CSotD: Don’t Know Much About History

Today’s Rubes (Creators) brings back memories of being a reporter at a paper in a city on Lake Champlain, which has its own cryptozoological mascot that people honest-to-Marlin-Perkins believe in, “Champy.”

A lot of people believe in him but nobody seems to have ever gotten a clear shot of him, but I do remember one excited couple who stopped by the newsroom with a roll of film that they said contained a photo of the lake monster. We told them to go get it developed at a local one-hour place we used ourselves in those pre-digital days, and then come back with their proof.

Never saw them again, which I guess is an indication of what they never saw.

I’ve praised the Internet for bringing people together, but I mean in the way it allows left-handed flute players to exchange tips and sources. However, as today’s Brewster Rockit (Tribune) suggests, it also allows nincompoops to come together and exchange delusions.

Not that they couldn’t find each other before. I remember a party at someone’s house back in 1986 and having her husband tell a group of us how he had learned the truth, that Elvis was not dead, that his death had been faked and so forth and so on, as we all smiled and said how interesting it was and that we had to run along now but it sure has been nice and we’ll have to do this again real soon.

I guess the main benefit of the Internet is that today you aren’t quite so shocked. I ran into my first Birther shortly after Obama was elected but before he’d been sworn in. The fellow was explaining how there was still time to correct this Constitutional error and I was aghast but not entirely surprised, since I’d run into the theory on line.

I guess I liked things better when my reaction was “This guy is nuts” rather than “They’re all nuts,” and I laughed at Brewster Rockit but I have very limited faith in AI being more useful than as a collator of screwballism.

Meanwhile, F Minus (AMS) touches on another set of True Believers, though these folks were more apt to want to write guest editorials than to show us photos of monsters.

I got a chuckle out of the gag, but most of these people do indeed want to start a new world with their apocalypsomaniacal friends and, yes, I just made up that word, but if it doesn’t exist, it should.

On the other hand, I doubt they’d make it out of the bunker alive. Getting a bunch of them locked in together in a confined space for more than a week would make the gang in “Lord of the Flies” look like the Von Trapp Family.

And sticking with F Minus and William Golding, this one gave me flashbacks to the summer camp I refer to as “Camp Lord O The Flies” because of the rampant bullying that filled the gap between tennis lessons and canoeing.

The camp director had a fantasy common to English boarding schools and other such venues that being bullied would toughen a kid up, and that, if we had boxing lessons, we would all go home at the end of eight weeks and beat up the neighborhood bully.

Having quarreling kids put on the gloves was, according to this theory, how friendships are formed, just like the way Spin Evans and Marty Markham learned to be buddies at the Triple R, which is a lovely idea that only works if the boys were evenly matched to begin with, which isn’t how bullying works.

Bullies don’t pick on kids who might beat the bejabbers out of them or even come close.

And having spent five years at Camp Lord O The Flies, I can testify to the truth of that F Minus cartoon, because the lesson that was really being taught was the value of preemptive bullying: Your first task at camp each year was to single out someone else to be that summer’s victim so it wouldn’t be you.

Just reporting. Not endorsing.

Tank McNamara (AMS) offers a somewhat mysterious discussion of the fact that LeBron James Jr. is playing professional basketball alongside his dad. I say somewhat mysterious because I can’t figure out the big hoo-ha and I don’t even agree with the naysayer here that it’s all that unique.

Mind you, I also disagree with pedants that there are no degrees of uniqueness. On an atomic level, everything is unique, while on a mundane level obviously some things are more unique than others. Every snowflake is (theoretically) unique, but when they’re piled up three foot deep in my driveway, they sure seem much the same.

Point being that, while it’s unusual for a father and son to play a professional sport together, it’s not unheard of. Gordie Howe — who certainly did as much for hockey as Lebron James Sr. has done for basketball — played professional hockey with two of his sons.

And if you start counting up siblings in pro sports, it really gets out of hand. Major League Baseball alone has had over 400 sets of brothers, including the Alous, the Dimaggios and the Perrys, plus the Boyers.

I got to shake Gordie Howe’s hand once, but I spent the better part of a week hanging out with Clete Boyer. We were both staffing booths at the Saratoga County Fair, which gave me a chance to get over my initial fan-boy exuberance and just enjoy his company. He told me of growing up in a family of 14 kids in a small house without running water.

Seven of the boys played professional baseball, three of them in the Majors, but Clete seemed proudest of their sister, who went to medical school and became a dentist.

His stories were like those of NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe, whose brother Sterling was a star for the Packers.

Shannon joked that he could only go to school when it was his turn to wear the shoes, but he grew serious when talking about building their grandmother a home and making sure she never had to eat turtle again.

I particularly appreciate that Sterling says of their success “It ain’t by accident. But it’s not by design, either.”

8 thoughts on “CSotD: Don’t Know Much About History

  1. Ken Griffey Jr and Sr played for the Seattle Mariners in 1990 and 1991 and were the first father-son duo to appear in the same lineup on Aug 31 1990 against the KC Royals

  2. I mostly remember Gordie Howe as the face of Woodrow on a particularly famous ‘Simpsons’ episode.

  3. “apocalypsomaniacal”

    And now, if I might commit my own variation on the etymological fallacy, there is a reason that there is so little phonological daylight between “eschatological” and “scatological.”

  4. Gordy Howe and Mark Howe, are to the best of my recollection, are the only father-son combination who both played together on the same team but were also were inducted in their sports Hall of Fame. Time will tell if the James’s will share that distinction.

  5. Casey Candaele was, as far as I can tell, the only professional major league baseball player whose mother was also a pro baseball player. Helen Callagham played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, and not only stole over 100 bases twice in five years, she won a batting title. When asked f he got his athletic ability from his mom. He said, “No, I got it from my dad. If I got it from my mom, I’d be in the Hall of Fame.”

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