444 Slices
Medium 9780253019042

Part 5 The Present Past

Douglas A. Wissing Quarry Books ePub

Famous pose of Indiana outlaw John Dillinger holding a Thompson machine gun in one hand and a pistol in the other, circa 1930s.

Courtesy of Indiana Historical Society, Bass Photo Company Collection, P 130.

BANK ROBBER JOHN DILLINGER CAME BACK TO CROWN HILL on Wednesday July 5, 1934, three days after he had died in a rain of bullets outside Chicago’s Biograph Theater. His killing ended a nearly yearlong escapade that had captured America’s imagination. During his rampage, he and his gang had stolen $300,000 in multiple bank robberies, including $21,000 from Indianapolis’s Massachusetts Avenue Bank on September 6, 1933. When casing banks and jails, Dillinger’s gang had been wily: posing as Indiana State Police, bank security alarm salesmen, and movie executives scouting for locations. Dillinger had escaped supposedly impregnable jails, once with a carved wooden gun. “See what I locked all of you monkeys up with,” he laughed at his disarmed jailers as he turned the key on them. For months Dillinger led hundreds of police officers and federal agents on a wild chase across four states. To some Great Depression-ravaged Americans who had lost farms and homes to voracious banks and felt abandoned by an uncaring government, Dillinger looked like a Hoosier Robin Hood. To the authorities who counted as many as twenty-three people killed by the gang, John Dillinger was Public Enemy Number 1.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574416367

How Detroit Was Reborn: The Inside Story of Detroit’s Historic Bankruptcy Case: Detroit Free Press / By Nathan Bomey, John Gallagher, and Mark Stryker

Gayle Reaves, Editor UNT Press PDF

How Detroit Was Reborn: The Inside Story of Detroit’s Historic Bankruptcy Case

Detroit Free Press

November 9, 2014

By Nathan Bomey, John Gallagher, and Mark Stryker

City rises from horrific debt to incredible hope

U.S. District Chief Judge Gerald Rosen wondered what the hell he’d gotten himself into.

Rosen was in Florida in August 2013 for a quick golf vacation but was rising before dawn each day to read Detroit’s massive plan to restructure its debt. The numbers were horrific: $18 billion in liabilities, 78,000 blighted buildings, four of every 10 dollars already devoted to debt, pensions and retiree health care.

Thousands of elderly retirees were facing deep pension cuts—their livelihoods. Detroit's world-class art museum was at risk of losing its treasured pieces in a fire sale. The city needed hundreds of millions of dollars just to begin to climb out of the hole.

100

Best American Newspaper Narratives, Vol. 3

Rosen, the appointed federal mediator in the city’s historic bankruptcy case, picked up his pen and doodled an idea on the cardboard back of a legal pad. He wrote “art” and drew a box around it, representing protection for the city-owned Detroit Institute of Arts and its billions of dollars in masterpieces.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781771870801

THE BEACHCOMBER

Forrie, Allan Thistledown Press ePub
In his two part essay “The Beachcomber” Stephen Reid draws the reader into life in William Head Institution, a prison on the Southern tip of Vancouver Island where prisoners scavenge the beachfront for items to barter and treasure. As Reid wanders along the beach that serves as one of the prison’s four walls, watching the “hammered pewter surface of the sea”, he remembers the escape attempts of some of his fellow prisoners.
See All Chapters
Medium 9781927068304

Of Bulls and Baptisms

Lloyd Ratzlaff Thistledown Press ePub

OF BULLS AND BAPTISMS

I lock the Sunbird with a click of the key, check to see that I’ve parked far enough off the road, and turn toward the fence. Armed with a water bottle and a can of mosquito spray in a yellow plastic shopping bag, I part the barbed wire strands like this — there, I made it without ripping the back of my shirt or skewering my crotch — and walk into the heat along a scraggy downhill path in search of the old baptismal site, with swarms of mosquitoes coming toward me and as many grasshoppers jumping out of the way.

The remains of an old log barn sag there off to the right, walls slumped and half overgrown, roof long decomposed. I don’t remember it there forty years ago, when I was fourteen at the time of my washing; but I recall people driving down in their cars, the community coming to see the latest batch of teenagers doused in the river. Once before I was baptized I was here with my cousin to go fishing. We made our way gingerly around a herd of cows overseen by a malevolent old bull, but we didn’t catch any fish, and had to sneak back up again, cripes I hope there’s no bull here now. I look around and estimate my chances, now at mid-life, of outrunning a bull and climbing a tree in front of a pair of tapered horns.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781771870825

Little Bluestem and the Geography of Fascination

Virgo, Seán Thistledown Press ePub

LITTLE BLUESTREAM AND
THE GEOGRAPHY OF FASCINATION

Don Gayton

IT ONCE WAS A PART OF A GREAT AMBER SEA, this grass. The sea was drained and ploughed long before the invention of the airplane. Hawks and falcons may carry the memory, but no human has ever seen it from the air. But just to imagine looking down on that tallgrass sea, the grassy ocean that stretched from Winnipeg to Texas, and knowing that Schizachyrium was a part, is perhaps enough.

Schizachyrium, it is called. Sky za ky ri um. Skyzakyrium. It is a word so rarely said, you may put the accent on whichever syllable you like. Not sure why it so took me, really. It could have been the strange and haunting name of this prairie icon, this delicate bunchgrass. Or that it is the poster child of a different metabolism, and therefore fascinating by its minority, its ethnicity. Why should it matter, really, that I found it growing quietly hundreds of kilometers outside its range?

Schizachyrium; some assembly required. It is of course a Latin name, but one that takes on meanings of its own. Our nomenclature is based on a dead language because we don’t want connotations, we don’t want the evolution of meaning, but I wonder. What if the Latin roots of this particular word are so obscure we are forced to invent their meaning? I would have my own legend about the name Schizachyrium, that it doesn’t really mean that the seed has a split awn, (schizein=to split, achuron=chaff) but rather that it refers to the grave and rumpled god Schizachyrio, a lesser light among the Greek deities, one whose particular mojo was Obscure Complexity.

See All Chapters

See All Slices