Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Rolling Stones – "Winning Ugly" (1986)

I was brought up to cheat 
So long as the referee
Wasn’t looking 

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it really make a sound?

If a basketball player violates a rule and the referee doesn’t see it, was there really a violation?

The answer to both questions is the same – correct?

*     *     *     *     *

I’ve been refereeing basketball since 2001.  

Now that I’m retired, I can do a lot more games during the week.  I can do middle-school games (which tip off at 315p on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays), junior varsity games (which usually start at 530p on weekdays but may start as early as 400p at some schools), and varsity games (which most often begin at 700p or 715p on weekdays).

Plus I can continue to referee county recreation department and CYO games, which begin at 900a on Saturdays and at noon on Sundays, and continue until well after dark.

Refereeing is the way I get in my exercise in the winter – when the temperatures are in the thirties and forties, I lose all interest in biking or hiking.  

Recently, I’ve been doing games almost every day.  I’m currently in the middle of a ten-day stretch where I have at least one game – sometimes two – every day.

*     *     *     *     *

As of now, it looks like I’ll referee 41 games in January.  (That number should have been higher, but five of my games have been postponed due to bad weather.)

That breaks down to 17 recreation department and CYO games, nine public middle-school games, a freshmen boys’ game at a private high school, eight high-school JV games (mostly at public schools), and six high-school varsity games (at both public and private schools).

Most of those games involved boys and but a fair number were girls’ games.  

Two of my rec department games involved 6th-grade boys.  The level of play in those games was nothing to write home about.

My most challenging game was a boys’ varsity game featuring some very fast and physical players.  My refereeing partner in that game was a Division I college referee, which was comforting.

*     *     *     *     *

I had to take a ten-session training class and pass a 100-question multiple-choice rules exam to become a referee – and I have to pass a written refresher exam every fall to maintain my status.

Maybe you played high-school basketball, or watch a lot of basketball on TV.  But I guarantee you that you wouldn’t answer more than a quarter of the questions on the rules exam correctly unless you studied the rulebook closely before you took that test.

But the hardest part of being a referee isn’t memorizing the rules.  The bigger challenge is learning when to blow my whistle and call a foul or a violation, and when not to blow the whistle – which is a decision that depends on the age and skill level of the players and a number of other factors.

*     *     *     *     *

You’ve heard the saying, “No harm, no foul.”  It’s not that simple, but there is quite a bit of truth in that statement.

For example, last weekend I had a 6th-grade boys’ rec department game that featured one player who was not only bigger and stronger than his opponents, but also a more skilled player.  Several times, he successfully dribbled through the defense and made a layup.  Each time he did that, there was contact.  

The contact didn’t slow this kid down, or knock him off course, or interfere with his shots.  In other words, it was what the rule book terms “incidental contact” – which is defined as contact which does not hinder a player from completing normal offensive or defensive movements.  Incidental contact is not a foul.

If you called a foul every time there was contact between two 6th-grade players, you’d be calling fouls on almost every possession – the kids wouldn’t be able to play because the referees would be constantly interrupting the action.

In a high-school game, I would have been more likely to call a foul because players at that level are more skilled, and you hold them to a higher standard.  Also, even relatively minor contact may still affect the outcome of a play at that level.  

*     *     *     *     *

The “No harm, no foul” principle doesn’t apply only to fouls, of course.

If you’ve ever played basketball, or have a son or daughter who has played basketball, you know about the “three seconds” rule.  In a nutshell, that rule holds that an offensive player can’t stand in the free-throw lane for more than three seconds.  

If you go to any low-level kids’ basketball game, you’ll hear coaches and parents yelling “Three seconds!” every time an opponent whose team has the ball is seen standing within the boundaries of the free-throw lane.

Are they doing that because the opponent is getting an advantage?  Most of the time, the answer to that question is “Absolutely not!”  The kid who is standing in the lane isn’t the 6th-grade equivalent of Wilt Chamberlain – someone who is bigger than the defenders, and who is pretty much unstoppable when he positions himself or herself in the lane close to the basket until a teammate lobs a high pass to him – a pass that none of the smaller defenders can reach – which he or she catches and deposits into the basket.

