Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Monday, June 28, 2004
Sunday, June 27, 2004
Horrocks Youker was my great uncle. While his legacy doesn't involve issue, he never married, he did collect more treasure than any other relative. The items from his collection, while somewhat obscure, and not of immense value, never fail to fascinate me.
Uncle Horrocks died in 1982. I have inherited some of the items that he accumulated over his lifetime. Last year, Horrocks' sister Hilda, my grandmother, gave us another item acquired by Horrocks during his many years in upstate New York. This rare piece of correspondence was written by Adalbert Perry, corporal in the New York infantry, in May of 1861.
Mr. Nicklas Moyer
Herkimer County, New York
Albany, May 23rd, 1861
I now take my pen in hand to let you know that haint forgot you yet. I wish you was down here to see us and see how we live. we have enough to eat but it is coarse. we don't have no pie or cake as I did at home but I am getting fat as a hog. I wish you was down here yesterday to see us inspected and see Jake Casler. the doctor struck him in the breast and how he did cough. That did not do any good as the doctor said he was all sound. that makes him feel bad. that dont do any good. the boys is all happy they want to go south. they are sick of Albany. We have a good time here altogether. I want you to tell all of [the] boys that [ ] all right. Tell Tom Flansby and Dan Fl I wish I could be there and drink with them. we drill about 21 hours in a day. we have got good officers and we are all for the union and the Stars and Stripes. I am corporal over the gard. to night when I write this letter, we have 80 men and they are good ones to. we will show you what old Herkimer co[unty] can do if we have to fight. I think I will come home when I get my uniform if i can. if you see any of my folks tell them we are all right and I would like to hear from them. i have wrote to them but they haint to me. now I don't care if they dont. I wrote to Tom Flansby and he haint answered my letter. I know where my friends is now. that is all a soldier cares for is letters but I dont get any. I dont want you to forget and write and let me know how things is there. it is great here. there is 16 hundred of us boards in one house and we have rats once and a while but we don't mind that a bit for we are [used] to it now. So dont forget and write.
So Good by at Present
From Adalbert Perry
Company A, 38th Regiment
Direct your letter to me in care of [ ] , Company A 38 Reg
I conducted some follow-up research on Adalbert Perry that produced curious results. I could not find record of him in the 38th regiment, but an independent source listed him in the 34th New York regiment by June, 1861. It also listed Jake Casler, who was mentioned by name in the letter. The 34th saw a lot of action during 1862-1863 including Antietam and Fredericksburg. Oddly, the envelope is postmarked May 4, and the letter is dated May 23. This indicates that the letter recipient probably received more than one letter from the author.
A better explanation of the 38th into the 34th here.
Update (2/14/11): Adelbert Perry was appointed to a committee of New York 34th regiment Antietam veterans for the purpose of erecting a battlefield monument. Laws of the State of New York, Vol Two, Page 1764. (1901).
Thursday, June 24, 2004
Mike Watt visited Lawrence at least twice during my college radio days. In May 1985, The Minutemen played "Day on the Green Hill", in the union ballroom due to inclement weather. I missed my chance to hang out with the band when I was asked if they could come back to my place and use the shower. I lived in an Oread mansion at 1340 Tennessee and the shower was a rig job under the stairs in the basement. Too econo even for the minutemen, I thought. They may have ended up using the showers at Robinson Gymnasium, much as Mike Mills did during the R.E.M. show at Hoch the previous fall.
Following D. Boon's untimely death, Mike returned to Lawrence in the summer of 1986 with fIREHOSE. They toured with Sonic Youth and both bands played The Outhouse. It was a small crowd. I estimate 50 people saw a great show.
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Shawnee Mission South grad John Ritland was there and he answered these questions:
FJ: What's your most vivid memory of the SM South WHO concert?
JR: In a nutshell, my shock at the unbelievable aural and visual power of their performance, and the accompanying disbelief that it was happening in the gym of my high school. A DJ from a local radio station (probably WHB) came out on stage following the opening act (The Bobby Soul Group) and tossed out souvenirs and promo items. The photo of the surging crowd on my website was taken at that time. Then the curtains parted and THE WHO exploded. I remember in particular them performing A Quick One, Boris the Spider, Happy Jack, and I Can See For Miles.
FJ: Did you stick around for the Buckinghams? Was it "kind of a drag"?
