Two U.S. soldiers died Sunday when their helicopter crashed and about 250 insurgents were reported killed . . .
MICKEY KAUS: "Labor costs--and specifically work rules--are part of what's killing all the unionized auto manufacturers while their non-unionized competitors thrive." Work rules, I think, are more damaging than pay issues because they cost flexibility and make it harder to introduce new technology.
— from the very helpful Instapundit, which most mornings beats your daily newspaper, or at least is more rewarding (except for obits, and local crime, politics, teams).
This retrogressive, feet-dug-in unionism, I fear, is the problem. What Walter Reuther the Socialist got his arm broken for in 30s picketing v. Big Capital became a millstone around neck of the masses, who profit most from growing productivity. Life’s a B, ain’t it?
Was a gathering of newsgatherers last night at Holiday Inn atop Sun-Times on the river — 15th floor, vu is stunning. Chi Headline Club gave out lifetime achievement honors. It was a combination of -atti's, liter- and glitter- (we all dressed nice) and newshounds past, present and to come. The young were adequately represented.
These were clubbable news people honoring their own, as people do. It was a high-church affair but not solemn high. It helps when the honorees are people who talk straight and seem to say what they mean. No cutesy needed apply.
* WGN radio farm-matters announcer for 47 (!) years Orion Samuelson announced himself "a Norwegian, so only halfway there" at 72.
* News writer and editor with three Chi dailies from the '50s, retired since '88, Ed Baumann [correction here:] said it had been his good fortune to spend half his life in the "second oldest profession in the world," adding, "Think what heights I might have attained if my parents had had a girl,” here earlier misinterpreted as a crack at gender-based affirmative action.
* Fotog Jim Frost of Sun-Times and TV newshen cum Sun-Times columnist Carol Marin looked appreciatively to their families there present.
* Chi Trib Sci writer and Pulitzer prize winner Ron Kotulak I am sure said something while I went to the men's room, where a nice young man said hi to me, which is more than I get at the men's room at Schaller's on Halsted. And more than I require.
Clarence Page of Chi Trib and syndicated-column and TV talk show fame lately and Trib plus Chi's Channel Two fame back in "jurassic" times, as he put it, set the tone or picked the key -- better flat than sharp on such an occasion -- for the event. He held up the literate part very well, moving things along briskly:
-- Big affirmative action newsroom-hiring vehicle of the 60s was the urban riot: “Monochromatic" LA times drafted a messenger to go into the zone and see what the brothers were doing, got a byline promoting him to ad salesman. The entrepreneurial Louis Lomax pitched a black-Muslim story to Dan Rather and got the assignment himself as free-lancer because (alas) Elijah Muhammad would not talk to a white reporter. (Not sure I'd talk to Dan Rather either, but that's another question.)
-- "We used to be colored," said Page, riffing on the Great American Name Game. Then Negro, then black -- "I mean black," he said, looking grr-threatening for a second. Then African-American --he called up his mother when this happened, delighted he was finally up there with other hyphenated people, Irish- and Italian– and the like. Finally “people of color.” "Full circle," he exulted.
It just shows to go you: tone conquers all, and humor and common sense. There's a lesson for us there.
"Do you think Hillary Clinton would make a good president?" [Wolf Blitzer asked Dick Cheney]
"No, I don't."
"Because she's a Democrat."
In fact, I was saying that very thing just the other day . . .
* The cigarette was brushed out of Jean-Paul Sartre's hand for an exhibition in 2005. Sartre smoked, but not in the commemorative picture years after he died. He was also one of the great sexual athletes of history. So was his lifelong love, Simone de Beauvoir, a switch-hitter whose girl friends captured Sartre's fancy now and again. One of these resisted his advances and near broke his haunted heart, however. It was not easy being a king of sex, so uneasy lies the head wearing that crown.
— from Jean-Pierre Boule’s review of TETE-A-TETE: The lives and loves of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, by Hazel Rowley (Chatto and Windus) in TLS 3/17/06
* We hear complaints about senseless acts of violence, but never praise for sensible ones. Is this wise?
* At Bread Kitchen during Xmas week, “Tum te tum tum” (Drummer Boy) overhead for the thousandth time this season is bad enough. But what of the woman at the next table picking up on it and humming along lightly?
* Comedian Shelley Berman had a shtick where he spoke of dropping ashes in his lap while driving. Parked at a light on a busy street, he brushed furiously at his lap, looked up and there was an elderly female bus passenger looking at him censoriously. Likewise, I looked down while on a Bread K stool and saw that my belt was undone and my fly was unzipped. Oh boy.
* Old joke, but in view of recent highly publicized developments, is it time to revive "Crook County" as replacement name? No? Whatever.
* U.S. southern novelist Walker Percy was a medical doctor.
* Longfellow is the most put to music of English-language poets.
(Items from Times [of London] Literary Supplement, hereafter TLS)
* The idiosyncrasy of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poetry may be explained by the “constraint” of Jesuit life. Toeing the line in all else, he broke out in his verse. (You could say he sprang out with his rhythm.) Indeed, the tension he experienced — conflict between vocation and creativity — may have been productive. (Simon Humphries, “A Eunuch for God,” TLS 12/22&29/06)
* In Honor: a History (Encounter), James Bowman (no relation) displays “a propensity to be judgemental and didactic.” (Ditto Harvey C. Mansfield in Manliness [Yale].) Thus reviewer George Feaver, retired poly sci prof at U. of British Columbia and this year at UT-Austin, who was left with “nagging suspicions” about Bowman’s judgment of U.S. military decisions, having read to the end of his “dense, discursive account of the alleged ‘decline and fall’ of Western honour.”
In this and other matters, Bowman offers a “gloomy reading” of history, “overly selective” in Feaver’s view, as in its ignoring the civil rights revolution of the ‘60s and “real-life heroes” such as Martin Luther King and the New York firefighters on 9/11. Feaver closes with commendation of both books, “despite their shortcomings [for reminding us] of the importance of remembering the past, and standing up for beliefs central to the achievement of our civilization.” (“Limp Responses,” TLS 12/22&29/06)
* Reviewing Patrick Wyse Jackson’s The Chronologer’s Quest: The Search for the Age of the Earth (Cambridge), John North says J. has “useful things to say,” albeit with “a weakness for discursive irrelevance.”
Whether J. displayed this weakness or not, I do not know, nor do I know if other reviewers’ comments are well-aimed, but I do find that phrase helpful. May writing teachers and editors everywhere hold discursive irrelevance to be a weakness not a strength. (TLS 1/12/07)
Obama drugged, Jesus risen, Hitler studies, Irving's Dresden, Foie gras in Chi, Macy's, Revolutionary stew
See: "Past drug use may test Obama" at http://www.suntimes.com/news/sweet/197111,CST-NWS-sweet04.article
1. Don't play logic game, said one, a theologian and university chair-holder, when I put it to him, did J. rise bodily or didn't he? (He's not with Aquinas et al., who put logic up there with the best of mental exercises.)
2. Doesn't matter to me, said another, a publisher of spiritual books. (He's not with the fanatical Paul, who said we are the most miserable of people if J. did not rise.)
See: tenacious if quirky memory of James H. Bowman, ex-SJ.
See: "Their goose isn't cooked" at http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/195054,CST-NWS-foie03.article
See: "Macy's learning what's in a name" at http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-0701030050jan03,1,3348903.story?coll=chi-news-hed
See: "Eatery's ads turning stomachs" at http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/195085,CST-NWS-palmas03.article