything about it:  the early 60s vibe and visual details, the straight ahead no-nonsense dialogue, the classic men’s look of suits and ties and white starched shirts, the focus on adults doing adult things in an adult world, the peek into the old school Madison Avenue advertising world, the period piece feel with glimpses of New York City and therefore America at its cultural peak during the transition from the Eisenhower 50s to the JFK early 60s, before the decline that started with the JFK assassination in 1963 and continued with Vietnam, social unrest, riots, more assassinations, Watergate, impeachment/resignation, rampant inflation, etc.

I suppose whether that was a cultural peak or not is up for debate. Feels that way to me.

One of the many solid actors on the show is Robert Morse, who played Bert Cooper, one of the owners of the advertising firm, and who passed away on April 21 at age 90.

He was a bit of a character, an oddball really, especially for a managing partner. But this served as a useful counterweight to the relentless intensity of the Don Draper character. 

Morse originally made his name by starring in the 1961 Broadway hit play How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (and winning a Tony Award for it), and in 1967 played the same role in the film version.

This Mad Men scene is hardly typical of the show, or Bert’s character, or Don’s. But it’s memorable and remarkable because it is so different. 



To watch it for free, create an account with IMDBtv and watch on the IMDBtv app or via Amazon Prime Video (which includes IMDBtv).

Mid-AB Adjustments


Now that he’s on the Yankees Anthony Rizzo would normally be included on the list of players I do not care for — it’s just in my DNA, there’s nothing I can do about it.

But he’s a tremendous teammate and leader, and on his off days from the day job he personally visits sick and dying children through his foundation, with no fanfare or advance publicity. That’s a strong clue to his character.

Plus he lives forever immortalized in Cubs history for catching the final out of the 2016 World Series, and has saved countless errors for his teammates with some of the best glove work at first base that you will ever see.



And then on top of all that he is an extremely smart professional hitter.



Seems to me there are many major league hitters too stubborn and wedded to their particular approach, preventing them from making such mid-AB adjustments, even though that limits your opportunities to grow individually and help your team in important situations. 

Rizzo is also known for choking up with two strikes, especially with runners on base or with two outs, a common sense move that nearly all hitters were coached to use for decades but rarely use today. This is not progress. It should be standard practice, because it’s a team-first approach.

He ended up 3 for 4 with 3 HR, a walk and 6 RBI in the game in the video above, a great week for any player at any level.

Okay fine he may be a Yankee but I still love the guy … please don’t let this get around.

Linda Ronstadt Became a Huge Star Almost Overnight in the 1970s (part 3)


After several years on the road playing stadiums she got restless and decided to try show tunes, and auditioned for a Broadway play in 1981, “Pirates of Penzance” with Kevin Kline. She got the role and was nominated for a Tony award, because of course she was.

Then in the mid-80s she got restless and pivoted again — pivot #4 by my count — and recorded some high quality pop/jazz standards with Nelson Riddle and his Orchestra.

Here’s a good example, “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” from her first such album. Not quite Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughn — very few singers are, of course — but still really good. 



“Am I Blue”, the type of song Frank Sinatra made famous, and she’s fantastic on it.



Listening to these two tunes makes it obvious that she had the voice to have made a whole career in that vein, which is saying something, because such songs rely heavily on pure vocal chops. 

Very few singers have ever made this transition successfully, after starting in a pop/rock style and being hugely successful there and filling stadiums, rather than starting with gospel/jazz/show tunes — I cannot think of a single one. Can you?

But she was not done pivoting yet — she released country/bluegrass/Americana albums as a trio with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, and traditional Mexican music which was part of her family heritage, and duets with Aaron Neville and Cajun musician and singer Ann Savoy. 

She says that everything she sang professionally was something she heard often, and sang with her family, before she was 10 years old.

This tells us that she was authentic to the core, because her entire career was a tribute to her love of singing instilled by her entire family as a young child. Could there be a better better way to create warm lasting memories from childhood than to sing traditional cultural music in harmony with your parents and siblings, and extended family? I cannot imagine one.

