The 1952 polio epidemic—and me
Given that both of my parents are deceased, I have no way of learning more about the earliest part of my life. A pediatrician apparently thought I might have polio or another debilitating disease of the lower extremities, and so the decision was made to strap some leather-and-metal braces on each of my legs. It was common therapy for polio at the time, along with grafting, tendon- and ligament-lengthening, and hot packs, all meant to preclude muscle atrophy and recruit nerve cells that had… read on
I saw Doctor J when he was young
More than 40 years after the demise of the American Basketball Association, you can still color me red, white and blue—as in the league’s rather garish ball. During my junior year of high school, I considered myself lucky to witness the arrival of Spencer Haywood. This 6' 9" forward for the Denver Rockets had played just one season of college ball (at the University of Detroit), but he set the ABA on fire with 30 points and 19 rebounds per game in 1970. I raved about Haywood and called him… read on
UT’s Gregory Gymnasium
In one respect, I am unqualified to write this piece since I am 7,000 miles from the scene and have been living the expat life for almost a decade. Nevertheless, I am a graduate of the University of Texas, wrote three books on Longhorn sports history and lived in Austin for more than 30 years, on or near the campus. In the process of doing those books, I spent hours and hours poring over back issues of the Daily Texan (student newspaper), Cactus (student yearbook), Alcalde (alumni magazine)… read on
Now who was the slave master, and who was the slave?
I can hardly imagine why Dr. Norman Davies did not respond to my e-mail. I had written to him in Oxford, England after having completed his 1,200-page book on European history. I said nice words, of course, but I also gently asked why he had failed to make the slightest reference to the approximately 1.25 million Europeans (and 700 or so American sailors) who had been snatched and enslaved by the Barbary pirates of what are today Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. If he could spend several… read on
Fie on speed reading, fie!
Here I am at age 64, and I’m learning as never before. I do so primarily as an autodidact, by reading nonfiction books (history, biography, sports and so on). The content comes first, but there are other benefits. It has been proven—or at least stated persuasively—that reading reduces stress, is conducive to good sleep, exposes us to ideas we would never come up with on our own, teaches us how to communicate effectively, gives us empathy, adds depth and breadth to life, satisfies our… read on