JR: Yes, I stayed for the "headliners." I was never a big fan of the Buckinghams, but they actually played pretty decent R&B and Soul for a bunch of white guys. Pity them for having to follow THE WHO that night.
FJ: How accessible were the band members before and after the show?
JR: In hindsight, probably more than I realized at the time. I just didn't pursue it.
FJ: The guy who owned "The Hawk" at KU, I don't remember his name, but his nickname was "The Count", he told me the guys from THE WHO and some South students went out driving muscle cars on the back roads of Johnson County. Any memory of that?
JR: No, I had not heard that, but I don't doubt it. Good story.
FJ: Was the South faculty uptight at all about the show?
JR: I doubt they were uptight prior to the show, but only because they did not know what was coming. However, at the conclusion of THE WHO's set, with the screaming feedback, smoke bombs, pieces of Moon's drum kit rolling in several directions, Daltry thrashing his microphone on the stage floor, and Townshend smashing his guitar over his amplifier, I think it is safe to assume some faculty members were very anxious and nervous.
FJ: Was that your first rock concert? My first show was also THE WHO, but not until 1980 at Kemper arena, with the Pretenders opening. Did you catch that one by chance?
JR: My first rock concert was the Dave Clark Five, before a screaming mob at Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium in 1964. Like the Beatles at the time, they did not have a PA, just small stage amps. You could not hear them. And yes, I did attend the 1980 WHO show at Kemper, but with some sadness as I recall. Keith Moon had died a couple years earlier, and they were never the same without him. Kenny Jones did not seem to be a good fit. Other than the SM South concert, my most memorable WHO concert was in Kansas City's Freedom Palace in July of 1970, shortly after the release of Live at Leeds, and prior to Who's Next. They were at their absolute peak at that time, but were hampered that night by electrical failures. Townshend in his white boiler suit and black boots, Daltry in his Woodstock fringe vest, Entwistle in his skeleton suit, and Moon was just a blur.
FJ: Your web page has a lot of concert snapshots. And it looks like you attended KU. What's your favorite Hoch auditorium concert memory?
JR: John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra was a terrific show. Also, BB King and Bonnie Raitt with Martin Mull was excellent. Both were around 1973 - 1974.
FJ: Any chance you saw the National Lampoon "Lemmings" road show, circa 1974 at Hoch?
JR: No, unfortunately I missed that one. It would have been a rare opportunity to see some of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live. I don't know where I was or what I was doing that evening, but I was in the wrong place for sure.
FJ: Do you still live in the K.C. area?
JR: I live in the South of France. No wait, make that Omaha, NE.
JR: The four photos I have on my website from the WHO concert at SM South were taken by a school staff photographer. A few days after the show, they had a table set up in the hall and were selling 8 x 10 glossy prints for a buck apiece. I bought only these four, most likely because I only had 4 dollars. I would love to see other photos from the
show, and include them on my website. I know they're out there somewhere. And I would like to confirm who took the photos (probably either Clyde Byers or Bruce Zimmerman) and give proper credit. If anyone can direct me to additional photos, or help with the identity of the photographer, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, June 21, 2004
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
FJ: Was this your first trip to Normandy? Give me your impressions of the landscape and the graveyard.
LR: It was my third trip to Normandy and it won't be my last. I have yet to visit the famous Pegasus Bridge along with Gold, Sword and Juno beaches, which were taken by British and Canadian forces on D-Day. Like most Americans, the cemetery at Omaha Beach is the most powerful for me. When I look out over the sea of crosses and stars of David, I am overcome with an understanding that these men truly were among the greatest generation of Americans. They fought the good fight for all the right reasons. Anyone who doubts France's gratitude to the U.S. for the sacrifices of WWII need only go to Normandy to put their minds at rest. These people have never forgotten what the allied forces did for them and they're making sure their grandchildren don't forget either.
FJ: What surprised you the most about the WWII veterans you encountered?
LR: Just how spry they all remain and what great memories they have. They're so patriotic, I get choked up writing about them. They're mostly just folks. Some are kind and some are grumpy, but they're all great to me because of their incredible sacrifice for the people of Europe and for democracy. They give me hope because they represent what's best about America. I'm so saddened by our disjointed and partisan society of today. They remind me of what Americans are capable of when we work together. I know that sounds terribly sentimental, but it's so true.
FJ: You weren't the only North grad in Normandy that day. Tell me the story.
