Chappaquiddick, Wrong Way and Gonzo


This Date In History: Ted Kennedy’s aspiration for higher political office went into the drink on this date in 1969 on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts. The Kennedy’s were having a party as a reunion for 5 women who had worked on the late Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign. Ted Kennedy said that he was driving Mary Jo Kopechne to the ferry that would take both of them home to their separate destinations. He said they took a wrong turn and ended up going off the end of a wooden bridge and into the water. Kennedy swam safely to shore while Kopechne drowned.chappaquiddick-kennedy

 There are many details of Kennedy’s story that have raised many questions, one of which is his story of taking Kopechne home. Apparently, she had left her purse and room key at the party. Go on any website and find out more sordid details. One thing is for certain, Mary Jo Kopechne’s life came to an end on this date in 1969 while millions of Americans were keeping tabs on the progress of the Apollo 11 astronauts.

Mary Jo Kopechne

Mary Jo Kopechne

As for Ted Kennedy, he reported the accident 10 hours after it happened and he received a two month suspended sentence and suspension of his driver’s license for a year for leaving the scene of an accident. Politically, it was Ted Kennedy’s Waterloo as he never ran successfully for President as the questions about Chappaquiddick continue to this day. Yet, he has remained a member of the United States Senate and Mary Jo Kopechne has become but a footnote to history.
corriganHeaded the Wrong Way Into History: Douglas Corrigan was an experienced pilot in the 1930’s. He in 1927 worked for the company that built Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis. He worked on the installation of the gas tanks, the wings and instrument panel. In 1935, he had aspirations of flying across the ocean too but was denied permission to make a transatlantic flight because authorities said his plane wasn’t airworthy for such an adventure. Nevertheless, he was cleared to fly across the country. So, he got into his somewhat dilapidated single engine airplane and took off from New York to head home to California. But, he claimed that he got lost in the clouds and his compass was stuck. Instead of going west, he went east and crossed the Atlantic On This Date in 1938. He became an international sensation and earned the moniker “Wrong Way Corrigan.” He even got a ticker-tape parade in New York in which 1 million people lined the parade route.

Corrigan stuck to his story until his death in 1995. Lost in the hoopla was the fact that it was still a very courageous and dangerous feat to fly solo across the Atlantic. Since “Wrong Way” stuck to his story and got a parade. I wonder if Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are expecting the same treatment.

"Gonzo" Journalist Hunter S. Thompson

"Gonzo" Journalist Hunter S. Thompson

The writer Hunter S. Thompson was born in Louisville on this date in 1929 just prior to the end of the Roaring 20’s and the stock market crash in October 1929. Thompson started a two page newspaper at age of ten, which he sold for 4 cents. By his late teens he was in trouble for drinking, carousing, pyromania and vandalism. By the time he was 18, he went to jail for robbery but was released as long as he joined the Air Force. In the USAF he became a sports reporter and later got a job as a reporter in New York, though his stint at that publication was short as he was fired for kicking a soft drink machine. He went on to write conventional journalism but hit his stride as an author. Hells Angels became a best seller in 1970. Later, he was to cover the Kentucky Derby but it is said he went on a week-long boozing streak instead. His editors kept sending copy boys to try and find him and he gave them scribbled notes. The result was an unusual article titled “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved,” which was hailed as a some sort of new journalistic style….gonzo journalism. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail both became best sellers. Thompson took his own life a couple of years ago.

Mr. Goodman is your last visit

Mr. Goodman is your last visit

While many people just love his work, I would warn young writers to not follow Thompson’s lead. Getting and staying loaded in the hopes of writing some great article or book will more than likely not produce great results unless your goal is to see an Herman Munster’s employer, Mr. Goodman.

Weather Bottom Line: Story is the same.  Global Warming denier dream, though perhaps misguided if they were to use this cool stretch for evidence…so don’t try.  It’s a winter long wave pattern.  Huge trof in the east with a parent low around the Great Lakes.  That low will swirl vort lobes, or little trofs, around and they will come through from time to time.  Generally, I think that they will just bring clouds, which will hold our temps in the upper 60’s for the north and low 70’s in the Louisville Metro area.  Sunday maybe a touch warmer and while there is some mention of a chance for showers or even a t’shower along with a trof rolling through, I really think it will be too dry for rain.  If it were winter, we’d get snow showers though.  Anyway, much much cooler than average temps and we’ll threaten the coldest afternoon high records for both Saturday and Sunday.  We start to moderate into mid week.  Look for lows in the 50’s and perhaps on Sunday night, if there aren’t too many clouds, even some low 50’s for northern counties.


One Response

  1. Full blog today, Bob! Ted Kennedy is the epitome of the double-standard on the left and in the media. If he had been a conservative running in a red state his career would have been over but in Massachussetts he gets a life-time seat in the Senate. Ridiculous. A man who is probably guilty of at least negligent homicide…maybe murder…gets to be senator-for-life just because of his name. One of my favorite bumper stickers after our former vice president’s hunting accident: I’d rather go hunting with Dick Cheney than driving with Ted Kennedy!

    No comment on Hunter Thompson. He came from that drugs will inspire you to be more creative phase in the 60’s. It may help you to make some money but it’s the stuff you come out with is pretty weird.

    You gotta love this weather though! I just hope we don’t “pay the piper” come August!

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