Category Archives: Potpourri

9-9-2016 Girouard to Louisiana Hall of Fame

Girouard Selected For Enshrinement in Louisiana Softball Hall of Fame

 

HAMMOND, La. – Former LSU softball head coach Yvette Girouard was announced as one of the honorees for the 2016 Class of the Louisiana Softball Hall of Fame the ASA/USA Softball of Louisiana organization announced.

 

Girouard is one of 12 inductees that will be recognized and put into the hall on October 29 at 5 p.m. at the New Orleans Airport-Crowne Plaza Hotel. Tickets are available for purchase for the event for $35 at usasoftball.net or by calling (985) 507-0092.

 

With 1,285 career victories, Girouard has the fourth-most wins of any coach, retired or active, in NCAA softball history, earning 526 of them during her 11-year run at the helm of the LSU program. She earned two Women’s College World Series appearances, winning the SEC regular season and tournament title three times.

 

With 30-consecutive winning seasons under her belt, Girouard’s teams at UL-Lafayette, and LSU, won nine conference championships, racked up 10 national Top 10 finishes, earned 20 NCAA Regional appearances and are no strangers to Oklahoma City. She became just the third coach in NCAA history to steer two programs to the Women’s College World Series when she led LSU during the 2001 and 2004 seasons after taking UL-Lafayette to a trio of WCWS appearances in the 1990s.

 

The Broussard, Louisiana, can now add Louisiana Softball Hall of Fame member to her illustrious list of accomplishments including being recently inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame, among others.

 

For all of the latest news and information on Tiger softball, visit www.lsusports.net/softball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball along with @lsusoftball and @BethTorina on Twitter and @lsusb on Instagram.

 

 

 

 

4-2-2016 Stolen bonds, the Gestapo and the KGB

Editor’s note: the following story has no relationship to softball, but is too long for Facebook.  It concerns people who play a different kind of hardball.

STOLEN BONDS, THE Gestapo, and the KGB

Among the many penalties imposed on the Weimar Republic were reparations sought by France and Germany for the costs of WWI. Lacking the millions in the Bundesbank sought by the Allies, the Bundesbank issued millions of dollars in bearer bonds, which were sold to investors in Germany and elsewhere in 1928. The offering raised enough money to pay the underwriting costs borne by J,P. Morgran.

In 30 years, the investors could redeem the bonds at face value. A major purchaser of the bonds was the bundesbank itself, bonds which lay in storage in Berlin throughout WWII.

The amount sought by Britain and France, who had not only carved up the oil bearing lands in the Middle East – British Petroleum and ELF were major negotiators at Versailles when the diplomats sought peace in our time (Chamberlain) but lay the groundwork for a second world war – were excessive and a major factor in the rise of the National Socialist Workers Party – Nazi.

This potboiler came to light in 1968 when investors began redeeming bearer bonds, which did not require proof of ownership.

But some bonds being submitted for redemption had supposedly never been issued by the bundesbank. The simmering pot boiled over when it was discovered that a number of bonds had been used as collateral for loans made by certain banks in Eastern Europe. When the Bundesbank balked, the creditors sued and the German courts ruled the Bundesbank had to pay because the bonds were made payable by the German government to bearer.

An investigation led German intelligence to conclude that the Soviet Army, when not raping every female from 6 to 90, and stealing all possible scientific and industrial machinery, had stolen all manner of financial instruments, including millions in bearer bonds. Investigaton revealed that some of the new entrepreneurs financing business in Eastern Europe were former KGB officers.

In due course, the West German government presented a demand in Moscow, The denials included “what Soviet Army; there is no longer a Soviet Union or Soviet army.”

Germany was able to thwart some of the East European deals and deny payment on some of the bonds.

The investigation also revealed that officials in Hitler’s Third Reich had also capitalized on the bonds. I have copies of three such bonds approved for payment with the Third Reich stamp. Given to me by a Bundesbank officials during a vodka-hued night at the old Adlon in Berlin, once a favorite of Nazis. I first heard the story from a retired official at his chateau in the south of France. And confirmed it through discussions with banking and intelligence people in Warsaw and Geneva, as well as Berlin and Moscow, where some discussions were held in an old dacha outside Moscow – you never know who is listening when meetings are held in ministry buildings, a Russian foreign service officer told me.

 

I thought of this matter and one other this past week reading in the Wall St Journal that the large US and European banks had declined to bid on bonds being offered by the Russian Cantral Bank. The publicly expressed concern was that the Putin government would use the funds to support actions in violation of US sanctions.

But I wondered whether some of this reluctance reflected a long-term reticence to get involved with Russian bonds.