Sadly she was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy after discovering that her voice was deteriorating, sometime in the 2000s. She’s still with us, and can talk, but stopped performing in 2009. She turns 76 this year on July 15.

A very good 2019 documentary “The Sound of My Voice” about her career — and the substantial career risks she took by going solo, then to arena rock, then to Broadway, then to torch songs, then to the trio with Dolly and Emmylou, then to traditional Mexican music — is very much worth watching, and she is immensely likeable in it.

Over these last few weeks as I have learned so much about her, my respect for her has grown quite a lot, as not just an unbelievably great singer but as an artist who refuses to be confined to one style of music and is driven to stretch and take chances, over and over and over again — and yet is somehow nearly perfect at all of it. I really cannot think of anyone else quite like her, male or female. 

Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

Pretty Clever

 

Van Gogh Down by the River



Via the Twitter

I blogged about the famous original here.

Chicago Tunnels Forgotten History

 


Thirty years ago Chicagoans learned all about this forgotten tunnel system on April 13, 1992 when the Chicago River would start draining into it after a crew installing wooden pilings in the riverbed accidentally punched a hole through the ceiling of the tunnel system.



Laughter is the Best Medicine

 

Drew Carey absolutely slays in his first Tonight Show appearance (Nov ‘91).



Enjoy your weekend and don’t forget to hug your loved ones.

Steely Dan on VH1 Storytellers

 

 

First rate musicianship across the board … guitars, drums, and bass especially.

Plus Walter Becker’s overall vibe, with the jacket and tie and the way he moves while he plays guitar, and those background singers sound great and look even better.

The Q&A with the audience is pretty funny, especially when the entire audience laughs at the question about where the band’s name came from, since they were already in on the joke. This band has always had a unique bond with their audience and it shows here, it comes across like a group of old friends who all get all the jokes and obscure references. 

The first two tunes are among my favorite Dan records, Peg (4:05) and Kid Charlemagne (9:50)

It’s 45 minutes well spent.

Life Changes Coming Up

 

We’re moving out of state next week and as a result our life has been a little chaotic recently. 

Boxes everywhere, always more stuff to throw out, calling utilities and insurance companies and movers, organizing changes to every service imaginable.

In some ways that extra layer of chaos, change, and uncertainty is a good thing to distract us from the vague sense of dread that we are all starting to feel, increasing little by little as the days pass. It’s not paralyzing, but it’s there.

Right now, at 7:44am on Wednesday April 20, we’re at exactly T - 7 days on the countdown. 

We all know that the move itself is the best thing we can do for our own future and important things like being close to family and a lower cost of living and a more secure future. We’ve talked about it a lot, my wife and two (remaining) adult children and me, and we are 100% on board with the goal and long-term benefits of moving away from our longtime home base. 

But the things you know in your head sometimes fight with your emotions, which have a stubborn undeniable power over your world.

To add to all that, our two young adult sons will stay behind — one has already moved out but lives nearby and the other will live with him for the Summer — meaning that my wife and I become empty nesters at the same time we move 3 and 1/2 hours away. Still, this is good for them, and they know that, and need that and want that.

We’ve lived here for 22 years, raised our three kids here, made friends here, put down roots here. We’re “dug in” as the Kevin Kline character explained to his friends in The Big Chill. 

But now we’re choosing to dig in somewhere else, where the future lies, for multiple reasons. 

The next few months will be a challenge for all of us in multiple ways, and there will be some tough days and unexpected emotions that bubble up out of the blue, but out of such challenges we learn and grow and sometimes find unexpected delights too.

If you’re not on the path towards the future you see, what are you doing?

Joe Pesci Was a Musician Before He Hit the Big Screen

 

Actor Joe Pesci always wanted to be a singer, played guitar in several bands, and helped put The Four Seasons together? 

I did not know that!