Usually, the kids that everyone yells “Three seconds!” about aren’t the better players.  They aren’t particularly big, and they’re no real threat to get the ball while positioned in the lane and then score.  They are in the lane simply because they’ve forgotten that they’re not supposed to stand in the lane.

If you call such a player for a three seconds violation, all you’ve done is embarrass him or her.  The violation had no effect on the game – the violator’s team got no advantage whatsoever.  Calling a three seconds violation in that situation has about as much effect on the game as a player’s mismatched socks or bad haircut.

By the way, the first thing that the referee who taught my training class said was, “Calling three seconds is the sign of a weak referee!”  He knew that the parents who yell “Three seconds!” aren’t worried about the opponents getting an advantage – they are simply trying to goad the referee into doing something that helps their child’s team.  

And he knew that a referee who focuses his or her attention on three seconds violations is probably missing other violations or fouls that have a much greater impact on the outcome of the game.

Of course, if a kid camps out in the lane long enough, you do have to call a three seconds violation eventually.  You hope that calling it one time is sufficient to make the point. 

*     *     *     *     *

It’s bad enough that parents and coaches in low-level games are so consumed with winning that they will verbally goose the refs in hopes of getting an edge.

What’s even more annoying is that most of those parents and coaches don’t even know what the three seconds rule says.   

Here’s an excerpt from rule 9.7.1 of the National Federation of High Schools basketball rulebook:

A player shall not remain for three seconds in . . . his/her free-throw lane . . . while the ball is in control of his/her team in his/her frontcourt.

The key phrase here is “while the ball is in control of his/her team.”  A team is in control of the ball when one of its players is holding or dribbling or passing the ball.  A team is NOT in control after a player takes a shot, or during the battle for rebounds.

Let’s say one of my teammates launches a shot and I run into the free-throw lane in hopes of grabbing the rebound if the shot is errant.  When it does miss, I grab the rebound and immediately shoot the ball at the basket.  My shot misses, but a teammate grabs that rebound and tries to put the ball in the basket.  He misses, but I grab the next rebound and take yet another shot – finally, the ball goes in.

I may have been in the lane for ten seconds, but that was legal because my team was never in control of the ball for as long as three seconds.  (There’s no team control while a shot is in flight, or the ball is bouncing on the rim.)  But you’ll hear cries of “Three seconds!” every time that happens.

When you’re a natural-born passive-aggressive type, it’s tempting to walk over to the coach or parent, give him or her a big smile, and explain the niceties of the three seconds rule in a tone of voice that is ever so polite, but also loud enough to be heard in the back row of the bleachers.

But I would never do such a thing, of course.  I simply turn the other cheek and go back to refereeing.

*     *     *     *     *

(NOTE: Most of the high schools in this area don't have dressing rooms reserved for officials – referees dress in classrooms or offices.  The photos above were taken in the girls PE office where I and my partner put on our uniforms before a recent high school game.)

*     *     *     *     *

“Winning Ugly” was released in 1986 on Dirty Work – which was the Rolling Stones’ 20th American studio album. 

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were not getting along when this album was recorded.  Jagger had just released his first solo album, and Richards thought he wasn’t giving enough time and attention to the Stones.

The backup singers on Dirty Work included legendary musicians Jimmy Cliff, Don Covay, Bobby Womack, Tom Waits, and Patty Scialfa (a/k/a Mrs. Bruce Springsteen), plus actress Beverly D’Angelo (a/k/a Mrs. Clark Griswold). 

Beverley D’Angelo and Chevy Chase
in National Lampoon’
s Vacation
Click here to listen to “Winning Ugly.”

Click on the link below to buy the song from Amazon:

Friday, January 25, 2019

Janet Jackson – "Discipline" (2008)

I misbehaved
And my punishment should fit my crime

In the previous 2 or 3 lines, we told you about some of the so-called “creative sentences” being imposed by judges around the United States.