There was an incident in the mid-90s when a Russian bank offered financial assistance to a South American country, which was widely hailed in that nation’s capitol – and by the US Ambassador. He was furious when I told bankers from that country that the Russian bank did not have the assets to perform. Our Ambassador flew to Washington, and stormed through the State Department accusing me of undermining the economy of a key ally. But, when I was challenged by the Under Secretary, I provided the secret financial data on the Russian bank. I refused to name my source but did inform the CIA of the identity of the Russian banking source who was known to them. We had one meeting at a hotel in McLean VA near CIA headquarters. We also met in the Lubyanka, KGB headquarters in Moscow. The Russians joked that I had been deeper inside the former Czarist prison than any American who was not in chains.

 

11-7-2015 A MILESTONE ACHIEVED

NOVEMBER 7 1935

 

In 1972 A fortune teller in Istanbul predicted I would die bloody before the end of the century.

I did indeed shed some blood in the ears which followed.

But, today, November 7 2015, I am celebrating my 80th birthday.

Not in fighting trim like my 40th,strolling down blvd St Germain in Paris, but loving life.

Paris 1971 001

 

10-25-2015 A Yankee Lament

There was a time when October weather was crisp, the atmosphere electric,
because the Yankees were in the World Series.
The newspapers – the Times, Daily
News, Journal American, world Telegram, Herald Tribune, Mirror – had whole
sections devoted to the teams and players, with superb analysis by Jimmy Cannon,
Red Smith and others who were as familiar as rock stars.  Every office echoed
with transistors reporting every moment with commentary by Mel Allen, Red Barber
and company.
Every New Yorker had an opinion, from the Mayor to the dock
workers.
The glue which held it together and raised anticipation in double
digit degrees was the New York Yankees.
Yes, the Giants had supporters, so did
the Dodgers, but the Yankees elevated the game of baseball – love them or hate
them, they defined the game. Yankee Stadium was baseball’s cathedral.
Those
great Yankees are gone, so are the media and scribes who chronicled their lives.
Football and especially the NFL dominates the national sports scene.
I treasure
the memories from those .New York years – post game drinks at Toots, talking to
the pols at Pj Clark’s, great steaks at Sheins, spaghetti at Villa Pena,
exquisite delicacies at the bakeries in Little Italy, lobster bisque at Any
number of seafood houses, cheesecake at Sardis.
But mostly I miss the Yankees
of legend. Namath’s Jets were a phenomenon like a starburst but the Yankees were
seemingly forever.  I am grateful for both their memories and the many games I
saw when they were in their prime.

Listen to Abbott and Costello

In the 40s, Abbott and Costello were prized funny men.  One of their great routines was “Who’s on First.”  Don’t know who wrote this comical harpoon.

NOW WE KNOW HOW WASHINGTON FIGURES OUR RATES!!!

 COSTELLO :  I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America  .
 
ABBOTT: Good Subject.  Terrible Times.  It’s 5.6%.
 
COSTELLO:  That many people are out of work?
 
ABBOTT: No, that’s 23%. 
 
COSTELLO: You just said 5.6%.
 
ABBOTT:  5.6% Unemployed.
 
COSTELLO:  Right 5.6% out of work.
 
ABBOTT: No, that’s 23%.
 
COSTELLO: Okay, so it’s  23% unemployed.
 
ABBOTT: No, that’s 5.6%.
 
COSTELLOWAIT A MINUTE. Is it 5.6% or 23%?
 
ABBOTT: 5.6% are unemployed.  23% are out of work.
 
COSTELLO: If you are out of work you are unemployed.
 
ABBOTTNo, Congress said you can’t count the “Out of Work” as the unemployed.  You have to look for work to be unemployed.
 
COSTELLO: BUT THEY ARE OUT OF WORK!!!
 
ABBOTT: No, you miss his point.
 
COSTELLO:  What point?
 
ABBOTTSomeone who doesn’t look for work can’t be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn’t be fair.
 
COSTELLO: To whom?
 
ABBOTT: The unemployed. 
 
COSTELLO: But ALL of them are out of work. 
 
ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.
 
COSTELLO: So if you’re off the unemployment roles that would count as less unemployment?
 
ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!
 
COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don’t look for work?
 
ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes  down. That’s how it gets to 5.6%. Otherwise it would be 23%.
COSTELLO : Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number? 
 
ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.
 
COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?
 
ABBOTT: Correct.
 
COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?
 
ABBOTT: Bingo. 
 
COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have people stop looking for work.
 
ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like an Economist.
 
COSTELLO:  I don’t even know what the hell I just said! 
 
ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like a Politician.