‘What’s the use of living if you can’t help somebody else?’

03-11-1917 madge keith portraitOccasionally, a gem shows up in the archives of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. This item, published on March 11, 1917, shows how a worker found the courage to demand a better shake from her employer. This is taken from the much-longer story, which is included at the end of this summary.

Getting arrested has become a “regular thing” for Madge Keith, 24. In 14 weeks of picket duty at Robinson’s, a restaurant in downtown St. Louis, she’s been picked up by police 25 times. “And I might be arrested 25 more — but it’s all in a day’s work with me now,” she told a Post-Dispatch reporter.

She’s on strike for a wage increase. “We don’t want so very much, either. The restaurant pays $1 a day and 8 hours’ work. We want $1.10 a day 8 hours’ work. We couldn’t get it. So we struck.”

Read more of this post

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A good comrade

mao

What is work? Work is struggle.

There are difficulties and problems in those places for us to overcome and solve.

We go there to work and struggle to overcome these difficulties.

A good comrade is one who is more eager to go where the difficulties are greater. (1945)

‘The house where Eugene Field was not born’

eugene-field_edited-1A plaque on the Eugene Field House says “the children’s poet” — famous for “Little Boy Blue,” “Wynken, Blynken and Nod,” and other works — was born there. The Field House Museum, on its website, says “Eugene Field was born in St. Louis at 634 South Broadway, on September 2, 1850.” And some contemporary news stories also say Field was born there.

But he wasn’t.

A former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter named Robertus Love took the blame for the confusion — a century ago. In letter to the newspaper, published on Feb. 12, 1917, Love wrote: “About 15 years ago I suggested a story on Eugene Field.… My suggestion was approved and I was assigned to get the story. I interviewed several persons who had known Field more or less intimately when he lived here as a young newspaper man. Also I interviewed his guardian, an elderly gentleman now dead…. In reply to a specific query as to where Eugene Field was born, his guardian told me it was the house on South Broadway.” Read more of this post

Jerry the smoking St. Louis orangutan

jerry-postcardSt. Louis still celebrates some of the long-ago residents of its famous zoo. Phil the gorilla. Mr. Moke the chimp. Moby Dick the sea elephant. Siegfried the walrus.

But not Jerry.

This much-photographed orangutan showed up in newspapers across the nation in the 1940s — and even scored appearances in Life magazine and in at least one newsreel.

Today, though, Jerry seems to have been forgotten.

I became curious about Jerry when I spotted an old postcard that showed him in uniform, smoking a cigarette. I made a few inquiries and checked archives.

Here is what I learned. Read more of this post

First uses

The range of verbs is further cut down by means of the -ize and de- formations, and the banal statements are given an appearance of profundity by means of the not un- formation. — George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language

Apparent first use of certain words employing the “-ize formation” in English-language newspapers, based on a review of online archives. (Does not include variant spellings.) Updated Jan. 8, 2017. 

“… some liberal minded judge permits a continuance and turns the criminal loose on the street to revictimize the victims.” Interview with Maj. Henry J. Wolff of the Indianapolis Police Department. [The National Road Traveler (Cambridge City, Ind.), May 3, 1972]

“Dr. (Emily) Alman startled some 200 homemakers when she suggested that the family of the 70’s may have a completely different structure. “I suggest that the group coming up has started to delegitimize the existing structure. They will not follow our patterns,” said Dr. Alman. [The Courier-News (Bridgewater, N.J.), April 29, 1970]

honeywell-ad-small“And the problem we face now is how to operationalize the concept of Black Power.”
Interview with activist H. Rap Brown. [Delaware County Daily Times, Aug. 8, 1967]

“The U.S. Department of Labor has available a new study entitled ‘Manpower Challenge of the 1960’s.’ It definitely is on the list of required reading for employers and educators. Its perusal might incentivize junior sufficiently to bring home better grades.” [The Burlington Free Press (Burlington, Vermont) May 23, 1960] 