Those judges and their supporters say that incarceration is often ineffective.  (It’s also expensive.)

They believe that nontraditional punishments – which often involve an element of public shaming – can have a strong deterrent effect on future crimes.

I suspect that the real motivation behind creative sentences may be that local judges are elected in many states, and that imposing unusual punishments is a good way for a judge to get publicity.

*     *     *     *     *

Some judges get a little too creative in their sentencing.

For example, a Houston judge once ordered a woman convicted of neglecting two horses to have a diet restricted to bread and water for the first three days of her 30-day jail sentence.  That order was not carried out because it violated state prison regulations mandating that inmates be fed a balanced diet that meets basic nutritional needs.

The very next day, the same judge upped the ante by ordering the owner of a metal-plating business who had illegally disposed of hazardous waste to drink a concoction containing some of the same toxic metals that he had dumped.

“If you had to taste the by-product of your own conduct, maybe you'd have second thoughts about ever, ever throwing something in a ditch, putting something down a drain or contributing in any way to polluting our waters,” Judge Michael Peters scolded the defendant.

The prosecutor in the case told the judge that ordering a criminal to drink hazardous waste would open the county up to a lawsuit.

“I think he just wanted to make a point,” the prosector said of the judge. “I think a lot of that was for show.”

(Ya think???)

*     *     *     *     *

The problem with a creative sentence handed down recently by a Missouri judge in a case against a deer-poaching ring wasn’t that it was dangerous to human health, but that it was silly.

“Conservation investigators estimated that the group was responsible for killing hundreds of deer over a three-year period,” the prosecuting attorney who brought the case said.  “The deer were trophy bucks taken illegally, mostly at night, for their heads, leaving the bodies of the deer to waste.”

Deer poachers are often motivated by money – they hope to sell the antlers they harvest.   But a Missouri Department of Conservation spokesman said that profit wasn’t what interested the gang.  “With this bunch it was more about the thrill of the kill itself,” he told a local newspaper.

*     *     *     *     *

Last month, one of the gang members was sentenced by Lawrence County Circuit Court Judge Robert George to serve a one-year jail term.

Judge George also ordered him to watch the classic Walt Disney movie, Bambi, at least once a month during his incarceration.   

I can see the judge telling this assh*le to spend part of his sentence helping out at the local animal shelter, or cleaning up trash at a state park or forest.  But if you ask me, sentencing him to watch Bambi once a month trivializes his offense.

I don’t know why Judge George decided to require this defendant to watch Bambi.  But I do know that the sentence got Judge George’s name in the local papers.

I also know that Missouri circuit judges are elected, and that Judge George will go before the voters in 2020.

*     *     *     *     *

Today’s featured song is the title track from Janet Jackson’s tenth studio album, Discipline, which was released in 2008:

That was a few years after her notorious “wardrobe malfunction” during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII, which momentarily exposed her right breast to 140 million TV viewers.

The incident was the most recorded and replayed event in the history of TiVo, and the “Most Searched for News Item” according to the Guinness Word Records book.

CBS’s CEO at the time – the serial sexual harasser Les Moonves – was extremely pissed at Jackson, who he suspected of intentionally exposing herself to get attention.  

Moonves reportedly banned Jackson from the 2004 Grammys broadcast that aired on CBS the week after the Super Bowl. 

The CBS chief executive allegedly told VH1 and MTV – who, like CBS, were owned by mass media conglomerate Viacom – and all Viacom-owned radio stations to stop playing Jackson’s songs and music videos.

Click here to listen to “Discipline.”

And click on the link below to buy the song from Amazon:

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Moby Grape – "Murder in My Heart for the Judge" (1968)

That mean old judge wouldn’t budge
I’ve got murder in my heart for the judge

More and more American judges are going beyond jail time and fines and handing out more creative sentences to offenders.

Punishments involving public shaming have become quite common.

