Since the Corona 19 virus pandemic became rife throughout the nation, the question has been increasingly posed as to what will happen, after it’s over, to the millions who have involuntarily switched from working in offices to working from home.

It’s already clear that many who worked from offices for years will enter a changed world, where offices will often no longer be needed or available to them.

Four years ago, in 2016, I gave an inaugural address before the Literary Club of Chicago that traced the evolution of offices and their likely destiny, titled “Ad Officium.” That 19-page essay is included in my book of 15 essays, “Apple Pressings,” now available in several formats from Amazon and other online book sellers. Check it out.

In the fall of 1966, I was briefly an armed security guard at the U.S. Gold Vault at Fort Knox, Kentucky. As a young soldier in Armor training, I marched the perimeter of the Gold Vault. The next year, I was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Armor and received two small gold bars for my shoulders along with the Presidential Commission of an Army officer. After serving as an operations officer at the Army War College, I was off to Vietnam where I served as a press officer at a combat press camp.

I wrote about this, and my speculation about the impact and destiny of all that gold in the vault at Fort Knox in my essay, “All That Glitters,” included in my book “Apple Pressings,” available now in soft and hardcover and Kindle versions at Amazon.com.

My recently published book, Apple Pressings, is available now on Amazon in Kindle, soft and hardcover versions, as well as on Barnes & Noble.com, and other major book websites.

Below is a new review of my book by Chris Schultz, a talented journalist in southeastern Wisconsin.

Good luck, and good reading, as we all strive to survive and find some distraction from the virus scare.

Charles Ebeling squeezes hard truths from the fruit of knowledge in book of essays.

 

WALWORTH — When it comes to the history of french fries, Chuck Ebeling is the go-to guy.

Ebeling spent 15 years as chief spokesman for McDonald’s, a major purveyor of the sliced spuds, retiring as vice president of corporate communications and chief spokesperson.

Ebeling writes that what makes the french fry so American is that it was brought to our shores by none other than Thomas Jefferson. Our second President served the fried potato treats during Presidential dinner parties. And the “f” in french fry should not be capitalized. The french describes how the potato is cut lengthwise, called frenching.

Ebeling has collected those and other facts and observations into a book, “Apple Pressings: Squeezing Potent Truths from Sweet Bits of Knowledge.”

The book’s title comes from the name Chuck and wife Vicki Ebeling gave to their rural Walworth home, Applewood Lodge.

The property has 200 apple trees. Ebeling said that he bought a hand-operated apple press with the aim of making his own apple cider. However, he confesses, apple pressing process is so hard (“sweat busting” is how he describes it) that the press has collected more dust than apple juice over the past few years.

But Ebeling’s word processor remains active.

“I came to think of these writings as the apple pressings of my mind,” Ebeling says in his introduction.

“Apple Pressings”  is the collection of 15 essays that Ebeling did as a member and later president of the Chicago Literary Club from 2005 to 2019. Members write essays which are then read during weekly literary club meetings from October through May.

The club doesn’t require members to write an essay a year, but Ebeling said he set that goal for himself. Ebeling is still a member, but he said he’s going to slow down on the essay writing.

Ebeling’s first essay for the literary club was “French Fried – From Monticello to the Moon,” his reflections on America’s favorite side order.

It is also the first selection in “Apple Pressings.”

According to Ebeling, the french fry originated in the Meuse Valley of Belgium.

But that’s a subject for another chapter.

This is not a book that one has to read from cover to cover. A reader can just casually dip in and sip from “Apple Pressings.”

Just be prepared to be amazed and moved by Ebeling’s experiences and observations.

Ebeling’s life and studies has given him plenty of topics and material to choose from.

Here are reflections on our Electoral College system of selecting a president, what it’s like to have dinner with one of the original McDonalds and an unusual encounter with a cheetah who perched on the hood of  Ebeling’s safari vehicle and posed for pictures during a visit to Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve.

And he’s not afraid to turn the light on his own life, particularly his service as a U.S. Army  information officer during the Vietnam War.

The broad variety of topics covered in “Apple Pressings” reflects the broad experience of its author.

Ebeling earned a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois. After serving in the U.S. Army’s information office, where he attained the rank of major,

Ebeling took a public relations jobs Allstate Insurance, Toyota USA Corp., and the pharmaceutical giant, Baxter International.

But he’s best known for his public relations and marketing work for McDonald’s.

“Apple Pressings” is available on Amazon.

FRIES!: THE MOVIE will have its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York between April 15 and 26 this spring. Produced in part by Chrissy Teigen, I contributed to the content of this new fries epic and was filmed in NYC for it last spring. Whether I survive the edit remains to be seen. The film should be shown nationally sometime in 2020 after the premiere.

Fries! The Movie, directed and written by Michael Steed. Produced by Christopher Collins, Lydia Tenaglia. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. To better understand the globe’s obsession with the fried potato, chefs, food scientists, historians and celebrities, including Malcom Gladwell and Chrissy Teigen, take the audience on a joyous and mouth watering journey around the world to delve into everyone’s favorite fried food. With Chrissy Teigen, Malcolm Gladwell, Eric Ripert, Dave Arnold, Harold McGee.

