St. Patrick’s Day: A Tradition to Dye For

Why Dye 4

For over fifty years, as part of Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities, the Chicago River is dyed florescent green. Great idea, right? But just where did the idea come from? You’d be surprised…

As Mayor of Chicago, Richard J. Daley approved a large-scale redevelopment of the city’s riverfront. One of the project’s goals was to clean and sanitize the heavily polluted Chicago River. In an effort to pinpoint which buildings were the source of the illegal contamination, officials devised a clever plan. Contractors were ordered to place a specialized green dye into the sewage system to trace the origin of discharged water – if the river turned green someone was dumping waste illegally.

In 1961, Stephen Bailey, General Chairman of the  newly commissioned St. Patrick’s Day Parade, gazed down at the curious green patterns swirling through the river current. In a eureka-like moment he came up with a creative idea, one that would become a cherished local tradition.

 

Leonard Nimoy, Mr. Spock and the Greeting That Brought Their Worlds Together (Video)

First things first, I’m no Trekkie by any means, heck I can barely speak a decent Klingon!

That being said, despite my best efforts to avoid being sucked into the black hole that is the Star Trek Fandom Universe, some general concepts, underlying themes and lead characters have made their way into my impressionable consciousness. You see, I do believe Star Trek was created upon fundamental, humanistic and universal themes; that if one were to look beyond the “geeky” sci-fi component, we would all find something we could wrap our heads around and appreciate.

That brings us to Captain Kirk’s right-hand man – the iconic Mr. Spock.

Spock has transcended Star Trek like Babe Ruth transcended baseball – you don’t need to have a grasp on the game to appreciate the Babe.  If you’d ask me, I’d say yes the pointy ears and funny name had something to do with Spock’s rise to super-stardom but I truly believe it is Spock’s alienating internal struggle between a Vulcan’s adherence to logic and a Human’s reliance on emotion that won him a place in the hearts of millions of Earthings

Perhaps the person who understood Spock better than anyone else was the late Leonard Nimoy – the man who not only played the original Spock but was instrumental in the formulation and development of the character himself.

So I dug up two videos of Leonard Nimoy that are both fascinating and entertaining. The videos offer a glimpse into the minds of Nimoy and Spock and the who woulda thunk it story behind the greeting that brought their worlds together.

Take a look, you won’t be disappointed!

Continue reading Leonard Nimoy, Mr. Spock and the Greeting That Brought Their Worlds Together (Video)

Santa Claus: The Ho-Ho-Whole Story (Checkpoints in an Evolution)

Twas the night before yesterday, I was walking through Times Square in New York City, gazing up at the festive holiday season lights when I bumped into a Santa Claus – quite literally. I paused for the claus, and offered an apology. Santa turned back looking non to pleased. At that moment I realized two things: First, I could kiss that Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle goodbye 😉 Second, this Santa was uncharacteristically short and oh so skinny, it looked all wrong!!! Soo, I started thinking…

Just who is the Santa Claus icon and what pivotal events shaped his evolution into today’s modern-day cultural icon? Well, I made short list  – and you bet I checked it twice!

Continue reading Santa Claus: The Ho-Ho-Whole Story (Checkpoints in an Evolution)

Think You Got Macy’s Cornered?… Think Again.

It may have been George Washington that declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, but it was Macy’s and their larger-than-life parade and festivities that has brought the holiday to the masses.

Each Thanksgiving day, Millions flock to the streets of Manhattan, to gaze up at those oh-so massive balloons as they float by on route to Macy’s flagship store at Herald Square. With the completion of its new 2.2 million square foot home in 1924, Macy’s became the site of the worlds largest store…but not before being forever shaped by one of the most epic real estate holdout battles in New York City history!

Continue reading Think You Got Macy’s Cornered?… Think Again.

The Geico Gecko: A Beginnings Story

 

What does an adrenaline-seeking swine, a well-mannered neanderthal and a green-backed lizard all have in common? They can all save you 15 percent or more on car insurance – by switching to Geico…

Though it is currently the second largest auto insurer in the US, Geico is best known for its long lineup of creative ad campaigns. Their commercials are quite hard to miss. In fact, it seems impossible to get through a commercial break these days without one of their ads popping up.

Over the years, Geico introduced the public to an array of new characters and story-lines. Before the Cavemen and Maxwell the Pig, there was the original and most identifiable of the Geico icons – the Gecko.

So what was it that inspired the creation of the Geico Gecko? Why turn to a fictional character to promote the company?  Though the Gecko was quite literally born for the job…ultimately he has the unions to thank…

Continue reading The Geico Gecko: A Beginnings Story

The Pentagon: There’s Five Sides to this Origin Story.

 

Nothing is ever simple in the Nation’s Capital. Washington DC is a city that runs on the fuel that is politics, so rarely will one find a spade being called for what it is, a spade – that is unless you are referring to the Pentagon.

The United States Department of Defense (DOD) is often goes by its metonymic nickname, the Pentagon. The name was given in reference to the massive pentagon shaped structure that serves as the DOD’s headquarters.

So, just how did this peculiar five-sided national treasure get its shape? Lets find out… Continue reading The Pentagon: There’s Five Sides to this Origin Story.