For example, a woman was caught on camera driving on a sidewalk to get around a school bus that was dropping off children was ordered to spend two hours standing at a nearby intersection and holding a sign that read, “Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus”:

Public-shaming punishments have been ordered in much more serious cases as well.  In Houston, a judge sentenced a couple that embezzled $265,000 from a fund for crime victims to stand in front of a local mall with a sign reading “I am a thief” for five hours every weekend for six years.  The judge also ordered the couple to post a sign that said “The occupants of this residence are convicted thieves” in front of their home.

That’s some serious public shaming.

*     *     *     *     * 

Ohio judge Michael Cicconetti is not averse to ordering a public-shaming punishment when it’s appropriate.  For example, he told an 18-year-old man convicted of stealing from an adult video store that he could either spend 30 days in jail or sit outside the store wearing a blindfold and holding a sign that that read “See no evil.”  (Not surprisingly, the miscreant chose the latter option.) 

Cicconetti also ordered a man found guilty of soliciting a prostitute to wear a chicken suit around town:

The punishment was apparently inspired by the notorious “Chicken Ranch” brothel, which was the subject of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.  

(I suspect that the message that the judge intended to send by means of the chicken suit sentence went right over the heads of most local residents.)

*     *     *     *     *

Cicconetti has handed down some other unusual non-shaming punishments as well.

When a 19-year-old was found guilty of stiffing a cab driver on a $100 fare, Judge Cicconetti gave her the choice of spending 30 days in jail or walking 30 miles – the distance that the cab driver drove her.  She chose to walk the 30 miles.

And a woman who had pepper-sprayed a man at a local Burger King for no good reason agreed to be pepper-sprayed herself by her victim in order to avoid doing any jail time.  But the liquid given to the man to spray in her face was actually a harmless saline solution that local police use in training scenarios – the judge hoped to scare her straight without actually injuring her.

*     *     *     *     *

In one of his most famous cases, Cicconetti sentenced a woman to spend a cold night in the same woods where she had abandoned 35 kittens.

“She was harboring cats and she got overwhelmed and dumped them in the woods,” the judge said. “Her sentence was, ‘You go out in the woods the same way you dumped these kittens off.’”

“How would you like to be dumped off in the Metro Park at night, listening to the coyotes up on you, listening to the raccoons around you?” Cicconetti asked the woman before he sentenced her.

Judge Michael Cicconetti
That night the area was hit by a major snowstorm, and officials went to the park and picked the woman up around midnight. 

But Cicconetti believed the well-publicized punishment worked.  “We used to get abandoned cat cases.  We haven't in a while,” he said.

*     *     *     *     *

To Cicconetti, the unusual punishments are no laughing matter. He contends he's relieving an overcrowded jail system and at the same time sending a stern message.

“So many of these cases have received media attention. The people in this community know that if you come into this court, you never know what's going to happen,” Cicconetti said. “It does deter conduct for our community, and that's who I have to answer to.”

The judge acknowledged that there has been criticism of some of his creative sentences.  “There have been people that don't like [these sentences], that think I'm doing this for publicity,” he told one reporter.  

OF COURSE HE’S DOING IT FOR PUBLICITY!  Isn’t that as plain as the nose on your face?

But Judge Cicconetti scoffs at his critics.  “You get criticism, mostly from people hiding behind fictitious names on a blog,” he said.

(If the shoe fits . . .)

*     *     *     *     *

In the next 2 or 3 lines, I’ll tell you about a very peculiar creative sentence handed down by a judge from just a few miles up the road from my home town. 

*     *     *     *     *

“Murder in my Heart for the Judge,” was written by Moby Grape’s drummer, Don Stevenson, and released on the group’s 1968 album, Wow.

Click here to listen to “Murder in My Heart for the Judge.”

And click on the link below to buy the song from Amazon.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Honky Tonk Confidential – "Road Kill Stew" (2007)

The eating’s more fun
When the meat that you’re eating
Is hit and run

Earlier this month, the Oregon legislature unanimously passed a law making it legal to eat roadkill.