LR: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and fellow SMN graduate Richard Myers attended one of the events I covered in St. Mere Eglise, France. I was following him and photographing him with WWII paratroopers and he turned to me and asked me if I'd take his picture with one the veterans.
"Sure," I said, "anything for a Shawnee Mission North graduate."
He stopped and smiled and said, "I suppose you went to Hocker Grove too?"
"Yes sir, as a matter of fact, I did." We chatted for a moment and then went back to work. He's a very polite man.
FJ: Sometimes you go from shooting a pop culture event like the academy awards to a ceremony remembering our fallen war dead. How do you prepare yourself emotionally for such contrasting assignments?
LR: That's a good question Fowler because it does take a toll on me. It is hard for me to look at the pomp and circumstance that surrounds celebrity events. The public has a voracious appetite for entertainment news so I take it very seriously and do my best, but it doesn't come easy. You know in Russia, they revere their writers, painters and scientists they way we revere our movie stars and athletes. Don't get me wrong, I love sports and I love the movies, but they're leisure activities. It's difficult for me to watch the value placed on winning an Oscar. That so and so is a brilliant actor and made so many sacrifices for this picture or that picture. Please, it's called doing your job. Why isn't there an Academy Award equivalent for teachers, scientists or drug researchers?
FJ: People may not realize that in addition to being a talented photographer, you're also a very capable writer. When will we see more of your pen?
LR: You're very kind. I just wrote a short piece about Cirque du Soliel to go with a series of images I did on Cirque in Las Vegas. It's so difficult to write and shoot well at the same time so I'm not doing it much anymore. I do think about writing a book someday on some of my observations as a journalist. It would be awfully personal, though, so I may not have the guts to do it.
FJ: What's the most important lesson you learned while working for the University Daily Kansan?
LR: Make deadline and get the name and hometown of the person I photographed. It sounds simple, but it serves me well in my current job.
FJ: What instructor at K.U. had the biggest impact on your work?
LR: Paul Jess taught me to be a journalist. Wally Emerson taught me to see pictures. Mike Kautsch taught me to be responsible and to tell the truth. Mary Wallace believed in me the most. I would say the journalism school at KU is a classic example of the sum of its total being greater than its parts. It was a place of excellence and it challenged me not to fail. No other institution has ever done so much for me, that's why I remain such a loyal alumna.
FJ: Who are the photo-journalists working today that you idolize?
LR: War photographer and Seven agency founder Jim Nachtwey is the best there is and the best there ever was. Fellow Seven photographers Christopher Morris, John Stanmeyer and Ron Haviv are brilliant. I've recently discovered Getty photographer Ami Vitale and just love her work. I'm also a big fan of several Associated Press photographers: Jerome Delay, John Moore, Amy Sancetta, Lefteris Pitarakis and David Guttenfelder, just to name a few.
FJ: While working for the Wichita Eagle newspaper, your photos of a refurbished Air Force One received wide exposure. What did you think about that at the time? What year was that?
LR: How do you know about this? You're amazing, you really should have been a reporter.
I was on my way to shoot a baseball game and my editor called and told me it was my lucky day and to get over to Boeing. The new Air Force One was being delivered a month early because of Gulf War I and they needed a pool photographer to document it before the Air Force took possession of it. It was 1990, I believe, and my resales on the pictures changed my income bracket that year ( I also learned a lot about taxes). Nearly fifteen years later it's my understanding that those photos remain the only commercial images of the inside of Air Force One. By the way, the people of Wichita are really proud to have built that jet.
See more of Laura's work or read another Rauch interview.
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
My first encounter with Coach Brown was in the spring of 1984. I was a freshman at K.U. and Larry was in his first year as basketball coach of the Jayhawks. As a producer for the public affairs call-in show on KJHK, I was learning the pitfalls of scheduling in studio guests. Show hosts Stu Wright and Craig Westhoff gave me a short list of local celebrities to book on the show: Gene Budig, Larry Brown, and William H. Burroughs. I went 0 for 3 by term's end. But one night when I was pretending to study at my Oliver Hall dorm room desk, the phone rang. It was Larry Brown returning my call.
"Hello, Fowler? Hi, this is Larry Brown. I'm sorry I can't do the talk show..."
He was the only one of the big three to give this freshman a personal return call.
And if you don't believe me, stop and consider how Burroughs might have fared at the helm. No way he goes four games to one against Shaq and Kobe in the finals. No way. And Budig, he's a baseball fan. So forget it. Larry Brown is the man.
