Odds & Ends

I’ve been on a roll lately with posts failing to inspire deep-thinking and lacking any social, intellectual or artistic value.  Seeing as my brain is a pile of mush (still) I’m going to keep mining my vapid sense of self-amusement which, apparently, is a wholly renewable resource.  Here is a sampling of the completely worthless stuff occupying my time and thoughts recently.

Tora! Tora! Tora!

If you did not watch the Japan/USA Women’s World Cup Championship yesterday, you missed a great game.  The US seemed to put it away late in the game with a goal to break a scoreless tie.  With very little time left, the Japanese women tied it.  In overtime the scenario repeated itself with a game-tying goal and precious little time remaining.  The Japanese won the game in a shootout.

After the game, one of the commentators dubbed it Japan’s “Lake Placid” – a reference to the 1980 US hockey team’s upset of the Soviets.  The US team was the overwhelming favorite and their net-keeper won the award for most outstanding goalie in the tournament.  In spite of being completely out-sized and out-matched, the Japanese found a way to win it.  I’ll admit, I was rooting for Japan: a nice moment for a country with precious little to preen about lately.  

ESPN kept showing a bar in Pittsford, NY where fans were rooting the US team on to victory.  I never heard the full explanation, but I believe one of the players hailed from the Rochester area.  It was the best sporting event I’ve watched in some time.  A beer on yours truly for anyone who can tell me why I titled this “Tora! Tora! Tora!”  We are on the honor system here, so no cheating.

Joe DiMaggio would not approve (but JFK would, so it all works out)

One of Chicago’s summertime traditions I greatly enjoy involves the commissioning of sculptures to dot our urban landscape.  Last year I wrote a couple posts about the enormous “Eye” sculpture erected in the south Loop which, I must say, was very sorry to see leave.  Recently, our fair town erected an enormous Marilyn Monroe statue immortalizing her famous blowing-dress scene from some movie I never saw and won’t take the time to go on Google to correctly cite the title (hey – I’m not doing research for a mediocre post!).

Well, the city intelligentsia finds itself in full self-flagellation mode over this:

The Tribune’s Mary Schmich called it “tawdry” and scolded the men taking crotch-shots with their cell phones, some of whom “mime[d] a lick”.  The Sun Times’ Richard Roeper objects because the movie scene in question took place in New York, not Chicago.  Meh, those arguments fail to persuade me.  I don’t hate it, but it seems we could have had something much more creative – like the EYE!

Fifteen Minutes and Counting

I didn’t see the interview, but apparently Godfather’s Pizza CEO and would-be GOP Presidential nominee Herman Cain went on Fox News Sunday and told Chris Wallace that communities have the right to pass laws preventing the construction of Mosques.  Uhh… I’m kinda at a loss here.  But let’s just say, “Thanks for playing and, oh, here’s a copy of the First Amendment for ya…why don’t you read that while you have a slice of pepperoni and shut the F up…dillweed.”


This has not been a very good season for yours truly.  This Cubs team is possibly the worst I’ve ever seen and utterly unlikeable.  They have the highest payroll in the National League (!) and they lose games in hair-pulling fashion: the time three runs scored against them on a ball that failed to leave the infield is my personal favorite thus far.  But, they did manage to be the only MLB team to post an earned run on Phillies phenom Cliff Lee in June.  It’s true; you can look it up.

He’s Come a Long Way Since Ridgemont High

One of my self-assigned tasks for the summer is to catch up on all the “must read/must see” books and films I’ve been putting off for years.  To wit, last weekend I watched “The Last King of Scotland”.   Forrest Whitaker was amazing as Idi Amin, ruthless dictator of Uganda.  Something I never knew, and which I now ask for background from our resident expert, is Amin expelled thousands of South Asians from the country, thereby ruining the economy.  In the film, the expatriates are all depicted as Indians.  Any thoughts on this?  I’d love to hear what you know about this episode.

Already Working on My Acceptance Speech

I’m fairly confident this post will win the award for “Most Hyphenated Post” of the year.  If not that, then certainly “Post Clearly Authored Under the Influence of a Jeffrey.”   Where are the annual “Peashooters” awards being held this year anyway?

3 thoughts on “Odds & Ends

  1. peashoot

    A nicely laid dump of your thoughts, Wildbilly. Nicely laid… Here’s a quick go at your thoughts: Tora Tora Tora was a film from the 1970s about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Never saw the movie, so I don’t know if there’s anything soccer-related in it. But perhaps you’re just making the analogy that David whooped Goliath then, in ’41, and again in ’11, when the Japanese bombed the U.S.

    I think the Marilyn Monroe statue is a lame addition to the Chicago cityscape. I tend to agree with Roeper, it’s out of place. But what’s more, for a town that has a ton of cool sculptures, many recognizing important local and international figures, I wonder (and indeed don’t really know) how many women are memorialized – e.g., are there statues of Ida B. Wells-Barnett (I know she had a housing project named after her), or Vlasta Vráz, or Lidia Pucińska, or Annie Livshis, or Maria del Jesus Saucedo, or a host of others?

    I never saw The Last King of Scotland. But yeah, Amin expelled thousands of Indians (mostly Gujaratis, I think) from Uganda in the early-1970s. The British, in their worldwide imperial maneuvers over the previous two centuries (or so), brought lots and lots of Indians to Africa. Amin got rid of them because, well, he was crazy and said in a dream or vision or something like that he was told to expel them. The Indians in Uganda (as well as other places in Africa) were perceived, not unlike Jews in Europe from the late-18th century and after (à la la question juive and Die Judenfrage), as detriments to the Ugandan economy for hoarding wealth and resources. Indophobia, I guess.

    1. wildbillyscircusstory Post author

      I’ll give credit for your Tora! Tora! Tora! answer: it was the code word to indicate to Admiral Yamoto that they had achieved complete surprise in their attack. As for the movie, only dorks like me are interested in that stuff. As far as historical dramas go, I give it a B minus. Next beer is on me.

      I agree the Marilyn statue is completely lame.

      Thanks for the education about the Indian “diaspora”. My follow-up question would be how the British chose those particular Indians: was it voluntary? were they merchants? did they bear some sort of fealty toward the crown? Very interesting. Perhaps there’s some reading material on colonial India that you could recommend to this chap.

      1. peashoot

        No, not mostly voluntary. Most were brought to the British colonies in sub-Saharan Africa to do clerical and menial-type jobs. Sure, there was “fealty toward the Crown,” but it’s more aptly called self-preservation. Sub-Saharan Africa become home to many South Asian communities during the height of British global colonialism, and the conditions under which many of the South Asian folks lived weren’t exactly rosy. You’ll recall that M.K. Gandhi honed his barrister chops in South Africa, where discrimination against blacks and Indians was highly influential on his later leadership in the Indian march to independence from the British colonists. As for what you might read, there’s lots and lots, I’m sure. The African side of all this stretches my expertise a bit; this literature isn’t at the forefront of my mind these days. I’ll do a bit of digging around. For Idi Amin’s work and treatment of South Asians, I’d guess a history of modern Uganda would be the place to look.

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