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?

If you check on Amazon to see about buying a copy of my wonderful new book of essays on all sorts of things, ranging from a cheetah on our Landcruiser hood, to a super french fry museum in Bruges, to the story behind Todd Lincoln becoming America’s greatest industrialist, you may find that the prices look high. But, just go to the offerings in small type and you will find lower prices for the softbound and hardback editions.

Cider our curious 18-year-old cat at Applewood Lodge, “confurs” with author Chuck Ebeling, about their new book of essays, “Apple Pressings” which is newly available on Amazon Books. Cider is acknowledged in the introduction for his role as he “trod the keys in attempts to add his random edits.” Author Chuck is more than willing to share the blame for any typos or spacing issues in the newly-published book with his “confuree.”fullsizeoutput_87d3

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My new book  — Apple Pressings — of essays presented before the Chicago Literary Club is now available for ordering, in a paperbound edition. Hardcover coming soon. To order, go to Amazon and then Books; the title is Apple Pressings.  For an even better buy, go the Barnes and Noble’s website, http://www.bn.com and search for Apple Pressings.

If you are a curious person like me, you may enjoy what Samuel Johnson called these “loose sallies of the mind.” Come with me to find out about the “Masai Mara Hood Ornament” we met in deepest Kenya, or the two billion candlepower beacon that once guided aircraft to Chicago, or what is going on with the Electoral College that really elects our Presidents, or how Toyota beat out VW and Detroit in the small car competition, or how Abraham Lincoln’s son became the top corporate magnate of his era, or what really went on in Vietnam in 1968, or the ins and outs of spokesmanship in “Smoke Smoke,” or how we went off the deep end with open offices, or an insider’s relationship with Dick McDonald who designed the Golden Arches, or how the ubiquitous french fry became a global cultural symbol, or what it was like to do public relations during the growth explosion of one of the greatest brands of all time.

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