SEPTEMBER 7 2012 UPDATE
Andrea Wellins, Storm Gold, committed to Loyola Marymount
Kelsi Dunne Named Pitching Coach At Oklahoma State
STARKVILLE, Miss. – After helping the Mississippi State softball team reach the NCAA Tournament this past spring, volunteer assistant coach Kelsi Dunne has accepted a position as the pitching coach for Oklahoma State University, MSU Head Coach Vann Stuedeman announced Thursday morning. Dunne gained national prominence as a pitcher for the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The chattering classes are still debating whether any of the convention speeches – Obama, Romney, their wives, Biden – met the high standard set in other years by John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. The most influential voice at any convention may have been that of Sanitary Ed Kelly, Chicago’s legendary commissioner of streets and sewers. At the convention in 1940, there was discontent among Democrats; some thought a third term for Franklin D. Roosevelt was unethical, immoral and probably unconstitutional. Others thought Roosevelt would lead us into the war, begun the previous September in Europe. Still others were opposed to FDR’s selection of Wallace as vice president. The Democrats, knowing the Republicans controlled many major newspapers and radio stations, feared the GOP would make much of all these issues. A split vote for FDR at the convention would give impetus to the GOP.
Enter Ed Kelly. Using his crews, Kelly installed loudspeakers in all the air ducts of the convention hall, and, just as the chairman began the roll call of states, a stentorian voice boomed, “We want Roosevelt.” It seemed to be coming from every part of the hall, and in fact it was. FDR steamrolled the roll call.
ADDING TO YOUR CULTURAL KNOWLEDGRE
In 623 BC, Halicarnassus was the capital of small regional kingdom in the coast of Asia Minor. In 377 BC the ruler of the region, Hecatomnus of Milas, died and left the control of the kingdom to his son, Mausolus. Hecatomnus, a local satrap under the Persians, took control of several of the neighboring cities and districts. After Artemisia and Mausolus, he had several other daughters and sons: Ada (adopted mother of Alexander the Great), Idrieus and Pixodarus. Mausolus extended its territory as far as the southwest coast of Anatolia. Artemisia and Mausolus ruled from Halicarnassus over the surrounding territory for twenty-four years. Mausolus, although descended from local people, spoke Greek and admired the Greek way of life and government. He founded many cities of Greek design along the coast and encouraged Greek democratic traditions. In 353 BC, Mausolus died, leaving Artemisia to rule alone. As a tribute to him, she decided to build him a tomb so famous that Mausolus’s name is now the eponym for all stately tombs, in the word mausoleum. The construction was also so beautiful and unique it became one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Little known fact: Mausolus worshipped his father, who was beloved by his people. To absorb some of his father’s fine qualities, Mausolus poured his father’s ashes into a goblet of wine and drank it.
The Greek god Artemis was worshipped in many temples and statuary, including the Temple of Diana in Ephesus (like the mausoleum, now destroyed). One such statue was carved in bronze, a jockey riding a horse, which was the model for the movie “Boy on a Dolphin.” The jockey boy is in an Athens Museum, which I have viewed, and is renowned as “the jockey boy of Artemission.”
DISCOVERY CHANNEL GUT WRENCHERS
One episode showed some hardy souls entering a dark cave where they located and trapped an 8 foot rattlesnake. Scary step by step approach to the monster. The next episode showed equally daring marine biologists reaching into the womb of a great white shark to help it birth a breeched baby.
WHERE HAVE ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS GONE
There was a time when even small regional carriers attracted bright, young very pretty girls to be stewardesses (now called attendants). The major airlines were noted for the beauty of their female air crews. Arabs may insist that their women cover their faces but I once flew from Paris to Abu Dhabi on Emirates Air; all the stewardesses were tall blond Norwegians and Swedes. Same phenomenon on a Gulf Air flight from Bombay to Bahrain; off duty, they converged to display their bikini-clad assets around a Gulf Air-owned pool. Today, the scene has changed. On the American flight from SAN to DCA, one stewardess looked like she came in second in a casting call to remake “Bride of Frankenstein.” The economy class stewardess had hips a rhino would envoy; had to walk sideways down the aisle. In the old days, Pan Am made its stewardesses maintain a certain weight, and the rumor was that their bust, waist and hips had to be a certain ratio. As the unlamented TV show “Pan Am” illustrated, many of these your ladies enjoyed robust lives, especially the girls selected for international flights. Back in the last century, when I was the special assistant for narcotics in the Rockefeller administration, I became friends with the Pan Am stewardess in first class on a flight into NY, who invited me to a party that night in Greenwich Village. The party was rocking along (I decided not to notice the weed smokers and cocaine sniffers), but a young man who was an intern in the State legislature recognized me and shouted, “He’s a narc.” I was asked to leave. The Pan Am stewardess did not return my calls. A bit more successful with certain European stewardesses, especially Scandinavian, who had a demonstrable lust for life, and relationships ended at sunrise. There was a weekend in Stockholm — but that’s another story. There are many different ways to promote diplomatic relations with foreigners.
