And now for my next impression, Jesse Owens

The first “buggy” race at Carnegie Institute of Technology, 1920. The event is no longer so unstructured. (Carnegie Mellon University Archives)

A bug crawled across my arm at 4:57 this morning. Roger Bannister in 1954 couldn’t have gotten across the bedroom any faster. I must have looked like a paunchy, pasty, Saturn V rocket.

Try getting back to sleep after that.

Anyway, with the help of a lot of coffee and refined sugar, I’ll be doing a show today from 12 to 3 p.m. Eastern on our flagship station, WRCT (88.3) and Tube City Online Radio at

Don’t forget, WRCT is Carnegie Mellon University’s station, and this is CMU Spring Carnival weekend, so the start of the show may be a little bit delayed due to CMU’s Sweepstakes races — more commonly known as “buggy” — through Schenley Park.

Buggy started out in the 1920s as a fun, “anything goes” race between fraternities and sororities, but the motto of Carnegie Tech has always been “nothing succeeds like excess” and it’s since become a deadly serious competition, with pages and pages of rules, long training sessions for judges, vicious disputes over alleged infractions, and bitter recriminations for years afterwards.

A lot like America, in other words.

Continue reading “And now for my next impression, Jesse Owens”