Tag: harvey wasserman

“Call Me Sluggo”: A Life-long Activist Sheds His Slave Name

by Harvey “Sluggo” Wasserman

Originally published by the LA Progressive on December 30, 2017

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Enough is enough. Especially when it comes to a name.

Many of you have undoubtedly faced a crisis or two about your own. It can come from anywhere, like changing (or NOT) your family name when getting married. Or dumping the curse of one you never liked.

Famous examples abound. The great Texas-born classical pianist Van Cliburn was in fact Harvey Lavan Cliburn. Lady Gaga is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. Kirk Douglas was Issur Danielovitch. Marilyn Monroe came from Norma Jean Mortenson. Tony Curtis had been Bernard Schwartz. John Wayne was Marion Mitchell Morrison.

You get the picture.

When I was born in Boston 72 years ago this New Year’s Eve, my mom made my father promise not to name me “Harvey.” Dad’s father, who’d just passed away, was Herschel. So the “H” was unavoidable. But there were certainly better choices. She never forgave him. Me either.

My middle name is Franklin, as my parents were big FDR fans.  As an historian, I like it for Ben.

But “Harvey”?

The rabbit in the Jimmy Stewart movie was in fact a real-life “Pooka”, a Celtic spirit.

But in light of recent history, now that I’ve moved to Los Angeles, being introduced to new friends comes with “NOT the Hurricane, NOT Weinstein, NO relation to Debbie Schultz.”

Enough!

So I am shedding my slave name. Instead, where viable, we go with my hippie logo: Sluggo.

That silly moniker originated with a friend who thought I looked like a comic strip character, now long gone from the funny pages. Like me, that Sluggo had a sister Nancy. For more than a decade I lived with it on my communal farm, amidst friends and lovers who never knew my “real” identity.

That silly moniker originated with a friend who thought I looked like a comic strip character, now long gone from the funny pages. Like me, that Sluggo had a sister Nancy. For more than a decade I lived with it on my communal farm, amidst friends and lovers who never knew my “real” identity.

The name’s best feature is that little kids love it. It always morphs into “Swuggo”, prompting an instant smile.

It’s also a decent WTF radio name, quick to say, puzzling, memorable, at home in Solartopia on KPFK and PRN.

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It stuck on the hippie farm in part because I was also a baseball player (see photo). Now in my early seventies, I remember myself in my early twenties as being a spectacular athlete. And, of course, the older I get, the better I was.

Ask me after a few more brain cells disappear and I’ll tell you about my Hall of Fame career with the Red Sox, my banner years with the Celtics and my singles championships at Wimbledon and the US Open.

But in the interim, “Harvey Wasserman” will stick around for bylines. “Sluggo” will pop up mysteriously in the middle, when an editor will let it ride.

Like a Pooka, he’ll get ink on random name tags, along with “No Nukes” or “Solartopia”.

He is ALWAYS the only Sluggo in the room. It’s a great ice breaker. And no hurricane, Weinstein or Debbie Schultz.

So how about you? Got a name you HATE? One a parent stuck you with you NEVER forgave them for?

Or one you LOVE but never had the nerve to adopt?

Sure you do. Now take the leap!! You’ll be glad you did.

Just be sure to pick one that makes you smile when kids mis-pronounce it.

Harvey “Sluggo” Wasserman

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Harvey “Sluggo” Wasserman has many grandchildren who call him “Boppa” and/or “Harby.” “Swuggo” will now be added to the mix.

Follow Harvey on Twitter @Solartopia

Hear California Solartopia on KPFK 90.7 fm Los Angeles on Thursdays at 6:30 PM Pacific.

 

UN Panel: Renewables, Not Nukes, Can Solve Climate Crisis

 

The authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has left zero doubt that we humans are wrecking our climate. It also effectively says the problem can be solved, and that renewable energy is the way to do it, and that nuclear power is not. The United Nations’ IPCC is the world’s most respected authority on climate. This IPCC report was four years in the making. It embraces several hundred climate scientists and more than a thousand computerized scenarios of what might be happening to global weather patterns. The panel’s work has definitively discredited the corporate contention that human-made carbon emissions are not affecting climate change. To avoid total catastrophe, says the IPCC, we must reduce the industrial spew of global warming gasses by 40-70 percent of 2010 levels. Though the warning is dire, the report offers three pieces of good news. First, we have about 15 years to slash these emissions. Second, renewable technologies are available to do the job. And third, the cost is manageable. Though 2030 might seem a tight deadline for a definitive transition to Solartopia, green power technologies have become far simpler and quicker to install than their competitors, especially atomic reactors. They are also far cheaper, and we have the capital to do it. The fossil fuel industry has long scorned the idea that its emissions are
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disrupting our Earth’s weather. The oil companies and atomic reactor backers have dismissed the ability of renewables to provide humankind’s energy needs. But the IPCC confirms that green technologies, including efficiency and conservation, can in fact handle the job—at a manageable price. “It doesn’t cost the world to save the planet,” says Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, an economist who led the IPCC team. The IPCC report cites nuclear power as a possible means of lowering industrial carbon emissions. But it also underscores considerable barriers involving finance and public opposition. Joined with widespread concerns about ecological impacts, length of implementation, production uncertainties and unsolved waste issues, the report’s positive emphasis on renewables virtually guarantees nuclear’s irrelevance. Some

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atomic energy as a solution to global warming. But their most prominent spokesman, Dr. James Hansen, also expresses serious doubts about the current generation of reactors, including Fukushima, which he calls “that old technology.” Instead Hansen advocates a new generation of reactors. But the designs are untested, with implementation schedules stretching out for decades. Financing is a major obstacle as is waste disposal and widespread public opposition, now certain to escalate with the IPCC’s confirmation that renewables can provide the power so much cheaper and faster. With its 15-year deadline for massive carbon reductions the IPCC has effectively timed

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out any chance a new generation of reactors could help. And with its clear endorsement of green power as a tangible, doable, affordable solution for the climate crisis, the

pro-nuke case has clearly suffered a multiple meltdown. With green power, says IPCC co-chair Jim Skea, a British professor, a renewable solution is at hand. “It’s actually affordable to do it and people are not going to have to sacrifice their aspirations about improved standards of living.”

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