Monday, July 30, 2007

MYTH MAKING IN AMERICA

Thank God that Barry Bonds did not tie or break Hank Aaron's home run record on the weekend that Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken were inducted into the Hall of Fame. That would have been the worst distraction ever from two guys who played the right way. Although, Cal did seem to hurt the O's near the end of The Streak by playing when he should not have . . . Anyway, the Times had an interesting article about producing the plaques at Cooperstown. It turns out that the faces are sculpted using photos and old video (as available). The inductee does not pose, since they are generally seeking a look from the person's playing career (at least five years in the past). This is all in contrast to the NFL Hall of Fame, where the inductees get full busts and are intimately involved with producing the bust. Interesting stuff.

The Chicago Tribune magazine had a very good article about one of the founding myths of Chicago. In specific, the story is that in 1885 there was a huge storm that caused polluted water to sweep out of the Chicago River into the city's drinking water supply, sparking an outbreak of disease that killed one in eight Chicagoans. Thus, the city fathers caused the Sanitary & Shipping Canal to be built, which allowed the flow of the river to be reversed, and dumped Chicago's waste on St. Louis. The problem is that the disease outbreak in 1885 was feared, but never happened. The article very nicely tracks the creation of the urban legend that would become the story, right up to the creation from whole cloth of the death toll of 90,000. Fascinating. By the way, the flow of the Chicago River was reversed, mostly to draw waste away from the lake, but not because there was an outbreak of disease in 1885. Check out the Deep Tunnel project page for just how crazy Chicago is about sewage.

1 Comments:

Blogger Nadia said...

just stumbled upon your blog...I didn't know Chicago has/had such serious sewage problems! The Deep Tunnel was an interesting read. I'm glad they're trying to do something about it...there are so many other cities/towns in the US that have yet to say the same. American Rivers actually launched a campaign a few weeks ago (http://actnow.healthyrivers.org/) to get Congress to at least tell the public when they dump crap in our rivers.

12:46 PM  

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