Category Archives: Resist

Hot Air: A New Religion And An Old Scientist

Worshipping The Bean

This is to be mourned. Crate & Barrel is leaving Michigan Avenue after the 2017 holiday season. The building that houses its current flagship store will then become the new home of a Starbucks Roastery.

First, Crate & Barrel. The place was founded in Old Town, famed as Chicago’s hippie neighborhood, back in 1962. Husband and wife team Carole and Gordon Segal opened their kitchen goods shop in an old elevator factory there, hell, before there even were hippies. Old Town at the time was indeed on the cutting edge of culture even in those pre–peace-love-and-soul days but the people who lived in and haunted the neighborhood were referred to as “bohemians.” That was the moniker for hepcats and hipsters in the interregnum between the beatniks and the hippies.

Avant garde cooking aficionados flocked to the Segals’ place where goods like imported utensils, Chinese household knickknacks, and the store’s signature clear glass tumblers and white porcelain crockery were displayed in — you guessed it — crates and barrels. The Segals resorted to such modest merchandising because, well, they couldn’t afford traditional display cases and shelving.

For a few generations of young homemakers, no kitchen was complete without those ubiquitous 500 and 750 milliliter French tumblers — the kind we at Chez Big Mike et L’amie still have and use, daily. Same with the heavy alabaster dishwear that looked like it came straight from the corner diner. Hepcats, hipsters and hippies went way out of style but Crate and Barrel stuff endured.

There’s no indication C&B is going out of business — after all the company still runs some 175 stores in the United States. The Segals sold their controlling interest in the by-then booming outfit in 1998 to a mail-order company based in Germany. Gordon Segal retained ownership of the spectacular glass-and-steel building at Michigan and Erie streets where he’d based his new flagship earlier in the decade. Around that time the boss of Starbucks, a guy named Howard Schultz, who’d worked his way up the ranks from store manager, struck up a friendship with Segal. Schultz visited Segal’s gleaming showcase in the late ’90s and noted in his private journal that one day he’d love to open a great big shrine to coffee in the place should Crate & Barrel ever vacate.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Which brings us, now, to Starbucks. Speaking of ubiquitous, this is the place that inspired the Jerry Seinfeld line: “I hear they’re now opening up Starbucks in other Starbucks.” The coffee giant ventured outside the Seattle/Vancouver markets in 1987 when the company opened a store in Chicago’s Loop. That was a big gamble for the firm and, of course, it worked, spectacularly. Now there are more than 25,000 Starbucks in every continent on the planet.

Now Starbucks is in the process of opening a half dozen or so “all-new coffee experience” locations they’re calling Roasteries. Chicago’s Roastery will occupy the entire four-story, 43,000 square-foot Michigan Avenue site. It’s really going to be a temple to the drug. Starbucks flacks describe the Roastery concept thusly:

It is a place where you can experience coffee from the unroasted bean to your cup of coffee. You can watch it being roasted. You’ll see the burlap sacks it comes in. You can watch it being loaded into the green coffee loading pit. You can buy it scooped at the coffee scoop bar. You can experience your coffee as a pour over, Siphon brewed, Clover-brewed, a shot of espresso, espresso beverages, and more. The experience is all about the coffee.

Look, coffee’s one of my four favorite drugs. (The identity of other three I’ll keep to myself in order to avoid prosecution and to maintain whatever shred of masculine dignity I have left.) If I don’t get my two mugs of joe at the start of any given day, there’s hell to pay.

But, honestly — the coffee experience? A temple dedicated to the beverage? C’mon, people, it’s just a jolt of caffeine.

Food

Tune in this afternoon for Big Talk on WFHB‘s Daily Local News at 5. My guest this week will be Stephanie Solomon of Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard.

You know, in this day and age when a college education is viewed only as a ticket to riches — as opposed to a gateway to knowledge — meeting someone who has decided to devote her life to doing well and good for other human beings makes life… worthwhile. My old comedic friend, Aaron Freeman, once spoke of the Christian adage, Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me. And I knew a fellow, a successful Michigan Avenue lawyer, who was confronted by the principal of his Jesuit high school long after he’d graduated; the principal, a priest, challenged the high-powered attorney, saying, “What have you done for the kingdom of god and man lately?” With that, the attorney quit his job and went to work as the chief fundraiser for the school because he knew it was instrumental in keeping a lot of inner city kids out of jail and on the path to civility.

