Hot Air: Bad Actor

Our current president tried to channel Harry S Truman when he said, yesterday, “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Referring, of course, to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, AKA North K., in response to its own mentally unbalanced capo‘s tough-guy talk. Delightful, isn’t it? Two loonish louts threatening each other with nukes.

Wait — let me correct that. They are not threatening each other. They’re threatening the citizens of their rival regimes. They, in case one or the other gets tumescent and presses the launch button, will be safely ensconced in hardened, fully-stocked safe places while the rest of us fry like Sunday morning bacon.

Anyway, here’s the original quote President Gag was trying to evoke memories of (jump ahead to 1:38):

Give President Gag credit (or more likely, give it to someone near and dear to him) for even knowing about this moment in rhetorical history. But he’s way out of his league. I’ll paraphrase a line from the 1988 vice presidential debate: “You’re no Harry Truman.”


The Bleeding Heartland Roller Derby (formerly, the B.H. Rollergirls) belong to one of an estimated 2000 roller derby leagues on this mad, mad planet. Or is it some 1200 leagues? Who knows — sources differ.

In any case, Sunday will mark the start of Roller Derby Week in my beloved hometown, Chi., where the sport was invented.

Yep. A promoter named Leo Seltzer had the original idea, only he saw derby as a kind of marathon back in 1935, when the Great Depression was ravaging this holy land and its citizenry searched for something — anything — to take their mind off it. The first roller derby event was held at the old Chicago Coliseum at 15th Street and Wabash Avenue on the South Side. The arena had been the site of a number of national political conventions and was built from the stones, bricks, and timbers of an old confederate prison in Virginia. The place was torn down in 1982.

The Coliseum

Seltzer had the good sense to invite New York City newspaper columnist (and creator of the Guys and Dolls series of short stories) Damon Runyon to the opening event. Runyon advised Seltzer to drop the marathon idea and turn the thing into a team game, and so he did.

The sport drew an estimated  5 million spectators nationally in 1940. Derby came to television in 1948 and immediately became — you’ll pardon the pun — an even bigger hit. Leo’s kid, Jerry, by this time had taken over operations and introduced scripted action, a la pro wrestling. One outdoor match in the old Comiskey Park, it is said, drew a paid crowd of 50,000.

Derby Packed Comiskey 

The sport began to be viewed as passé in the late ’70s but experienced a rebirth in the early part of this century. There even was a big movie, Whip It, with then-hot star Ellen Page as well as Marcia Gay Harden, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Wiig, and Jimmy Fallon.

Page In “Whip It”

The Bleeding Heartland Roller Derby’s 2017 season ended with the Flatliners going 1-4 and the Code Blue Assassins losing their sole match. The gangs’ll be back on the track, though, early next year.


One thought on “Hot Air: Bad Actor

  1. Carolyn VandeWiele says:

    And don’t forget there was a Charlie’s Angels episode where Jill (Farrah Fawcett) laced up her skates…..

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