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September 27th, 2009

~Sunday~  We were up at 8:00 after eight hours of sleep. We went to the Farmers' Market Restaurant for breakfast, where Robert had the French Toast and I had a Sausage and Cheddar Omelet. Robert treated, and I contributed the tip. Thanks, my sweet!

Back home, we finished that second crossword puzzle we started last night, and then Robert headed back to Durham, and I immdediately fell asleep on the couch. After being an absolute slug for two hours, I forced my ass up.

Eventually I made it to the gym, where after 300 (15 sets of 20 reps) of ab crunches, I did 60 minutes on the elliptical machine, for a 900-calorie burn. While doing so, I listened to a This American Life podcast episode 376, described as follows:

Wrong Side of History

Bernie Epton went down in history as the Other Guy: the white opponent who almost defeated the first black mayor of Chicago. But what’s the real story of someone who ended up on the wrong side of history? That and other stories of people with wildly popular or unpopular views for one moment in time, and how those views stand up years, decades, even centuries later.

Prologue. Madoff.

Host Ira Glass speaks with Harold Wilshinsky about a piece of advice he gave to his daughter and son-in-law over 15 years ago: take your money out of the hands of Bernie Madoff, and diversify. Reluctantly, they listened to Harold, even though his son-in-law’s family was making a fortune investing with Madoff. But as history would have it, Harold would come out in the know.  (8 minutes)

Act One. Hey Mister DJ.

For NPR’s Adam Davidson, dropping out of college is the worst thing any young person can do in this economy. So when Adam’s favorite cousin DJ does just that, Adam brings in a professor of economics from Georgetown University to help persuade DJ to get back on the right track. Only after hearing them both out, the professor thinks Adam, not DJ, might be the one on the wrong side of things. (10 minutes)

Song: "Don’t Be a Dropout," James Brown

Act Two. Does This Suit Make Me Look Terrorist To You?

Rany Jazayerli was thrilled when one of his closest friends, Mazen, was hired by the Obama campaign as the liaison to the Muslim community, in the months before the presidential election. It only took 3 weeks for a newspaper to attack his character, and for Mazen to resign from the job of a lifetime. Rany reads about the incident, from a piece he wrote for FiveThirtyEight.com.  (7 minutes)

Act Three. Family Feudalism.

Sketch comedy troupe Kasper Hauser performs a radio game show, where a race car driver, a guy fluent in middle English, and a teacher take turns cramming all the 21st century wisdom they can into a 30 second phone call to the 14th century. (4 minutes)

Act Four. The Other Guy.

When Bernie Epton ran for mayor of Chicago in 1983, he was a long shot—Chicago historically voted in democrat mayors, and Bernie himself didn’t think he stood a chance.  Beyond that, Bernie was a moderate republican, with some liberal tendencies:  he was a opponent of McCarthyism, he marched in Memphis after Dr. King’s assassination, and his kids went to majority black schools.

Until Harold Washington was chosen as the democratic candidate to beat, and the run for mayor of Chicago quickly became about race, and Bernie became a real contender for mayor.  In the weeks leading up to the election, Bernie became the symbol of white hope for voters who sought to place race before party.

Reporter Alex Kotlowitz speaks to Bernie Epton’s daughter Dale and son Jeff, to find out what happened during the election of 1983 and the years to follow, and the legacy that Bernie Epton even now can’t escape. (23 minutes)

Song: "Racist Friend," The Specials


Act Three really didn't work at all for me; fortunately, it was only four minutes long. Act Four was interesting in two ways: 1) in a pivotal incident in the story, there was a reference to William Safire, who died today, and 2) I had already heard the last 5 minutes or so of that podcast—as part of another podcast about father's if I'm remembering correctly.



On the way home, I stopped at the grocery store, checking off item #14 on Saturday's to-do list.



I picked up Joe at just before 8:00, and we went over to Blinco's for a couple of drinks. We're so disgusted with Flex on Sunday nights that we thought we'd try something different instead of just bitching about it.

Blinco's was okay. I like that they have a smoking side, and a non-smoking side, and the mixed drinks albeit a little on the small side, were not too bad pricewise at $4.50. I had a BLT Wrap that was okay, but not good enough to order again.

We did head over to Flex at a little after 9:30, where we easily picked back up bitching about it. I couldn't take it for very long, and I left after an hour.



At home, I wrote up a recommendation for a friend, item #5 on Saturday's to-do list, and I wrote out a thank-you card to Bill for his party yesterday.

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