Monday, June 14, 2004
When I was a junior in high school I had a subscription to Time Magazine. I didn't clip many articles. In fact, during the entire year of my subscription, I saved exactly one clipping. I found it tonight tucked away in a box full of old things in the basement. It's Roger Rosenblatt's essay on heroism and the human condition called The Man in the Water.
Saturday, June 12, 2004
Friday, June 11, 2004
But Twin Peaks was a great show for many reasons. It was a murder mystery wrapped in super-natural horror, with comic flare unequalled by Picket Fences, Northern Exposure, or any other poser. Twin Peaks was the real deal. I think the show lagged for a bit after the resolution of the Laura Palmer arc, but it was poised for great things following the finale where Agent Cooper became the host for Killer Bob. Too bad it ended when it did.
Here's my favorite line from the entire show, delivered by actor Miquel Ferrer as special agent Rosenfield:
Now you listen to me. While I will admit to a certain cynicism, the fact is I am a naysayer and hatchetman in the fight against violence. I pride myself on taking a punch and I'll gladly take another because I choose to live my life in the company of Gandhi and King. My concerns are global. I reject absolutely pride, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love. I love you Sheriff Truman.
That declaration of brotherhood between two unlikely allies was unexpected, and Ferrer's earnest delivery made it quite amusing. What might seem like a bromide here in print was actually one of the most ironic and powerful scenes in the series. But don't take my word for it, see Twin Peaks for yourself.
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Was in office all day until 5 o'clock. Not especially busy. Wrote note to Lucy. Laura Dygert and Purcell were both in. Laura stayed quite a little while and we had quite a visit. Went home, helped with supper, and took a bath, then went to choir rehearsal.Walked down from rehearsal with Helen Chapin. Walked up little ways with her and then came home and read until 11 o'clock.
Slept until almost 2 o'clock. Stayed in house all rest of afternoon. Didn't get dressed until 5 o'clock. At about 5:30 Hazel stopped at house a minute and I walked up a little ways with her where she went home. On the way back, stopped in Greek's and bought dates and nuts and came home and made stuffed dates and also a cup of cocoa for myself. Hazel intended to come back in the evening to play but didn't come. Purcell came down about 8 o'clock and stayed until 10.
Went to moving pictures with Mamma. Saw the 5th installment of the Million Dollar Mystery. It still keeps interesting. After we got home Mamma made a cup of cocoa and then I went directly to bed.
Special train to Little Falls tonight for the Masonic Fair and at Main St. Station Mrs. Frank Santimer was struck by the train. She was injured but I guess not seriously. This is the first time anyone has ever been hurt by train at Main St. Station.
Monday, June 07, 2004
"Get out and see this once in lifetime event," I might write. "This is history. Don’t miss it," I’d say. But when the transit happens in the early morning sky here in Kansas, I’ll be asleep. I won’t be witnessing anything.
I started this web log with the highest ideals. "Perhaps I can offer a fresh perspective on the mundane," I wondered to myself. "I may be a suburbanite in the middle of America, but I can live and love and learn like a French foreign legion mercenary. Viva la blog!"
Yeah right. It’s hard to be an idealist at 5:45am. I think the best time for idealism is 5:45pm, preferably after a couple of drinks. Why can’t the transit be during cocktail hour? Give me a gin and tonic and a piece of cardboard and a needle. I’d be a witness to solar history. "Don’t look directly at the sun. Poke a hole in this drink menu and make a pinhole camera." Now that’s good advice.
Ever make a pinhole camera? I found step-by-step instructions on the web and I’d like to pass them along:
4-5 tonic water Ice Cubes
3 ounces gin
4 ounces tonic water
1 tablespoon lime juice
Lime wedge for garnish
1 eight by sixteen piece of cardboard
1 sewing needle
Place ice cubes in a chilled glass. Add gin, then tonic water, then lime juice, stir. Garnish with lime wedge, poke pinhole in cardboard and view transit of Venus immediately. Throw up. Go back to bed.
Saturday, June 05, 2004
He wore a khaki jacket and slacks when he arrived with his electronic show entourage in tow. That wasn’t what I expected. I wanted him in his Federation uniform with the trademark pointy ears. He smiled right away though and I thought he looked friendly and approachable as he desended a staircase in the exhibition hall. I decided I’d accept Leonard Nimoy as himself. He stopped and put his hand to his mouth and took a breath. I swallowed my gum when he exhaled and a plume of smoke shot out of his nostrils.
