by John Walters

Starting Five

“We’re Finally On Our Own”

The Kent State massacre. Fifty years ago today. If you were a college student in 1970 you had already, just since puberty, experienced the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy and Malcolm X. Then again, if you are a college student in 2020 you’ve probably already lived through 9/11, the Iraq War, the financial collapse of 2008 and now the coronavirus pandemic. Tragedy, to-mah-to.

It says something about the way news was dispensed 50 years ago that Neil Young (a Canadian living in Los Angeles at the time) was more struck by the photos that he saw in Life magazine than by what he saw on television. That moved him to write “Ohio,” which Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recorded just 17 days later and released in June.

Nick went to the dining hall and avoided potential tragedy

One undergraduate who was spared that day in Ohio? A Kent State football player named Nick Saban, who had decided along with a teammate to eat lunch first before attending the war protest.

The student photographer who took the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo, John Filo, went on to work at both Sports Illustrated and Newsweek and now works at CBS. That woman wailing in the photo is a 14 year-old runaway, Mary Ann Vecchio. Fill recounting the experience:

The bullets were supposed to be blanks. When I put the camera back to my eye, I noticed a particular guardsman pointing at me. I said, “I’ll get a picture of this,” and his rifle went off. And almost simultaneously, as his rifle went off, a halo of dust came off a sculpture next to me, and the bullet lodged in a tree.

I dropped my camera in the realization that it was live ammunition. I don’t know what gave me the combination of innocence and stupidity … I started to flee–run down the hill and stopped myself. “Where are you going?” I said to myself, “This is why you are here!”

Here’s a good read on Kent State and its ramifications…

A World Of Waste And Wonder

Let it not be said that the 2020 pandemic did not inspire great art and thoughts. Above, Tom Foolery with a Seussian poem on what the pandemic (hopefully) taught humanity, and here, David Eggers on “Flattening The Truth.” Stay with it, the bottom half is better than the top.

Justin Time

Imagine, a democratically elected leader of a country in North America who actually has the best interests of the majority of citizens in mind. Astounding, right? Meet Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada.

On Friday, less than two weeks after a gunman killed 22 people in Nova Scotia, making it the largest mass murder in Canada’s history, Trudeau announced the immediate ban of 1,500 types (!) of assault weapons. “

“These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only — only to kill the largest amount of people in the shortest amount of time,” he said in a press conference. “You don’t need an AR-15 to bring down a deer” (besides, they’re so much more difficult to clean and dress with 37 slugs in them).

What an explosion of, I dunno, common sense? I mean, banning assault rifles won’t eliminate murder any more than speed limits eliminated speeding, and yet no one seems to have a problem with driving at least near the speed limit.

Murder Hornet

If 2020 were a film, the tagline below the title would be, “It came from Asia.” First it was Parasite invading the Oscars. Then Covid-19. Now it’s the giant hornet, also a creature that mysteriously found its way across the Pacific and which also first appeared in the state of Washington.

Hmm. Maybe those Chinese really are up to something clandestine and sinister. Will the murder hornet go the way of the snakehead fish (whatever happened to that species?) or are we in for yet another tsunami of terror and death? The worst part about the murder hornet, besides its nom de guerre, is that it decimates bee populations, something Americans were already doing a pretty good job of ourselves. We need bees. In school you need A’s, but in gardens and nature in general you need bees. Come to think of it, you need seas, too.

Sports Year 1884

Jackie who? Moses Fleetwood Walker becomes the first black major league ballplayer when he makes his debut for the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association. Adding legitimacy to this claim, the American Association champion, the New York Metropolitans, meet the National League champ, the Providence Grays, in an event called “the Original World Series” in October.

A screenwriter couldn’t conjure a better name than Moses Fleetwood Walker, now could she? Walker would only play one season, but he would go on to earn four patents for inventions, kill a white man in self defense (an all-white jury acquitted him), go to jail for a year for postal robbery (he was also a mailman) and own a theater.

Ned Williamson becomes the Babe Ruth of the 19th century, shattering the existing single-season home run record of 14 with his 27 dingers. Williamson’s record will last for 35 years before you-know-who breaks it (with 29).


A divinity student enrolls at Yale to play for coach Walter Camp. His name? Amos Alonzo Stagg. Not coincidentally, Yale defeats Dartmouth 113-0. One week later Princeton defeats Lafayette 140-0. People were intent on impressing the Committee even then.


Everton F.C. moves into Anfield, a new enclosed stadium. They’ll remain for seven seasons and then Liverpool F.C. will become the tenant, where they remain today. Up the Reds!


In a sign of more literate times, a boxer named John Kelly earns the nickname Nonpareil Dempsey and becomes the world’s first middleweight champion. Burying the lede, boxing establishes weight classes.


For the first time, Wimbledon stages a Ladies Singles championship. Maud Watson, 19, the daughter of a local vicar, wins in three sets. She plays in a corset and petticoats.