Oregonians can only chow down on deer and elk carcasses, and it’s not legal to give the meat to your dog or cat – the roadkill must be consumed by humans.

The death of the animal must have resulted from an accident.  Obviously, the state doesn’t want people hunting hoofed ruminants with automobiles.  

And the law requires you to deliver the head and antlers of any dead deer or elk you salvage to your local Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife office within five business days.  (I personally would be dropping off the head toot sweet rather than keeping it around the house for five days, but it’s nice of the state not to rush people.)

The fish and wildlife folks suggest you call to make an appointment before dropping by.  That sounds like a very good suggestion – you don’t want to show up only to find a half-dozen other roadkill harvesters have arrived ahead of you, forcing you to hang out in the waiting room with your deer or elk head until it’s your turn.) 

By the way, if the driver of the vehicle that hits the animal doesn’t want to take the carcass home, any roadkill gourmand who wanders by is free to harvest it – it’s a first-come, first-served situation.  

*     *     *     *     *

I’m a little surprised that it was considered illegal in Oregon to consume roadkill prior to the enactment of the new law.  Is it really any of the state’s business if you want to cook up a big mess of roadkill stew?

And while the right to dine on roadkill isn’t expressly mentioned in the Constitution, we shouldn’t overlook the Ninth Amendment, which reads as follows:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

In other words, just because the Constitution and its amendments explicitly state that Americans have particular rights – the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to a jury trial, etc. – that doesn’t mean that they have only those rights.

*     *     *     *     *

For example, in 1965, the Supreme Court struck down a Connecticut law prohibiting the use of contraceptives because it infringed the right of marital privacy – even though the Constitution says nothing about such a right.

According to the Court, the “specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees” that guarantee certain fundamental rights – such as the right to marital privacy.

From Justice Douglas’s majority opinion in that case:

Would we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives?  The very idea is repulsive to the notions of privacy surrounding the marriage relationship. . . . Marriage is a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred. 

*     *     *     *     *

Justice Douglas talked the talk when it came to marriage.  But he also walked the walk – except for the “hopefully enduring” part.  He was married no fewer than four times.  

His third marriage – to a 23-year-old recent college graduate who had written her senior thesis on Justice Douglas – took place less than two years before he wrote the words quoted above, when he was 64.

Justice William O. Douglas with his fourth wife
But Douglas wasn’t done playing the marriage game.  In 1966, he divorced wife number three and married a 22-year-old college student who he had met at a mountain resort in Washington state.  He was vacationing there, while she had a summer job as a waitress.

*     *     *     *     *

Two points before we move on.

First, while I don’t know this for a fact – I took a constitutional law course in law school in 1975, and haven’t paid much attention to the subject since then – I would bet that if there’s a constitutional right to marital privacy, there has to be a right to extramarital privacy as well.   (You definitely need to keep extramarital stuff private – right?)

Second, if marital privacy is protected by the Ninth Amendment as a fundamental right retained by the people, isn’t the same true of the right to consume roadkill?  (I think the question answers itself.)

*     *     *     *     *

About half of Oregon’s four million-odd residents live in the Portland metropolitan area.  “Keep Portland Weird” is the city’s slogan, and from what you read in the papers, Portlanders are doing a pretty good job of doing just that.

I doubt that there’s much roadkill available in Portland, and I have a feeling that most Portlanders would eschew consuming it even if there was plenty of it to be found on the highways and byways of “The City of Roses.”  

But the eastern two-thirds of Oregon is quite rural, and I’m guessing that a fair number of deer and elk fall victim to fast-moving SUVs and pickups in that part of the state.  

Legalized roadkill is going to come in handy when the Democrats take over Washington, DC, someday.  They’ll immediately raise taxes and promulgate a bunch of anti-business regulations, which will put an end to the record low unemployment levels we’re enjoying these days.