As the video notes, when The Four Seasons received a Tony Award for “Jersey Boys” they invited Joe up on stage in recognition of his import role in their history — he was the guy that introduced Bob Gaudio to Frankie Valli.



Joe Pesci played guitar for several bands in the 60s — here he is on guitar in “Little People Blues” with Vincent & Pesci from 1972. Pretty good stuff.



“Vincent” is Frank Vincent who was also a skilled musician (drums, keyboards, trumpet) and found steady work as a studio musician for several years in the 60s before teaming up with Joe in their own group, first as a “lounge” musical act, then as a comedy act, then both comedy and music, until 1976. 

Both Frank and Joe appeared in a relatviely unknown movie in 1976 named “The Death Connection”. Robert DeNiro saw it and told Martin Scorcese about them, Scorcese cast Pesci in “Raging Bull” in 1980, and that was the big break he needed.

Frank Vincent also played in several movies with Pesci. In “Goodfellas”, Pesci whacked Vincent. In “Casino”, Vincent whacked Pesci. Vincent later played a major part in The Sopranos.You’ve probably seen him before — here’s the two of them together, from “Goodfellas”.






The Most Important Map in “American” History is from 1755

 


The man who created it is John Mitchell who was a physician and a botanist before being asked to consolidate various smaller regional and state maps, ship journals, etc into one comprehensive larger map.

It was apparently, according to this video, a factor in starting the French and Indian War due to its depiction of French forts in British territory. 

It even helped to start the Toledo War over the Ohio-Michigan border in 1835 by showing the southern end of Lake Michigan too far north — and those folks still hate each other.

Technically it’s a map that belongs in British history because it was commissioned by the Earl of Halifax and America was still just a set of British, French, and Spanish colonies.

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About President Lincoln’s Assassination

 


 

Just about everyone knows that John Wilkes Booth shot the president at Ford’s Theatre during a play and then broke his leg jumping down onto the stage and escaped but was later cornered and killed.

But here’s ten things I’ll bet you didn’t know … (I also didn’t know a few of these until now):

  1. President Lincoln and his wife had seen Booth in a play at Ford’s Theatre in 1863
  2. Booth was leader of a sizable conspiracy (7 men) to kidnap President Lincoln 3 weeks prior to the assassination that failed when Lincoln changed plans 
  3. This kidnapping plot had been planned since mid-1864 and while it sounds crazy it was intended to offer Lincoln’s return in exchange for Confederate prisoners, after General Grant had stopped doing prisoner exchanges that year as a way to pressure the Confederate side since they were more manpower-constrained
  4. After the Confederates surrendered on April 9, 1865, Booth changed the plot to assassinate Lincoln and Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward on the same night to throw the entire Union government into chaos
  5. The attack on Vice President Johnson never materialized when the man who was supposed to kill him chickened out
  6. The attack on Secretary Seward did occur but also failed since he was only wounded 
  7. Booth encountered no resistance since the president’s bodyguard had abandoned his post… in other words the president of the United States, widely hated by the side that just surrendered after a bloody and divisive 4 year war, was out in public completely unprotected
  8. Booth broke his leg because he landed his entire body weight on his left foot after the boot spurs on his right leg got caught in the flag attached to the presidents box above the stage
  9. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was invited to attend but backed out because Grant’s wife had “recently been the victim of Mary Todd Lincoln’s acid tongue and wanted no part of a night on the town with the first lady”
  10. The other 3 people in the president’s box were killed or committed to insane asylums over the next 20 years — Mary Todd Lincoln and Major Rathbone both committed, and Clara Harris killed by Rathbone, her husband
Links

Celebrating Al Green Who Turns 76 Today


Probably the only pastor in history with a great YouTube channel full of classic Soul and R&B that also includes a playlist named “Babymakers” — it’s a pretty good bet that there are people walking around today who were conceived while Al Green was playing in the background. 

The many videos available on YouTube clearly show how seeing Al Green live in the 70s was very close to a religious experience. 

