Sunday, March 1, 2015

February Top 10

Here comes the February top ten.

1. The Cubes Are Coming, The Cubes Are Coming profiles our in-laws' "Cargotecture" apartment development project in Huntsville, Texas. This story yields a classic view of how information migrates across the Internet. We keyed off of a local newspaper story in the Huntsville Item Online to draft our post. For a few days our post was shared around Facebook and Twitter, creating an initial cluster of page views. Then five days later, a local NBC television affiliate picked up the story, and broadcast a spiffy two minute news spot, pushing another spate of page views. The day after that, USA Today jumped on board, surging yet more views. There have been a couple of more stories since. So it is that the late month posting of "The Cubes Are Coming, The Cubes Are Coming" climbed to the top.

KAGS News feature on Cube Square.

2. It's as if someday this two-year old post will have been read by everyone who we grew up with. Growing Up in Morton Grove is the story of the place and times where and when we grew up in the 1950s, 60s and early 70s. It was among the first of our reminiscent posts. The popularity of this look back on our youth has contrived, with others, us to push our subject mix in favor of yarns of what was. People love stories -- as do we.

Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, current honorary starters
at The Masters, crossing Hogans bridge on the 12th hole of Augusta Natl.
3. Brutal February winter weather drives us all to yearn for the warmth and renewal of spring. So it is no surprise that The Masters (Repost) caught on fire in the coldest month. Visions of verdant green fairways, dazzling azaleas, bright blossoming daffodils and magnificent magnolias warm a person's soul. Our reminisce here is that as a youth we caddied for an octogenarian who was one of the original two honorary Masters starters. When Jock Hutchison told me about his friend Bobby Jones and related he was a multiple major winner, who had once been Open Champion, and prevailed in the PGA Championship, I silently scoffed. Oh well, sorry Mr. Hutchison, we live and we learn. We are pleased you are now recognized in the World Golf Hall of Fame and are honored we had the opportunity to tote your bag.

John Swearingen tussled with Jimmy Carter's Energy
Secretary, James Schlesinger, on CBS's "Face the Nation."
4. Many people who work in large organizations will stop at nothing and stoop to anything to get access to the guys or gals at the top. When we were a teenage caddie we had direct and unimpeded access to many of these leaders and hardly realized it. You could have knocked me over with the feather the evening that I learned John Swearingen was president and chairman of the board of Standard Oil (Indiana). Read about the man and his Southern belle wife in John and Bonnie: A Profile in Oil, Finance, Politics and High Society.

5. There is not much left of Bathgate, North Dakota, but our posts on the same draw plenty attention. Our postings started with On the Road to Bathgate Act 1: "Fargo" the Movie. The winter the Coen brothers' movie was shot, key scenes were staged in or near Bathgate, not because of scenic landscape, but due to snow, or I should say the dearth of snow that season in Minnesota. Hosting the movie production was the most exciting thing to happen to Bathgate since, say 1879, which would be the year my great grandfather homesteaded the quarter section of land which became Bathgate.

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Plat of Foster's Addition to Bathgate, North Dakota.

6. When I began researching family roots, I understood that I had an uncle Lyn. But I did not know I had a great uncle Lyn. We introduced ourselves to the latter in On the Road to Bathgate Act 7a: Introducing Lyndon King Armstrong -- Pharmacist, Engineer, Miner, Publisher and Association Leader. From Minnesota, to North Dakota, to Montana, to Idaho and on to Washington state, Lyndon K. Armstrong led a hell of a life. Through this post my grandmother's brother lives on.

7. Speaking of my uncle Lyn, the post on him is number seven on the February list. The disabled World War I vet, after recovering, moved to California and launched there an extraordinary life. The man never saw an election he did not like. 
Few have run for political office so many times; few have repetitively lost by such consistently huge margins. The man did not know how to give up. Lyndon R. Foster ran for local, state and federal offices, some multiple times. He was an advocate for freedom -- freedom from tyranny, freedom of speech and the press, freedom of religion and freedom from the fraud, abuse, overreaching and waste of big government. He earned the distinction of being the most prolific and yet the least successful of the Foster family politicians. But, as will be seen, he bumped up against more than a little important history along the way. 
If you have not already done so, go ahead, you will find On the Road to Bathgate Act 4f: Lyndon R. Foster -- Veteran, Publisher and Politician a worthwhile read. 

8. There are two ways to look at the community where I grew up. The first is it was a bucolic, safe and cozy wooded suburb where Beaver Cleaver would have felt totally at home. The second is that it was the home of illicit gambling, dance halls and booze, arson, murder and gang wars. Both views are correct. Read about the most notorious source of the mischief in Morton Grove Before the Baby Boom: The Complete Story of The Dells.

Fred Pacelli was slain in The Dells with hundreds in attendance; there were no eye witnesses. Chicago Tribune, June 17, 1932
9.  It was fun while it lasted. Bozeman had a premature spring preview in early February. A reporter for the local NBC television affiliate showed up at Cottonwood Hills golf course and cornered owner/manger Bobby Quick and a couple of us old timers for an interview. The February golf course opening had caught me by surprise. I had no opportunity to trim the winter beard and discard other accouterments of the winter mountain man look. Alas, I am glad I did not make the change. We have plunged back into hard winter. See it while the getting was good in Cottonwood Hills Friday.

Grady Foster, Golfer at 1:10. Who is that?

While gusty winds made it less than ideal to ski, it didn't stop golfers from hitting the greens.

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10. I had fired Brian Williams ten years back. It looks like the rest of the world has caught up. We related this makes us sad, not happy in The Brian Williams Affair.

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