When that happens, I predict that you’ll see thousands of hungry, jobless Oregonians driving around aimlessly in hopes that a nice, fat deer or elk will jump out in front of them.

*     *     *     *     *

Click here if you’d like to view a how-to video titled “Butchering Roadkill Deer: Free All-Natural Organic Wild Venison.”  (WARNING: I hope you have a strong stomach if you decide to watch this video – you’ll need it.)

The creator of that video doesn’t see what all the fuss is about eating roadkill.

“It’s meat,” he said.  “Whether you buy it in a store or pick it up on the side of the road, it’s the same thing.”

Excuse me, but I beg to differ.  I don’t think it’s the same thing at all.

*     *     *     *     *

“Road Kill Stew” was released in 2007 on Honky Tonk Confidential’s Road Kill Stew and Other News album:

If you’re looking to shed a few of those pounds you put on over the holidays, let me suggest that you listen to “Road Kill Stew” song the next time you’re hungry.  The lyrics to that song are guaranteed to put you off your feed.

Click here to listen to “Road Kill Stew.”

And click on the link below to buy the song from Amazon:

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Archie Eversole (ft. Bubba Sparxxx) – "We Ready" (2002)

We ready
We ready
We ready
For y’all

If you watched any NFL playoff games last weekend, you no doubt saw this commercial for the NFL:

It’s a great commercial – I put it in the same class as some of the great Nike TV spots of the past.

You probably also saw another commercial a number of times while watching the playoffs.  The “Anthem” spot – which advertised GMC’s fancy-schmancy new MultiPro six-function pickup tailgate:

The spot for the NFL features the chorus from Atlanta rapper Archie Eversole’s 2002 hit, “We Ready.”

The GMC commercial uses “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” a 1969 single by Steam, one of my favorite all-time one-hit wonders.

Watch both commercials and you’ll notice something: the basic riff of “We Ready” is exactly the same as the basic riff of “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.”

*     *     *     *     *

Archie Eversole was born in Germany in 1984 – both his parents were active-duty military at the time – but grew up in Atlanta. 

Eversole was something of a rap wunderkind – he was only 17 when his 2002 album, Ride Wit Me Dirty South Style, was released.  (The album would have been released even earlier if Eversole hadn’t been convicted of assault and sentenced to eight months in the poke.) 

I’m not sure what happened to Eversole after that, but he never released another album.  

However, in 2018 he wrote “United We Conquer,” which Atlanta’s professional soccer team (Atlanta United FC) has made its official team anthem.

It’s OK for an American soccer anthem, but it’s no “We Ready” – which has apparently become de rigger for high school football teams who want to psych themselves up before taking the field for a game.

Click here for “We Ready.”

And click below to order the song from Amazon:

Friday, January 11, 2019

Katie Ellen – "Lucy Stone" (2017)

I don’t believe in getting married
It’s a socioeconomic prison

(That’s what he said.)

*     *     *     *     *

Many of the notable people that Wikipedia says are natives of my hometown – Joplin, Missouri – were born in a hospital in Joplin but grew up in a nearby town.

One such person was Jane Grant, who was born in Joplin in 1892, but went to school in Girard, Kansas – a town with fewer than 3000 residents that’s about 45 minutes northwest of Joplin.   

Jane Grant
I don’t recall ever passing through Girard, much less stopping there.  I got as far as Pittsburg – a much larger college town that had a number of bars where 18-year-olds could legally drink 3.2% beer – but no farther.

It turns out that Girard was a hotbed of socialism in the early 1900s.  Appeal to Reason, the largest-circulation socialist newspaper in the United States, was printed in Girard.  Its editor commissioned novelist Upton Sinclair to write The Jungle, which was serialized in Appeal to Reason.

Eugene Debs, who was the Socialist Party’s candidate for president in 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920, lived in Girard for a number of years.

But I digress.

*     *     *     *     *

I don’t know if Jane Grant’s parents were socialists, but her father was a miner – so it wouldn’t be surprising if he was.