8 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. Hmmm, Williamson & later, Babe Ruth – all these guys’ power must have been from their STOMACHS. 😉

    So, basically The Gilded Age was also The Birth of Pro Sports. Would there have been the latter without the former? Suddenly, a lot of super rich guys had the money to try to expand their name & influence beyond their own town. Discuss. 🙂

    Speaking of the Chinese – have you been reading how people of color (especially black) are now being treated in China? Blocked from staying at various hotels or thrown out if they were already there, same for apartments, signs barring them entry to restaurants & other places of business, even AMERICAN chains (McDonalds in at least one city till corp HQ quickly said that was “not company policy” & made them take the signs down & stated staff was to be “retrained”…). Harassed &/or assaulted on the streets, etc. Wonder what all those star NBA players think about their million dollar Chinese endorsement deals & all those trips they take each summer to “expand their brand globally”… Funny, I DON’T HEAR A THING.

    I have some questions for Jacob – since your state has fairly low numbers of COVID cases & very low deaths (so far) do you personally feel “safe”? What do you think about other states “opening up”? Do you believe someone’s “rights” or “freedom to live their life” should, er, TRUMP the health, safety & actual lives of millions of others? I keep trying to view things from the perspective of someone young & in an area not as ravaged as my own & other large urban areas & fail, so was hoping you could impart your thoughts. In past years whenever there was a new virus outbreak (SARS, Bird Flu,etc), I barely paid attention as it seemed & mostly was “out there” & I didn’t feel at risk at all. Is this how many folks in your area feel or do you recognize the threat to all Americans with this particular virus?

    And did you actually buy some SHOP back in March? If so, congrats! 🙂 Alas, I kept waiting for it to “drop a just a leeetle bit more”.

  2. Oh, one more thing. Didn’t Katie write something about The Greatest Showman movie? Was it a post or a comment? Do your remember the date? And if you’re reading now Katie, maybe you can write something about the movie again. I’ve seen parts of the movie now twice more (after I saw the entire movie a few weeks ago on TV) & the songs just blow me away. Better than most of the tunes in stage musicals of the past 25 years. Actual melodies & good-great singers! 🙂

  3. Susie B.,

    Before I answer your questions, I’d encourage you to look into the treatment of the Uighur Muslims by the Chinese government in Northwest China. It is modern day concentration camps. The CCP are nasty, nasty folks. It is a shame more in the media don’t go after China. I’m not an expert in any of this, but I think we all tend to forget that China is, in fact, a communist country. Unfortunately, however, $$ talks.

    And to answer your questions…

    Nebraska was probably much in the news early on because they never had a “stay at home” order. Instead, many of the government policies resembled what other states had. It just had a different name, which I don’t think people fully understood.

    As of today, restaurants are able to have 50% occupancy, no more than 6 guests at one table and must obey social distancing of 6 feet. Elective procedures for dentistry can also occur. Even though it is not mandated, only recommended, by government to have masks, all places are implementing safe measures. Barbers can also reopen, but there is a 10-person limit.

    So I guess this means Nebraska is “reopening?”

    I feel like many people will read this and think of me as selfish, I don’t know, but…

    Because Nebraska never explicitly shut down gyms (they only mandated the 10-person limit), my gym never shut down. All globo gyms shut down, obviously, because that limit is impossible to implement. My gym, however, is not a globo gym. So what they did was created an online portal where members could sign up for an hour and a half slot during the day. All slots were capped at 10 people (9 members, 1 coach). We also had to disinfect everything after using it (the bar, the bench, all the plates, etc.). Therefore, I never stopped going to the gym when this all happened.

    I’ve always worked from home, and I live by myself. So, really, nothing changed for me. I’m fortunate because of that. I have a sister-in-law that is a nurse at a nursing home, and she is 7 months pregnant. I also have a little brother that works at Wal-Mart. I don’t know how difficult that could be.

    I like to think Nebraska has been mastering social distancing for decades now. The amount of open space here isn’t comparable to a large metropolitan area. I live in downtown Omaha, and I go for walks every day. I see people out walking as well, but it is never crowded and very rarely do I ever come within 20 yards from them.

    To be honest with you, I don’t think there is an easy answer for any of this. I understand the need to be protective of people and be cautious in having places open up. But I also understand that we live in a capitalist world and the economy isn’t just made to just stop. From my understanding, the goal of all of this was to not overburden the hospital system. Because every state is different and can handle different capacities, I’d think it’d make sense that different states go about there business in different ways.

    What sorta irks me is when someone in some coastal city reads something about Nebraska and then starts criticizing the state because of its Republican governor. Hey, I’m not either Republican or Democrat. With that said, I lean more left on policies than I do right. And I strongly dislike Governor Ricketts. But I’m not one of those people that will criticize him throughout this process.

    This is all probably very incoherent (which I think I have more respect for what you do everyday now that I tried writing something longer here). Hopefully I answered your questions.

  4. Love this line from Dodgeball:

    “Here at Globo Gym we understand that ugliness and fatness are genetic disorders, like baldness or necrophilia, and it’s your fault if you don’t hate yourself enough to do something about it.”

      • Haha, I haven’t belonged to a gym in 17 years. My gym is in the finished part of my basement, complete with the fanciest stereo I’ve ever owned. However, I haven’t used my home gym in several years either. And FTW, ALL GYMS (outside one’s house) WERE CLOSED AS OF 3/23/20 until further notice.

        When I retire in a few years, my daily out-of-house weekday activity will be going to a gym. But I have no idea what current gyms/fitness centers are good. Any advice or info would be appreciated. Of course, I’m guessing at least some of the current gyms & chains won’t survive COVID.

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