Spock smoked! I was mortified. He huffed his cigarette like a madman. I missed the sight of the cigarette at first glance. He cupped the cherry like he was sitting in a foxhole in the Ardennes. Dad said only ex-cons and hardcore smokers did that. I couldn’t believe it. Barbarino hadn’t smoked when he came to town. This was outrageous.
He stopped at a staircase landing that overlooked the showroom floor. “Sorry I’m late. My carton of Camels got lost in the transporter.”
We went right to the Q & A. Leonard confirmed there was a Star Trek movie in the works and joked that Robert Redford would wear the pointy ears for the big screen. That got a small chuckle from the Redford fans in attendance but not from me. I couldn’t separate the character’s virtues from the actor’s habits. After some questions from the audience that included one from a knucklehead who asked about an episode of Mission Impossible, Leonard Nimoy flashed the Vulcan peace sign and left the building.
I never forgave Mr. Spock for smoking until now.
I forgive you Mr. Spock and Mrs. McAllister too. She was my 4th grade teacher at the time. That’s right, I saw you in the Roesland Elementary teacher’s lounge one day after lunch. Don’t deny it, Virginia Slim.
And God Bless you Barbarino. You set a Municipal Auditorium no-smoking standard that remains unequaled to this day. Come back anytime, and feel free to bring the Batmobile with you.
Thursday, June 03, 2004
Back in the late seventies, my friend Lori Dodge moved from the comfortable Nall Hills subdivision in Overland Park, Kansas, with its split-level houses, and close proximity to Metcalf South mall, to the jerkwater town of Gardner, Kansas. At least I thought it was jerkwater. It’s not. One day at summer camp, she told me about the new school in her town, Nike junior high.
"It used to be a missile base", she said.
It was a novel thought and we smiled at the notion of a military presence lingering in our avocado and burnt orange world. "In the event of nuclear holocaust, all intramural basketball games will be rescheduled".
I forgot about Nike junior high for a time. After all, junior highs don’t even rate a sports mention on the community page of the local paper. Even for the cold war kids who called themselves "the missiles".
Back in the 1950s, during the grand stand-off with Russia, American defense planners deployed short-range ground-to-air missiles as our last line of defense against Russian long-range bombers. The Nike missile program was designed to protect our cities, but when you considered this was Eastern Kansas, it became an ominous proposition. If Russian bombers were raiding Kansas City, then we were losing the war.
In those days, K.C. was a prime target on the Russian radar. Maybe not at first, but once they started cranking out those atomic bad-boys, you better believe we rated. Later, the minuteman program deployed nuclear warheads 60 miles east of town. Thank goodness it was downwind most days. So we definitely needed the Nike missile bases. I’ll bet in those days they pronounced it as one syllable. No matter, as long as they stayed awake out there. You never knew when those Frenchmen in Wichita would lay down for Ivan.
The Gardner Nike missile base (KC-60) was not a secret. The town gave a full-frontal embrace to the fire-control base. There were two parts to every Nike installation: the fire control base (our junior high in this story) and the actual silos. And for technological reasons known only to the vacuum tube set, the silos could not be too close to the control center.
If you want to see the intermediate school, nee junior high, it’s easy to find. Don’t even exit I-35. Spit out the southeast window of your vehicle at the Gardner exit. But if you want to see the silo slabs, get ready to climb fences and trespass. While my hobby de jour is exploring my extended neighborhood, I’m afraid some property owner will go all defcon one on me. Instead, why not see the installation like the Russians did, from the air.
What a bit of post cold war fun. We’ve all had a jolly good civil defense laugh, ha ha. But the dead hand of the cold war is still a twitch away from a Dom Deluise moment in a Fail-Safe day. Dead bunny hats off to cool headed Ruskies like Stanislav Petrov who knew better than to launch his missiles on September 26, 1983, even when the computer system he designed said he was being attacked. Talk about "The Day After". That was the day after the Wheat Meet keg party in the parking lot of the Burge Union during my freshman year at K.U. We weren’t due to be bombed until the November sweeps.
Who says it’s not exciting to live in Kansas? Let’s hope whoever makes the next nuke has the good sense to get the latest target data. Those underground silos were capped and filled with water in 1969, I swear.