Grant moved to New York City when she was just 16.  She told her parents that she wanted to learn to be a music teacher and then move back to Girard, which she later admitted was a big fib:

Although teaching voice was considered a cut above school teaching, I wanted no part of it.  At an early age, I had decided against both teaching and marriage.  In my secret heart I meant to remain in the East once I got there.  I would be a singer – perhaps go on stage.  But my secret must be carefully guarded, I knew, for no such idea would be tolerated by my mother’s religious family.

She was hired as a stenographer by the New York Times, but eventually became a reporter – the first female to be a full-time reporter for the Times

When the famed Times theatre critic Alexander Woollcott went to France to report on World War I, he arranged for Grant to became a singer with a USO-type organization.  He introduced her to Harold Ross, who wrote for Stars and Stripes, a weekly newspaper written by American soldiers for American soldiers.

*     *     *     *     *

When she returned to New York City after the war, Grant became one of the group of writers who dined regularly at the Algonquin Hotel and later became famous as the “Algonquin Round Table.”

Jane Grant and Harold Ross
Grant married Harold Ross in 1920.  The next year, she and journalist Ruth Hale founded the Lucy Stone League, which was named after the first married American woman to retain her birth name after marriage.

Hale wrote a pamphlet that explained why the Lucy Stone League was founded:

We are repeatedly asked why we resent taking one man’s name instead of another’s – why, in other words, we object to taking a husband’s name, when all we have anyhow is a father’s name.  Perhaps the shortest answer to that is that in the time since it was our father’s name it has become our own –  that between birth and marriage a human being has grown up, with all the emotions, thoughts, activities, etc., of any new person. . . . Even aside from the fact that I am more truly described by the name of my father, whose flesh and blood I am, than I would be by that of my husband, who is merely a co-worker with me (however loving) in a certain social enterprise, am I myself not to be counted for anything?

Ross did not share his wife’s beliefs:

I never had one damn meal at home at which the discussion wasn’t of women’s rights and the ruthlessness of men in trampling women.  Grant and Ruth Hale had maiden-name phobias, and that was all they talked about, or damn near all.

*     *     *     *     *

For several years, the couple lived on Grant’s paycheck and saved Ross’s salary until they had enough to get their new magazine off the ground.

The cover of the first
issue of the
New Yorker
The New Yorker was not a big hit initially – a wealthy friend came through with a well-timed offer to invest in the magazine just when Grant and Ross thought they would have to suspend publication – but eventually became a financial and artistic success.  Its contributors included the many of the best journalists, critics, short-story writers, poets, and cartoonists in the world.

Grant and Ross divorced in 1929.  She visited Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union several times in the thirties in her capacity as a foreign correspondent for the New York Times

*     *     *     *     *

Grant married William Harris, a Fortune magazine editor, in 1939.  The couple moved to Litchfield, Connecticut, and founded White Flower Farm, which became one of the largest and most successful mail-order gardening businesses in the United States.

I’ve given amaryllis bulbs from White Flower Farms as gifts for years.  (If you've received one from me, you must be a very special person.)  They produce spectacular flowers:

*     *     *     *     *

Grant rebooted the Lucy Stone League in 1950.  The League pushed the Census Bureau to allow married women to use their maiden names as their official names in census records.

In 1968, Grant published a memoir titled Ross, The New Yorker, and Me.  It was dedicated to her second husband, who had encouraged her to write it.

Jane Grant's memoir
Jane Grant died in 1972.  Her widower funded the Center for the Study of Women in Society at the University of Oregon, and donated his wife’s papers to the university.

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When pop-punk band Chumped broke up in 2016, front woman Anika Pyle and drummer Dan Frelly formed Katie Ellen, which took its name from a moniker used by Pyle’s great-grandmother, who – like Jane Grant – was a feminist who pursued a career in journalism.

“Lucy Stone” was the lead single from Katie Ellen’s debut LP, Cowgirl Blues, which was released in 2017.

Click here to listen to “Lucy Stone.”

Click on the link below to buy the song from Amazon: