Great Eight NCAA Weekend Toodle 2011

March Madness Is Upon Us

Everywhere you look folks are complaining about the weather. Not just here in the Midwest but on both coasts as well. It seems that winter persists despite the best efforts of the robins and cranes to tip things in our favor. We in fact are expecting snow showers in the next few days as we depart March and begin April anew.

As if the weather were not “upside down” enough the pairings so diligently worked on by electronic computer and human prognosticator alike have been shredded and left for dead as virtually every number one seed has been ousted and Cinderella teams have made misty-eyed fools of us all. It is surely going to be a season of baby making that will have the maternity wards stuffed to the gills come fall and laid-off dads-to-be anxious to find employment now that there is another mouth to feed. I blame Global Warming!

Fraught Forums

The cycling forums I frequent are also in a general upheaval. On one forum a nice fellow puts out notice of a full-time job manning the Chicago Loop bike parking facility adjacent to The Bean. The hourly rate begins at $9 a tad below an entry level position in most bike shops but still steady money. It does require a few office skills having to do with Microsoft Office and you would have to arrive by 6 AM, so only early risers need apply.

Immediately the level of pay and the requirements draw fire from the angst ridden Liberals on the board. The Conservatives are strangely silent except to come to the aid of Walmart when its name gets dragged into the discussion. It seems that Walmart is the evil entity hell-bent on  ruining the wage structure and keeping the Proletariat on the lower rungs of the Social Order.

It seems to me that the original poster (OP) was just trying to offer a job to someone on the forum board or a friend of such and individual and instead managed to strike a nerve that has yet to stop tingling. I blame Global Warming!

Getting Some Sunshine

In the interests of spending time with my spouse and getting our daily quota of sunshine we decided to do another exploratory drive in anticipation of warmer weather and a ride into the city from our home. This time we drove north east in search of the Evanston area and possibly points north of that burgeoning metropolis. Alas we got almost as far as Evanston (probably just across the border) when hunger pangs hit and that meant a stop to refuel the bodies.

Enroute however we got in some sightseeing of famous Chicago high schools. First there was Carl Schurz. This school is around the corner from St. Viator Church, another famous Chicago landmark. What is striking about Schurz is its architecture.

Its website describes it this way:

Carl Schurz High School (aerial view)

Schurz High School is one of the finest general high schools in Chicago. We strive to provide students with a well-rounded, comprehensive education. Our goal is to prepare our students for their future endeavors, whether that is college or the working world.

“A Block Long and World-Wide” reflects the diversity which is one of Schurz’ many strengths. Schurz has a significant number of recent immigrants. – The American-born students at Schurz are predominantly of Hispanic heritage, with a significant percentage of African-Americans. From this diversity Schurz develops its award-winning programs including its architecture program, Music Academy and Finance Academy. Schurz is now the third largest high school in Illinois with more than 2,500 students.

Click Here to learn about the German Immigrant, Carl Schurz (1829 – 1906)

An Even Bigger School

As if Schurz was not impressive enough not many miles east lies one of the more storied high schools in Chicago, Lane Technical School. This school is even larger than Schurz and sits on a very fine piece of land. Nearby is a branch of DeVry Technical College.

The Lane Tech website reads as follows:

Lane Tech College Prep High School
Located on Division and Sedgwick, the Albert Grannis Lane Manual Training High School opened in September 1908. The school was formally dedicated on Washington’s birthday, February 1909 and is named for Albert Grannis Lane, Chicago Superintendent of Schools. As industrial education’s popularity continued to grow through the years, and Lane added many new courses to its curriculum, Principal Bogan recommended that the school’s name be changed to reflect all of the courses offered. In 1909 the school became known as the Albert Grannis Lane Technical High School.

By 1915 the school was in full swing. The building was in almost constant use. Carpentry, cabinet making, and wood turning were offered to first year students. Sophomores were given extensive training in the fields of foundry, forge, welding, core making, and molding. Juniors worked in the most popular shop, the machine shop. It was equipped with 80 machines and 60 lathes cast and built at Lane. Seniors were given the most advanced shop, the electric shop. There they built motors, generators, transformers, and other instruments. Other classes, such as art, classical architecture, drafting, and English were offered to develop students’ communication skills. The print shop was the best equipped high school print shop in America. It was equipped with the newest and most advanced equipment of the time. Its jobs included the 4 page Lane Daily, the 56 page monthly Tech Prep, and the annual 200 page yearbook plus other out of school jobs. At this time, Jack T. Nelson, a student, felt it was time for Lane to have a school song. He wrote the words and music of “Go Lane Go,” making Lane one of only a handful of schools with an original school song.