“The Honeywell Model 7000 Digital Data Recorder-Transcriber digitizes data at the fantastic rate of 10,000 samples per second directly from transducer or other data input sources.” [Honeywell recruitment ad, Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb. 8, 1959] “It accepts signals from thermocouples, flow, pressure and other transducers. It measures these signals, digitizes them and prints their values. A thermocouple reference oven can be supplied to permit it Read more of this post

‘Pockets of volume’ ‘Locally heavy’ ‘Grief process’ ‘Unflinching’

weatherWeather words: Barreling. Little blustery. Ridge of high pressure. Packing winds of. Gusty winds. Heavy rain. A line of showers. Intermittent. Severe. Isolated. Spot. Strong. Sun is starting to peek back in. Pop-up shower. Stray and scattered and residual showers. Hit-and-miss. Notches. Hooks. Locally heavy. Couple sprinkles. Rumbles of thunder. Breathing a collective sigh of relief.

Traffic words: It’s heavy now. You’re heavy on. You’re stacked up on. Sunshine slowdown. Stacked up for a look. Stop and go. Pockets. Slow pockets. Pockets of volume. Building volume. We’ve got some volume. The usual volume.  Bumper-to-bumper. Injury accident. Trouble-free. On the brakes. Crawling. Jamming. A lingering backup. In the clearing stages. Flowing fine. Still a good run. Typical delays. Clusters. Slowing down in the stretch. Smooth sailing.

Crime words: Shots rang out. Closure. Grief process. Active scene. On edge. Haunting. Nightmare. Ultimate sacrifice. The community is reeling. Asking the public to come forward. Escalated from there. Tragic news. Raise awareness. Their desperate time of need. Breathing a collective sigh of relief.

TV and radio: What’s trending online. We’ll continue to monitor this breaking story/situation/news. We want to know what you think. Hard questions. Real concerns. The discussion continues at … . We’re watching out for you. Read more of this post

What is news?

thriving“The highest form of reporting is the ability to understand and fit together certain isolated and apparently unrelated trends before they become news. The public knows what news is after it becomes news. Only the accomplished and skilled reporter or editor knows what it is before it becomes news.” — A Handbook of Scripps Howard (1948)

‘Factious, flippant and reckless’

Frederick Law Olmsted  (Library of Congress)“Questions of the most momentous importance come up daily, and exact grave consideration from all. The experience of most persons will confirm the assertion that the manner in which the daily newspapers deal with these questions is most defective and unsatisfactory. Their false prophecies, their abandonment of all attempt to sift evidence — often unavoidable, it is true — their constant sacrifice of the truth to the demand for startling effects, the factious, flippant and reckless way in which many of them deal with the most serious topics, constantly remind their more intelligent readers that they are prepared to suit the requirements of the greatest number, but not by any means the best qualified, of those whose judgment goes to make up that force in human affairs called public opinion.” — “Prospectus for a Weekly Journal,” June 1863, from the collected works of Frederick Law Olmsted, a co-founder of The Nation.

We keep entering ‘a new and dangerous phase’

The week-long offensive to retake the ISIS stronghold (of Fallujah) has now entered a new and dangerous phase. [CBS News. May 30, 2016]  The Palestinian president today accused Israel of provoking a danger“religious war” … amid mounting concerns that their long-running conflict is entering a new and dangerous phase. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Nov. 11, 2014]  Declaring a victor before a negotiated settlement could mark a new, dangerous phase of the crisis surrounding the vote to succeed President Hamid Karzai. [The National Journal, September 11, 2014] The 48-page report released Tuesday is grim, Read more of this post

The armadillo in all of us


Weigh inIt may be small-brained and shortsighted, but the armadillo has managed to take over most of the Americas.

Only one armadillo showed up for this year’s “World Famous Armadillo Festival” in Hamburg, Ark., and it couldn’t have cared less.

After a ceremonial weigh-in and photo shoot with the reigning Teen Miss Armadillo (a local high school beauty), the creature was released in the designated “racetrack” — a makeshift chicken wire enclosure — where it immediately began to nose around for bugs and grubs. Read more of this post