Exhinit (A) is “Sha La La (Make Me Happy)” live on Soul Train … and holy smokes this is a hot performance (the audio and the mix isn’t great but you can just see and feel the temperature in the room).

Watch Al starting at 1:40 and listen to him hit that high note and sustain it at around 1:50.



Mesmerizing. This guy could teach a master class on working a crowd into a fever pitch from the stage.

His band is the legendary Hi Rhythm Section plus the Memphis horns of Stax records — and clearly they could lay down a groove. 

But as great as those guys were, Al Green’s success was clearly due to his incredible singing voice and pure charisma and dynamic personality on stage playing to a crowd. He’s got a ton of videos from shows like “Soul Train” and “The Midnight Special” and they’re all pretty much like this: hot.

Here’s the studio version which is more dynamic and cleaner musically.  



The whole album is great, and starts with this tune followed by “Take Me to the River”, one of his most iconic and well known songs.

Happy Birthday Al!

What is Juneteenth?


The U.S. government declared “Juneteenth” a new federal holiday in 2021 to commemorate June 19, 1865 when Union forces ordered Confederate dead-enders on the remote western frontier in Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, i.e. the abolition of slavery in former slave states.

For symbolic meaning I would suggest that a far more important date in history would be April 9, 1865 when Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virgina surrendered at Appomattox, because that day changed the course of history as the clear “before vs. after” date that history pivots on. The Civil War was over — although it took several weeks for other generals of other state armies in the field to stop fighting, but that’s the nature of wars in the 19th century, well before Twitter.

That day ended 4 years of an ugly brutal war that split apart families, villages, regions and states with a level of red-hot violence and hatred that led directly to the assassination of President Lincoln just five days later. It was pivotal in American history — and in world history too. 

But it wasn’t really over, despite 600,000 war dead and a fractured society, because it took another 100 years to address the more intractable issue: institutionalized racism in the halls of power, especially the federal and southern state governments.

The list of ways that the U.S. Supreme Court in particular, along with the various southern state governments, dug in their heels against treating blacks like human beings is long, varied and painful to review, and even worse, stretches well over a century.

Three examples to illustrate the point.

(1) 

Dred Scott vs Sandford in 1857 declared that all persons of African descent — not just slaves — are not entitled to any rights that citizens enjoy, by definition:

“… are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word 'citizens' in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States”

Well. Good to know. Here’s a good video explaining why the decision was so epically awful. 



(2)

The Reconstruction amendments (13th, 14th, and 15th) in the postwar years 1865-70, specifically the Citizenship Clause of the 14th, were intended to restate the founding principles of the country and overcome wrong-headed decisions like the above — but went unenforced and essentially ignored in southern states where they were needed the most. Who has Constitutional oversight to force states to comply with federal law? The Executive Branch of the federal government. But they did nothing, probably because there was in fact no real way to enforce federal law at that time.

(3)

Plessy vs Ferguson — settled in 1896, over 30 years after the end of the Civil War — could have put all that to rest but chose instead to enshrine the caste system of “separate but equal” as settled law. This single decision ratified the “Jim Crow laws” era and set the course for almost 70 more years of enforced segregation.

It was not until 1954 that segregation and “separate but equal” were finally recognized as illegal with “Brown vs. Board of Education” — but even that was not enough to pull the dead-enders forward into the 20th century, leading to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

So it took 100 more years after the war ended to accomplish what the Emancipation Proclamation set out to do.

Juneteenth as a holiday makes sense, perhaps, as a Texas day of remembrance — and was declared a state holiday for that purpose in 1980. 

But as a national holiday? 

The days we choose to memorialize as a culture become the stories we tell in the future, and it’s not really that I’m against telling the Juneteenth story as much as I’m wondering who’s going to tell the story about government denying rights to black people for another 100 years. That’s the story that needs telling.

For completeness here is the actual text of the order of June 19, 1865.

Head Quarters District of Texas
Galveston Texas June 19th 1865.
General Orders
No. 3.

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.

The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

By order of Major General Granger