After the Movie: A conversation with cookbook author and model Chrissy Teigen, chef Eric Ripert, Museum of Food and Drink founder Dave Arnold, and director Michael Steed.

Joint Press Release – Today – University of Chicago and Yerkes Future Foundation
The University of Chicago and the Yerkes Future Foundation (YFF) are pleased to announce an agreement in principle for transfer of ownership of Yerkes Observatory and related property located in Williams Bay, Wisconsin to the Yerkes Future Foundation. Over the next several months, both organizations will be working closely on all aspects of the proposed transfer. Additional information will be made available as appropriate.
YFF’s objectives include restoration and refurbishing of the telescopes and building, reopening the space for visitors and establishing educational, research, seminars and various additional opportunities for students, astronomers, astrophysicists and others. Students and faculty in the University of Chicago’s Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics have continued to do educational and research work at Yerkes Observatory in the past year. The transfer to YFF will mark the conclusion of the University’s historic affiliation with Yerkes, allowing the University to make further investments in the future of the field, including projects such as the Giant Magellan Telescope.
Both the University and YFF would like to express their appreciation for the support shown by the Yerkes family, the Village of Williams Bay and many educators and scientists. 

There was an outspoken cultural critic and journalist active in Vienna early in the 20th century named Karl Krause, who William Getzoff of the Chicago Literary Club presented an insightful essay this past Monday. Krause was also known then as a powerful satirist and aphorist.

He could have been writing about President Trump today, when he said:

“The secret of the demagogue is to make himself as stupid as his audience so that they believe they are as clever as he.”

Ring any bells?

As cool fall weather descends, remember that it is Book Month, and a good time for some comfortable reading by the fireplace again. One suggestion is to read a book of “fascinating” essays, as one review headline proclaimed about “Apple Pressings,” a newly published collection of essays that I’ve presented before the Chicago Literary Club over recent years.

In one essay titled: “Red, White, Blue and You; or, The Color of Politics,” I write: “The accepted contemporary terms red and blue state, as a sort of shorthand for an entire sociopolitical worldview, were finalized in the 2000 elections, not by some cosmic decorator, but by the long-term host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the late Tim Russert. ”

“Apple Pressings” is available at Amazon in soft and hardback and Kindle editions, and also on other popular book websites such as Barnes and Noble.

Just over 22 years ago, members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra played a slow rendition of the eponymous melody, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke,” as the coffin of legendary Cuban-born Chairman of the Coca-Cola Company, Roberto Goizueta, was born down the aisle of Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Atlanta.

I wasn’t there, but I did spend an enjoyable day a few years before spiriting Roberto through his first visit to McDonald’s then-sprawling home office campus in Oak Brook, IL. He chain-smoked through our tour, each time we entered his limousine to visit another part of the campus. In one of those short rides, I mentioned that their recently acquired  brand, Barq’s, was may favorite root beer. He launched into the story about how his father in Cuba had loved root beer, and this aquisition was in his memory. Then he added, “And, it was a very good deal.” Goizuita made many very good deals during his Coke career, making him a billionaire and making Coke Shareholders over $180 Billion dollars.

He was one of the most successful corporate executives in American history. And though he came from a wealthy Cuban family, he lost everything and moverd to America to start over. An ambitious, but loveable guy.

Robert Todd Lincoln was Abraham’s eldest son, and was incredibly successful as a Chicago lawyer and businessman (Chair of Pullman) in his own right. But he stayed away from politics like the plage, as I describe in my essay “Dodging the Shadow of Greatness,” in my new book  of essays presented before the Chicago Literary Club, “Apple Pressings,” now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Booklocker.com.

But Bob Lincoln, as his friends called him, had the heart of a political leader, as evidenced by his speech at the anniversary of the Lincoln/Douglas debate:

He said, “In our country, there are no ruling classes. The right to direct public affairs according to the might and influence and conscience belongs to the humblest as well as the greatest. The elections represent the judgments of individual voters. ..the power of the people.. by their judgments expressed through the ballot box, to shape their own destinies, sometimes makes one tremble.

“But it is in times of danger, critical moments, that brings into action the high national quality of the citizenship of America. The people are always true. They are always right., and I have an abiding faith they will remain so. ”

Let’s hope this carries forward in the coming elections.

 

The political scrambling over the most recent mass shootings in America brings to mind our experience last March, as our cruise ship was pulling into port to visit Christchurch, New Zealand. The captain announced that a mass shooting event had just happened there and we would instead be moving on to the next port. I was shocked to have come so close to such a horrific event.

Then we saw, within a week’s time, the New Zealand government was moving to further tighten already strong restrictions on gun ownership. Now in New Zealand, one cannot have a clip of more than 7 rounds, many combat type weapons are proscribed, and one must have a license to own a gun.

This island country of less than 5 million was able to act quickly and decisively to bring more meaningful control of guns. Yet, in our great nation of 65 times the population, despite dozens and dozens of such major incidents and ongoing gun carnage, we seem unable to legislate even the most moderate of gun control.

Is this a sign that America has become too big and diverse to govern? If not what is it a sign of?

September 2020
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