In 1929 a comprehensive music program was established at Lane. Chicago Symphony Orchestra director Frederick Stock and Superintendent William Bogan worked together in making up the new curriculum. By 1930 Lane had grown to a population of 7,000 students. To relieve the overcrowded conditions at the school, it was decided to build a new Lane Tech. Board of Education architect John C. Christensen began preparing plans for the world’s foremost high school complex. On June 24, 1930 groundbreaking ceremonies took place at Western and Addison. The new building was a beautiful combination of function and art. Like the old Lane, it was designed to allow the teachers and pupils to work in a comfortable environment. On dedication day, September 17, 1934, 9000 boys marched from Cubs Park to the new school. Lane’s new population required many new provisions. Classes had to be staged in three shifts, and commencement exercises were held at the International Amphitheater.

World War II provided Laneites with many opportunities to show the ideals of Albert G. Lane and his school. Many war drives were carried out by Lane students. These drives provided the war effort with four Red Cross ambulances, a B-17 Flying Fortress, and over 3 million dollars in war bonds. Lane’s 50th anniversary in 1958 brought a very important change to the school. America, fearing the Soviet space supremacy, became preoccupied with establishing a sound space program. To aid in the education of scientists and engineers, Lane assumed a closed admission policy. The school dropped its remedial courses and took only the students that would make the greatest contributions to American science.

The year 1971 brought the most noticeable change in Lane’s history. The Board of Education approved Superintendent James Redmond’s recommendation to admit girls to Lane Tech. He cited a drop in enrollment and the lack of a technical school that admits girls as reasons for the change. The school was in a turmoil after this decision. Fifteen hundred Lane boys protested at the Board of Education. The general fear was that the school’s quality would drop and within a few years Lane would be just another high school. Actually, the school’s overall academic quality improved with the addition of girls.

Lane holds deeply to traditions established 90 years ago. Maintaining its high goals and ideals, Lane retains the majority of all athletic championships, many Illinois High School Association titles, and has a college attendance rate of 85%. Its music program has provided the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with many players. More Ph.D’s have graduated from Lane than any other high school in the nation.

Lane Technical High School’s performance in the last 90 years has surely proven the honor in proclaiming “I am a Laneite.”

It will take schools like these to keep American ingenuity at the forefront of the worldwide technical innovation. And it will mean that teachers, administrators and parents need to think more globally than perhaps they already do. Shared sacrifice is the essence of the plan to succeed, going forward.

3.25.2011 from Lane Tech on Vimeo.

My hope is that we don’t lapse into a miasma of cynicism that projects the hope of our future on business ventures that have little to do with manufacturing and instead seeks to tout the notion of a service economy. That is a canard dreamt up by those who hate unions and need to justify the attempts to replace good paying manufacturing jobs with supposedly more respectable jobs in businesses where you get to wear a suit and tie and sit at a desk or stand behind a counter.

No self-respecting economic power believes that to be possible going forward. If you make nothing you are at the mercy of those who can build and heaven forbid that you seek to order weapons parts from your anticipated enemy. That is laughable.

On the other hand if we are to have an economy which is more balanced (where we make and sell things that the world wants) we are going to need to have a less adversarial environment. It is difficult to imagine that workers who want to enter the middle class won’t also want to unionize if they think that the wages the need can only be had if they enter management. And if management continues to offer itself obscene salaries and golden parachutes while not giving a darn about the future of a company and its workers, then we are not going to succeed in being competitive. Everyone from the top to the bottom has be to willing to give a bit.

We cannot have a political landscape that masquerades as what it is not and that is a plane where movers and shakers can compromise to move the entire society forward. What we currently have is a less genuine battle royal than those waged in the ring of a WWF competition and doing so at the behest of large unions and even larger corporations. Neither of which is interested in non-constituents.

Where or where do the non-union, non-management types find some solace? I don’t know and I blame it all on Global Warming!

Fed and Ready to Return Home

On the way home we stopped for a cup of coffee and hot tea before hitting the pavement towards home. Birds are in evidence all around and folks are out on their bikes and walking their dogs and Spring seems to be trying to poke its head out of its shell. If it were not for the NCAA finals however it would be difficult to know this is March. Except for the Madness in the air (both basketball-related and political) it would be an uneventful time of the year. I can’t wait for Global Warming to end!