Now, I’m not saying one has to believe in Jesus or any of the other countless gods we humans like to pretend exist but there are truths even in comforting myth institutions like religions. The truth is, our species needs special individuals who eschew wealth in order to care for the less fortunate among us.

Solomon

Stephanie Solomon could have pursued fame and riches on the stage or she could even have elected to make a treasure in the financial arena. Instead, she chose to work for modest — I mean modest — rewards by helping the hungry eat.

Meeting folks like Stephanie is perhaps the top reason I do Big Talk. I hope you tune in. If you miss the show this afternoon, come here tomorrow after I post the podcast link.

Old Man Shakes Fist At Fossil Fuel

It’s interesting and compelling enough that John Goodenough has invented a spectacular, needed, and invaluable device at the nearly-overripe age of 94. That’s what the story was about earlier this month in the New York Times.

Well, the story wasn’t even about him, per se; it was about old fogies like him being creative and innovative. The superannuated, we believe as a society, are good only for wearing adult diapers and forgetting their adult children’s names.

In other words, Go away wouldja?

The story’s a splash because — would you believe it?! — old bats and birds can actually, y’know, do things. By holy god, what’s next? The poor have wants, hopes, and dreams?

Nah.

Anyway, Goodenough is the guy who invented the lithium-ion battery back in 1980, when he was a callow youth of  57. And, by golly, even a 57 year old human hardly merits the air she or he gasps in this youth-obsessed world.

But 94? Sheesh, what, was he born before the Cubs last won the World Series? (As a matter of fact yes — shoot — I can’t use that one anymore.)

My mother was 92 when she turned in her timecard in 2014. She had countless grandchildren, more numerous great-grandchildren, and even a gang of great-great-grandchildren. She was ancient. I could hear her knees and hips click all the way down here in Bloomington when she was able to muster the energy to get up off the kitchen chair. Heck, my own joints jangle like a tambourine every time I raise my body from the near-dead.

Nevertheless both Ma and I still had (and have) brains and hearts, contrary to the picture electronic media paints of anyone over the age of 25. For pity’s sake, the NYT story about elderly people being creative and innovative might as well have carried a screaming headline for all the preconceived notions it smashed.

And, yeah, that’s revolutionary enough but take a guess what Goodenough has invented now. I quote from the NYT piece:

He and his team at the University of Texas at Austin filed a patent application on a new kind of battery that, if it works as promised, would be so cheap, lightweight and safe that it would revolutionize electric cars and kill off petroleum-fueled vehicles.

Goodenough

Wait a flippin’ minute here! Lemme quote further from the press release from the University of Texas about this development:

Goodenough’s latest breakthrough, completed with Cockrell School senior research fellow Maria Helena Braga, is a low-cost all-solid-state battery that is noncombustible and has a long cycle life (battery life) with a high volumetric energy density and fast rates of charge and discharge.

Here’s the inside dope from his own paper, published in the academic journal, Energy & Environmental Science. I ain’t gonna provide any quotes from the paper because I don’t understand a single goddamned word in it. It’s chock-full of terms like enthalpy, dielectric, and wet. In the context, I have no notion even of what wet means.

In any case, this battery can relegate fossil-fuel cars to the Museum of Quaint Stuff. That is, if such a thing exists — and I’m sure it does. Probably has things like mood rings, Pong consoles, and Google Glasses.

So, that’s where we are in the year of somebody’s lord, 2017? The oil barons, sheiks, pirates, and lobbyists have so taken control of this world and the ways we think that the announcement that a battery that can safely, efficiently, dependably, and inexpensively power your hot rod is noteworthy solely because some outlier old coot invented it?!

 

Hot Air: B-town Gets Bullied

Oh, lordy in heaven, if John Hamilton thought he was stuck in an unlucky rut yesterday, he’s gotta be feeling like a guy with a perpetual raincloud hanging over his head this AM.

The Republicans in the Indiana legislature sneaked a provision into the state budget bill, passed late last night strictly along party lines, that effectively bars Bloomington from implementing its annexation plan for the next few years.

No matter what you feel about the annexation scheme — I don’t like it but recognize it as an inevitability — the legislature targeting our town and robbing us of whatever shred of sovereignty we have left is a slap in the face.

The scuttlebutt goes that State Representative Jeff Ellington (R-Dist. 62), at the behest of the Cook Group’s mouthpiece, Steve Ferguson, sneaked the insertion through under cover of darkness.

When Rep. Matt Pierce (D-60) got wind of the provision, he jumped up and squawked about it. It’s entitled section 161 of HB1001, page 172. He addressed the House about the way this fast one was pulled, saying at one point:

… I didn’t have anyone approach me about putting a provision in the budget bill. Did it occur to, maybe, check in with the person who represents most of the city of Bloomington? Get some feedback on what people are thinking? 

[h/t to Steve Volan]

Now people may well have been thinking the annexation plan is as welcome as Ted Nugent at a MENSA meeting, but the provision really has nothing to do with The Will of the People. It likely has everything to do with the 800-pound gorilla in the room and that’s Cook.

Clout

Even folks who are four-square against this city expansion proposal are aghast at the sliminess of this whole affair.

The provision forbids any city that intro’d an annexation proposal in the first half of 2017 from proceeding thereupon. There’s only one city that has made such a proposal and that’s Hamilton’s. It was targeted, self-serving legislation designed to benefit a corporate heavy-hitter and no one else.

This, my friends, is what passes for democracy in this holy land today.

No matter what your take on Hamilton is or has been to this point in time, you have to feel at least a tiny bit sorry for him right about now.

Hot Air: Unlucky John

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say there are some 80,000 citizens of this great sprawling megalopolis who are thankful they are not John Hamilton.

That selfsame 80,001st resident of Bloomington is stuck carrying the moniker, meaning many — if not most — of those others wish fervently he would be struck by a falling tree branch one stormy afternoon soon, lose his memory, and wander off into the far reaches of the Deam Wilderness, south of Lake Monroe, never to be heard from again, or at least until the city finds itself another mayor on whom Bloomingtonians can focus all their rage and frustration.

I mean, the man already is in the hottest of waters in the wake of the rather Machiavellian rollout of his annexation scheme. The poor bird, it turns out, was too smart by a factor of perhaps three in springing the city expansion plan with nary a hint of preamble back in February. Smart, sure, inasmuch as opposition to the plan has hardly begun to coalesce even as the City Council begins taking up the legislative steps to make it happen, stat. Too smart, most def., because right now he’s less popular than ousted Hoosier hoops coach Tom Crean ever was hereabouts.

Here’s a spot of breaking news: Popularity is to a politician what water and air are to the rest of us. Anybody willing to take bets on a second term for the boss?

Why Me?

[Image: J.D. Gray/Indiana Public Media]

And now comes word that the deal designed to deliver on one of Hamilton’s key campaign promises has crashed on the rocks. Candidate John pledged to bring high-speed fiber-optic broadband service to Bloomington if only we’d install him in the mayor’s office. Which we did. And sho’ ‘nuf, he almost immediately shook hands on a deal with Canadian firm Axia NetMedia to lay a mesh of signal-carrying fiber over, around, and under the city so that each and every one of us can Google the pending sexual harassment cases against Bill O’Reilly — and get an answer in better than 0.63 seconds, which is what it took me to get “About 2,470,000 results” using the old school tech here at Hopscotch.

The deal itself raised eyebrows because Axia’s one a’them furriners, based in the far-away, exotic locale of Calgary, Alberta. Why, citizens here wondered aloud, couldn’t a nice homegrown outfit like Smithville Communications handle the task? Hell, its corporate office is located just up SR 46, in Ellettsville, at 1600 Temperance Dr. as a matter of fact. Doesn’t our mayor love Murrica and Murricans?

Speaking of love, the mayor must have tossed and turned all last night wondering how it could all go so wrong so quickly. Axia top dog Arthur R. Price sent him a Dear John Letter this week, telling him not that there was someone else, but that his parent forbade the impending coupling. Quothe the swain, Price, via the Herald-Times, “… our business case does not deliver the financial returns required by our owners to compensate for the risks inherent in being the first company to offer this unique model in the United States.”

In other words, it’s not you, it’s me. In other other words, Axia’s sugar daddy, Partners Group, threatens to cut off Price’s allowance if he dares to spend money on Bloomington. After all, PG only has a scant $55 billion to throw around and if the Axia investment of an estimated $50 million in the Bloomington project goes sour, why, hell, Pappadaddy’d be down to his last $54,950,000,000.

If I’m John Hamilton, I wouldn’t play the Hoosier Lottery right now as his luck seems to be running a tad crooked.

And I’m scratching my head trying to figure out who’s ambitious enough around here to run against Hamilton in 2019.

The Coffee Cure?

Talk is cheap — or free, if you care to hear my gasbaggery every Thursday afternoon on WFHB‘s Daily Local News. My Big Talk guest yesterday was Yousuf Ali, who, along with his mates in the Lu Lab at Indiana University’s Gill Center for Biomolecular Research of late have determined that caffeine seems to slow down and maybe even halt the brain cell degenerative that is a hallmark of the likes of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Ali

The question now is, should you start drinking a pot or two of coffee every morning so’s you won’t end up forgetting the names of your adult children in the future? Ali’s got the answers here.

And tune in next week when my Big Talk guest will be Stephanie Solomon of Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, Bloomington’s food pantry and advocate for the hungry.

Talk to you then.

Are You Ready?

Sure.

Hot Air: Science

I won’t lie; it’s only serendipity. The fact that the big March for Science is happening day after tomorrow in Washington and around the world had nothing to do with the fact that last week’s Big Talk as well as today’s episode feature super-hyper-brainiac research scientists.

Click On Image To Buy Shirt

Today I’ll be joined by Youssuf Ali, one of the top lab detectives at Hui-Chen Lu‘s operation, part of the Gill Center for Biomolecular Science at Indiana University. Lu’s gang, with Ali doing much of the heavy lifting, has identified a number of compounds in the brain that can actually retard neural degenerative diseases. That means, in lay terms, diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s may be pushed off for years or decades.

In fact, you may well be sipping a mugful of one of those compounds as you read this. Yep. Lu, Ali & Co. have found that pure doses of caffeine injected into mice can actually slow the rate of neuron breakdown that’s the hallmark of the diseases. Neurons are the little buggers, along with glial cells, that make up the brain.

As for last week’s guest, in case you missed the show, here’s the link to my interview with Heather Bradshaw whose lab is doing bang-up research on the effects of lipids like those found in marijuana on brain cells and their connections. So if you’re at all interested in the medical pot question, you’ll get a kick out of this one.

Tune in this afternoon for Big Talk, 5:00pm on the WFHB Daily Local News, 91.3FM.

Whoa, She Wrote

The annexation issue still hangs over Bloomington. Did you catch Charlotte Zietlow’s heartlfelt and undeniably well-informed piece in last week’s Herald-Times in which she skewers Mayor John Hamilton’s overall plan and rollout strategy? If not, go here now.

Zietlow (L) — Still At It

Let’s Work Together

Above and beyond the simple message this song conveys is the scene portrayed herein. It’s from the Brit tunefest Top of the Pops, as much a cultural touchstone as American Bandstand was here.

I’ve gotta say, this vid has transfixed me. For whatever reason the dancers all seem to be pent up in some kind of gilded cage. And the dancers themselves are almost exclusively female, with the odd guy here and there as if they’re little brothers allowed to stay at big sis’s party for a few minutes. Or they’re the women’s gay high school friends.

Anyway, it strikes me that for a hot minute in the year 1970, when this was filmed, white people possessed a hint of rhythm. Or maybe just these Carnaby Street habitués did. Note, also, the one or two dancers who liberally employ the thumb jerk, as later parodied by Julia Louis Dreyfus on an episode of Seinfeld.

Mainly, though, I’m most freaked out by the looks on pretty much everybody’s faces. It’s a studied boredom, a world weariness, a jadedness that’s sad, really. I mean, they’re dancing to a great song and they’re young and are on TV and have kicky clothes and all, but god forbid they should smile. Is this how they really feel inside or is it a pose? Or Quaaludes?

These are the things that occupy my mind now so I don’t obsess over the porcine pathological narcissist who occupies the White House.

Hot Air: Ideas & Opinions

I stole today’s hed from one of my fave books, written by the dude pixed below. Sure, call me egotistical for thinking anything related to E. could possibly be applied to me but, remember, flamboyant egotism is usually a surefire sign that the crower in question really is — in his or her own mind — a schlub.

Donnelly The Devil

Indiana Democratic US Senator Joe Donnelly has announced his support for President Gag’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. Leaving aside the issue of how the Republicans fked the tearfully lamented B. Obama when he did his Constitutional duty by nominating a warm body to fill the Court vacancy that occurred during his, the ex-P’s, term, it seems the righteous Left is now madder at the likes of Sen. Donnelly than they are at the crass, repulsive greed monkey who won the November election on a technicality and then was able to nominate Gorsuch.

Our town’s own designated fk-ee, Dawn Johnsen (she was stymied by the GOP when BHO nom’ed her to be head of the Office of Legal Counsel back in 2009) has leapt to Donnelly’s defense and I applaud her for it.

A lot of the heated rhetoric in the wake of Donnelly’s announcement has to do with red-asses being so fed up with the Dems and “traitors” like the IN Sen. that they’re washing their hands of the party. Lot’s o’folks are jumping on the “Independent” bandwagon which is not a party but really just a foot-stomping.

Benedict Arn.., Er, Joe Donnelly

Johnsen cautions that heretofore Democrats cannot abandon Donnelly over this issue because the party just might have a shot at reclaiming the Senate in 2018 or 2020. The Maurer School of Law prof. points out that Donnelly usually votes along liberal or progressive (or how the hell ever you want to characterize my side of the fence) lines. Just because he’s backing this guy doesn’t mean y’all should throw out the baby with the Trump Vodka.

So here we go with the purity bullshit again. Dang, mang, I’d hate to be involved in an intimate relationship w/ some of these purists. One misstep and I’d be out on my ample post-side.

And, again, let’s look to the Republicans themselves to see how a pragmatic party works. Really, precious few GOP-ers actually like L’il Duce. Not now nor when he was running for their party’s nom. He agrees with the Right-ists maybe 75 percent of the time, if that. But once he got the nod, they fell in behind him like a bunch of privates and, mirabile dictu, look who’s president now and look who’s gutting social services, cultural initiatives, environmental protections, the State Dept., women’s sexual and reproductive options, and everything other goddamned thing we hold near and dear.

Personal to the purists: Stick your purity up your own post-sides, ample or otherwise.

Scaredy-cats

The Right, the Republicans, the conservatives — they may not constitute a monolith as such but they have a lot in common w/ each other. A hell of a lot more than they have in common w/ me, thank the god I don’t believe in.

While it’s often unwise to paint people with broad brush strokes, such sploshing almost as often results in a pretty accurate picture. It’s no slander for me to assert that those on the Right harbor scads of fears: of the black hordes plotting to invade middle class suburbia, of the wild-eyed Muslims building atom bombs in their mosques, of trannies scheming to rape 13-year-old blondes in women’s rest rooms, of schoolteachers with their mind control techniques, of commie college profs, of, for chrissakes, everybody who is not, well, them.

Terrifying!

Fear drives them.

But don’t get cocky. Fear drives the Dems, the Left, the progressives, the sane, the good, the decent…, y’know, us, as well. We’re scared as bunnies of the opposition. It’s as though if we should happen to displease them, they’ll cut off our allowance, ground us, maybe even spank us. That’s because we really do see the Republicans and the Right as parents. Mean ones.

Look take for example the aforementioned Neil Gorsuch. He is championed by the GOP and assorted allies to the hilt. This despite the fact that he belongs to an awfully liberal church. In fact, Gorsuch’s pastor actually participated in the Women’s March on Washington back in January.

Imagine that!

Had it been revealed that Barack Obama’s pastor put on comfortable shoes and picked up a protest placard, his opposition would have screamed bloody murder and we — Obama included — would have panted, wrung our hands, and swore to high heaven that he and we would never, ever in a million years have anything to do with such a crazed terrorist.

Op/eds and wits and wags would have navel-gazed for weeks after the revelation, advising and counseling the party to disassociate itself from any future embarrassment of a similar nature. For pity’s sake, when John Kerry was libeled by the Swift Boaters, he cowered in a corner rather than appearing on national television, raising his trousers leg and rolling up his shirt sleeve, and pointing at the jagged scars caused by enemy shrapnel.

A Republican would have.

I like next to nothing about today’s Republican way of looking at things. I do like their go-to-hell attitude when they’re pushed against the wall, though.

Hot Air: King Of Courage

It was the act that best illustrated the courage Martin Luther King, Jr. possessed.

Fifty years ago today, in a speech at the Riverside Church in New York City, King said of the Vietnam War: “We have been wrong from the beginning.”

Speaking At Riverside Church

[Image: John C. Goodwin]

He was pilloried. He was demonized. He lost Lyndon Johnson as an ally. He earned the scorn of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and even many of the traditional black newspapers around the country. Wits and wags called him ignorant, uninformed, naive, and, of course, a commie. Many in his own circle of friends and advisors implored him not to speak out so loudly and clearly against the war. He knew that decision makers, leaders, legislators — the establishment — would damn him.

His only sin, it turns out, was he spoke a year too soon. By February 1968, the tide of public opinion was beginning to turn against the war. By April, King would be dead.

Hell, just take a look at the entire speech, now known as “Beyond Vietnam,” delivered to a crowd of 3000 and sponsored by Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. I was fully prepared to run the whole thing here but, man, it is lo-o-ong. So, if you’re interested, here it is, from the King Estate Papers Project, via Stanford University’s King Encyclopedia.

And here, via the same route, is King’s response to an audience member asking how black men should react as Vietnam raged on.

BTW: Here’s Patti Smith, performing at the MLK birthday commemoration service at Riverside Church in 2012:

[Image: Cindy Ord/Getty Images North America]

Abraham, Martin and John

Any chance I can, I post this vid.

Hot Air: Mind Your Miners

“Can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia… to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting?”

This was an actual question posed by President Gag’s director of the Office of Management and Budget in a television interview regarding cuts in federal funding for PBS.

So now, isn’t it time we stop all the bullshit about how it was the liberals who belittled and stereotyped the unemployed and the laborers of fly-over America?

All Burroughs, All The Time

The Wounded Galaxies gang will be back at it this coming February. The group that emerged from the Burroughs Century fete back in 2014 and has since produced events like the annual “The Junky’s Christmas” is set to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the landmark year 1968.

That annum, in case you’re younger than, say, 60, saw the world nearly come apart as we threw Molotov cocktails, smashed storefronts, shot high powered rifles out flophouse bathroom windows, fought pointless wars, marched in the streets, got crushed by tanks, and then wept/gaped/giggled about it all while watching groundbreaking television shows.

Dig this laundry list of ’68 events:

  • Alexander Dubček becomes leader of Czechoslovakia’s Communist Party, initiating the Prague Spring
  • A US Air Force B-52G Stratofortress crashes in Greenland, losing four hydrogen bombs and spreading eight highly radioactive substances over a 1-by-3-mile area
  • The premier of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in on NBC-TV
  • North Korea seizes the USS Pueblo and holds its crew hostage for 11 months
  • The Viet Cong launches the Tet Offensive throughout South Vietnam, causing American public opinion to turn against the war
  • South Vietnam’s police chief executes in cold blood a Viet Cong prisoner on a Saigon street, the event is photographed and becomes an iconic image of the war

[Image: Eddie Adams/AP]