JOSEPH P KENNEDY III
All indications are that RFK’s grandson, who just won the Massachusetts Democratic primary to succeed Barney Frank in Congress, is known to one and all as simply “Joe.” Thank heavens we won’t see a Yankee replication of the adoration in Washington for Robert Griffin III, who insists on being referred to in the media as “RGIII.” And the local media comply. My roommate at Oklahoma was Lemuel David Walker III, a tall aristocratic scion from Mississippi. No one called him LDWIII, just plain Lem. I am so tired of the RGIII pandering; I hope the Saints knock him down a letter or two. I am a Giants fan.
HAVE A BEER
President Obama continues to make news by offering beer, most recently White House brewskies to firemen. In 1954, when Senator Robert S. Kerr, a staunch Baptist, was running for re-election, he wanted to make sure he carried three small towns in Oklahoma (Luther, Boley and Jay) which at that time were primarily colored. Lem and I were asked to drive over there and do some politicking. As we were loading the car with campaign paraphernalia, a Kerr aide came out to the car, and informed us we were not properly equipped. “ Before these folks will listen to two white college boys, you have to be accepted.” So, we were told to get a #10 wash tub, fill it with ice and Progress, a 3.2 beer. Well, it was about 100 degrees that day; we rolled into town, pulled up in front of a feed store, and stopped every man walking by, white and black, telling them “Bob Kerr wants you to have a beer.” Really welcome. We had to keep our pitch short because these prospective voters, having slaked their thirst, would leave as soon as they had finished. Not sure the Senator who I think may have been a teetotaller, knew about our tactic; when I sat with him in Washington two years later, he frowned when I told him the story.
Had other adventures with Lem including a famous party on the lake, but I can’t provide details; some of those OU girls have been happily married for more than 50 years to guys who were not at that party.
BLESS YOU GABBY
Many a tear formed when former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords strode to the podium and led the Democratic National Convention in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. I greatly admire Giffords for her valiant effort to recover from that horrific gunshot; I also admire her close friend Debby Wasserman Schultz who has been at her side throughout the ordeal and was there again Thursday night in Charlotte.
A TOUCH OF CLASS
Music to march off to war, or play a game, or make love – our history is embedded in our songs.
As mentioned in a previous potpourri, I wrapped myself in warm memories at the Premier national championship when the announcer played Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade. And, I am sure many others of Irish descent felt a rush of pride when that Irish girl won an Olympic medal, and the band played Danny Boy. France doesn’t win many medals at the Olympics, but every Frenchman knows the lyrics to la Marseillaise and sang it lustily in London. Of course, some selections can be seen as inappropriate. At West Point, on April 15, 1957, the enlisted personnel had to assembly each morning on one end of the post for the raising of the American flag, just like the cadets on the Grounds. On April 15, known to some as Confederate Memorial Day, when everyone was assembled, the loudspeaker blared a stirring rendition of Dixie, as the Stars and Bars, the old Rebel battle flag, was hoisted over the company commander’s office. Never knew what happened to Frenchie Heroux after the MPs led him off. Wouldn’t do today, of course; that ol’ boy heard some strange sounds in his head. The Old South was changing and Frenchie went back to New Orleans not knowing that his world had slipped beneath the bayou. During the civil rights marches, when other reporters and I walked along side, I would look at the crowds on the curb, wondering if I would see him (certainly saw others like him).
Seldom has a melody been more heavily dramatic than Andy Williams singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic at the end of the funeral Mass in Saint Patrick’s for Robert Kennedy.
When six of my friends carry me out feet first, the Mass, before, during and after, will include the German ballad To My Elizabeth (great grandmother); the Ave Maria by a soprano like Rise Stevens, Danny Boy by an Irish tenor; and the Edith Piaf version of La Vie en Rose.” Exiting, I want a mariachi group playing Adios Muchachos. And at the grave, a mournful trumpet playing Taps while a barkeep pours a glass of Tullamore Dew on the grave. True Irishmen know it as the tears of Saint Patrick.