Posts Tagged ‘children’
* Iris Murdoch
As we try transliteration, we might send thoughtful birthday greetings to Umberto Eco; he was born on this date in 1932. Most widely known as a novelist (primarily for his international best seller The Name of the Rose), Eco was also a literary critic, philosopher, and university professor highly-regarded in academic circles for his contributions to semiology.
An occasional translator, Eco once remarked, “translation is the art of failure.”
The results of a “play census” of Cleveland children taken on June 23, 1913, disturbed Harvard education professor George E. Johnson. “Of the 7358 children reported to have been playing,” Johnson wrote in a 1915 report on the state of children’s play in the city:
… 3171 were reported to have been playing by doing some of the following things: fighting, teasing, pitching pennies, shooting craps, stealing apples, ‘roughing a peddler,’ chasing chickens, tying cans to a dog, etc., but most of them were reported to have been ‘just fooling’ — not playing anything in particular.
We now fret over children’s overscheduled, oversupervised lives, but Johnson was convinced that what the children of Cleveland needed was more adult influence, not less. His fascinating report paints what he meant to be a dark picture of a city full of kids running wild: playing in the street, going to the movies when they pleased, and putting together loose groups for games of “scrub baseball”…
As we conclude that surely there’s a middle path (and that we’ll get around to trying to find it after we finish playing), we might recall that it was on this date in 1927, in Yankee Stadium that boxers Jack Dempsey and Jack Sharkey squared off…
Dempsey’s last bout had been been a devastating decision loss to Gene Tunney in 1926 – his first competitive bout in three years and the last in which he wore the heavyweight championship belt. Feeling robbed after “the long count” and hungry to regain his championship status, Dempsey went into training to face future champion Jack Sharkey. The winner would face Tunney.
The bout did not go well for Dempsey, who by ‘27 was a shadow of his former glory. The Manassa Mauler was beaten soundly both from the outside (row 1, gif 1) and inside (row 1, gif 2 and row 2, gif 1). By the fifth round, Dempsey was sporting two cuts – one over his right eye, one under his left – and a bloody nose and mouth. Always a warrior, Dempsey refused to deviate from his game plan, locking himself into the clinch or half-clinch and delivering blows to Sharkey’s abdomen all the while Sharkey was cracking his head open.
In the sixth round, some of these blows started to go one or two inches south of the belt line – a foul that, in Dempsey’s heyday, was to be ignored (similarly, clinching is actually listed as a foul under the Marquess of Queensberry rules, but it has evolved as part of modern boxing, and fouls are very seldom called for holding). The referee warned Dempsey once in that round and again in the seventh, but when Dempsey landed another, Sharkey, who had had enough, deviated from the cardinal rule (“protect yourself at all times”) and turned his head to complain to the referee. Seeing his opponent open, Dempsey landed a short left hook to Sharkey’s jaw. Sharkey crumpled, blindsided by the unexpected punch and still suffering from Dempsey’s low blow.
The referee, who hadn’t recognized Dempsey’s body shot as low, began the count. Sharkey, clutching at his crotch, couldn’t rise in time. Dempsey had won the bout and a rematch with Tunney. Controversy abounded.
For his part, Dempsey was dismissive. “It’s all in the game,” he would later say. “What was I supposed to do, write him a letter?”
Lyla Hogan (favorite food: “good ice cream in a hard cone”) reviews the French Laundry, which Anthony Bourdain has called “the best restaurant in the world, period.” (It won that title officially in 2003 and 2004 and is still the #1 restaurant in California and #3 in the country.) Lyla is the youngest person ever to eat a full tasting menu in the storied dining room.
Given the widespread and well-earned prestige of the restaurant, it’s not difficult to find countless multiple-syllable reviews from professional critics. Bold Italic demonstrates that there is no purer critique than the facial expressions of a teeny tiny child.
[TotH to @nextdraft]
* Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker
As we obsess about wine pairings, we might send birthday greetings to Macaulay Carson Culkin; he was born on this date in 1980. Like Lyla, Culkin began his career when he was four years old, appearing in New York theater productions. He made his feature film debut alongside Burt Lancaster in 1988’s Rocket Gibraltar; then In 1989 appeared in the John Hughes comedy Uncle Buck with John Candy. But Culkin would skyrocket to fame as Kevin McCallister in Hughes’ 1990 blockbuster Home Alone. He went on to start in the Home Alone sequels, then in 1991 became the first child star to earn $1 million for a film role in My Girl. At the height of his fame, he was regarded as the most successful child actor since Shirley Temple– indeed, Culkin ranks number two on VH1’s list of the “100 Greatest Kid-Stars” and E!’s list of the “50 Greatest Child Stars.”
After parcel post service was introduced in 1913, at least two children were sent by the service. With stamps attached to their clothing, the children rode with railway and city carriers to their destination. The Postmaster General quickly issued a regulation forbidding the sending of children in the mail after hearing of those examples.
[TotH to Neatorama]
As we compare the price of an airplane seat to the fee for an extra checked bag, we might recall that it was on this date in 1935 that the world’s first parking meter (Park-O-Meter No. 1, AKA “the Black Maria”) was installed on the southeast corner of what was then First Street and Robinson Avenue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The design, by Holger George Thuesen and Gerald A. Hale, was done for Carl Magee, who patented and installed the device.
Magee, a journalist who’d earlier helped expose the Teapot Dome Scandal, and whose day job in 1935 was editor of the Oklahoma City News, is perhaps best remembered as coiner (more accurately adaptor, from Dante) of publisher E.W. Scripps Company’s motto: “Give Light and the People Will Find Their Own Way.”
Magee and the Meter (source)