  • Orangeburg, South Carolina police open fire on a crowd of protesters outside a segregated bowling alley, killing three people
  • US allied forces massacre 70-80 innocent citizens in the South Vietnamese village of Phong Nhị and Phong Nhất
  • The premier of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood
  • US allied forces massacre 135 innocent citizens in the South Vietnamese village of Hà My
  • Warsaw students take to the streets to kick off the bloody “Marzec 1968” Polish uprising
  • US Army soldiers commit the My Lai massacre, resulting in 350-500 deaths of innocent civilians
  • Bobby Kennedy enters the presidential race
  • Student protesters shut down Howard University in a 5-day round of sit-ins, building takeovers, and street marches
  • Lyndon Johnson quits the presidential race
  • Midnight bombings occur at two German department stores
  • The premier of 2001: A Space Odyssey

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. is murdered
  • Riots erupt in more than 100 American cities in the aftermath of the King assassination
  • Black Panthers and Oakland police engage in a 90-minute shoot-out resulting in the death of Panther treasurer Bobby Hutton
  • Lyndon Johnson signs the 1968 Civil Rights Act
  • Student protesters shut down Columbia University
  • France on the brink of revolution: One million people march in the streets of Paris, followed by general strikes, university and factory takeovers, and pitched street battles

Paris In The Springtime

  • The Catonsville (Maryland) Nine break into the local Selective Service office and burn records using napalm
  • The Nigerian army blockades Port Harcourt, leading to the Biafran famine resulting in hundreds of thousands of hunger deaths
  • Valerie Solanas shoots Andy Warhol in the belly
  • Bobby Kennedy is shot; he dies the next day
  • A Black Power group and police engage in a gun battle in Cleveland, followed by widespread rioting resulting in seven deaths
  • Pope Paul VI condemns the use of artificial birth control

A Sin

  • Some 750,000 Warsaw Pact soldiers invade Czechoslovakia to crush the Prague Spring.
  • Chicago police and anti-war and civil rights protesters clash during the Democratic National Convention
  • Second Wave Feminists protest the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey
  • The premier of 60 Minutes
  • Hundreds of students and civilians are killed in the Tlatelolco Massacre in Mexico City, when police and military security forces open fire on protesters
  • Northern Ireland’s “The Troubles” begin when police club civil rights protesters in Derry
  • Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise black-gloved fists to protest racism while on the medal stand at the Mexico City Summer Olympics

Black Power

  • Lyndon Johnson orders a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam, citing progress in the Paris Peace Talks (it is later learned that Republican candidate for president, Richard Nixon, sabotages the talks in order to enhance his chances of victory in the November election)
  • Nixon defeats Democrat Hubert Humphrey and the American Independent Party’s George Wallace in the presidential election
  • US forces and allies expand the Vietnam War into Laos
  • Yale University opens its doors to women
  • In a Star Trek episode the first interracial kiss (between Capt. Kirk and Lt. Uhura) is portrayed on American television
  • Four men commandeer a flight from New York to San Juan, Puerto Rico, diverting it to Cuba, setting off the “Golden Age” of airliner hijackings
  • The “Zodiac Killer” commits what is believed to be his (their?) first murder in the San Francisco area
  • The Apollo 8 crew (Borman, Lovell & Anders) become the first humans to orbit the moon

Earthrise

[Image: William Anders/NASA]

Wow.

Anyway, the WG-ers plan to mark the Esquire magazine hiring of beat author William S. Burroughs, erstwhile hobo/petty thief-turned playwright Jean Genet, and absurdist satirist Terry Southern to cover the infamous, police-riotous ’68 Democratic Convention in Chicago. The trio at the time would be considered the hippest, most literary, most radical, attention-grabbingest mixture of correspondents any national mag could have conjured to report on the upcoming hippie-Yippie-revolutionary peace-fuck-headsmash orgy scheduled for the last week of August in Mayor Richard J. Daley’s kingdom. Esquire‘s cooler heads, though, got a little jittery in the weeks leading up to the street-theater extravaganza and tossed veteran war reporter John Sack into the mix to ensure at least one of the group would submit something cogent and readable on the events there.

The Famous Cover

I can’t wait.

Chicago

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s ode to the Chicago Eight (later, Seven) trial.

 

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