Wednesday, January 28, 2009

LST in the News

The Jan. 27th Evansville (In) Courier Press reports that the LST-325 is expected to be placed on the Indiana registry of Historic Places, a first step on the road to inclusion on the National registry of Historic Places.

The LST, one of few remaining ships, is currently docked in Evansville after being on a temporary home at Mobile, Alabama. LST stands for Landing Ship, Tank. One of its main jobs was to land tanks, men, and vehicles directly onto an enemy beach.

They have a website:

During World War II, LSTs were made in Evansville on a 45-acre site along the Ohio River. At peak operation, the shipyard employed 19,000 and completed two ships a week. They were originally contracted for 24 ships, but ended up launching 167 LSTs and 24 other ships.

The LST-325 was not, unfortunately, launched from Evansville, but from Philadelphia. It participated in North Africa operations and Sicily. It was at Omaha Beach on D-Day and made more than 40 trips across the English Channel. After decommissioning in 1946, it served in the Greek Navy from 1964 to 1999.

The ship is 327 feet long and has a 50 foot beam.

I had the opportunity to talk with a man who had been on an LST in the Pacific during the war. His interview can be found on my blog for January.

Great Job in the Preservation of a Ship that Had So Much to Do With Victory During World War II. --Cooter

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

WW II-Vietnam Veteran SS Transglobe Honored

The National Maritime Hall of Fame has honored the SS Transglobe and its crew with a position in the hall.

During World War II, the ship carried 200,000 passengers and casualties both ways during 7 convoy round trips across the North Atlantic. It was also at D-Day.

It was brought back during the Vietnam War.

Impressive Ship Gets Its Due. --Cooter

Mystery of the HMAS Sydney Body Continues

The Jan 28th Sydney Herald Sun reports that the identity of the HMAS Sydney survivor who washed ashore two months after the battle at Christmas Island is still a mystery and even more of a one.

Last year, it was thought that the list of possible men was down to 16, but now it is at 100.

The metal fragment from the skull has definitely been identified as from a German heavy calibre armor piercing shell.

Tests are still being run on relatives. Of course, the thing that got the count down to 16 was the color of a uniform that was found, which would have been an officer's. Perhaps there has been some new development in that department which the article made no mention.

But the Mystery Continues. --Cooter

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dead Page: Marines-- "The War"


USMC General and legend

Standing just 5 feet five inches, Gen. Krulak rose to command all Marine forces in the Pacific from 1964 to 1968 and was nicknamed "The Brute" by classmates at the Naval Academy.

As a major before World War II, he helped developed the plan of amphibious warfare used to defeat the Japanese and championed the use of the Higgins boat to land troops, so often used during the war.

During the Korean War, he orchestrated the 1st Marine Brigade to save the day at the Pussan Peninsula. In the 1950s and1960s he formulated counter-insurgency techniques used during the Vietnam War and as commander in the Pacific of Marines, he oversaw the build-up of the war from 1964 to 1968.

After the war, he was very critical of the handling of the effort by the US government.


Died Dec. 28, 2008. A fighter pilot during World War II from Luverne, Minnesota who was featured in Ken Burns' WW II epic "The War.". Mr. Aanenson enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and flew 75 combat missions in a P-47 Thunderbolt, mostly with the 391st Fighter Squadron of the 366th Fighter group.

He also wrote, filmed, and narrated his own documentary of his experiences, "A Fighter Pilot's Story."

The Greatest Generation.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Some New 2009 Commemorative Stamps

The year 2009 will see a series of stamps looking back at the age of black and white television. One stamp will feature "I Love Lucy" where Lucy and Ethel work at a chocolate assembly line. In another, Sgt. Joe Friday will say "Just the Facts" "Dragnet-style. Groucho Marx wants to know the secret word, Ozzie & Harriett, Ed Sullivan, the Honeymooners and others will be out as well.

Sadly, the current way-expensive 42 cent stamp will be EVEN More expensive in May.

There will be Alaska, Hawaii, and Oregon anniversary issues as well.

This being Lincoln's birth bicentennial, there will also be four for him as well.

Thank Goodness for Those Peel and Apply Stamps These Days. --Da Coot

Thursday, January 22, 2009

HMAS Sydney Likely Victim of Ruse

At hearings in Australia as to the loss of the Sydney, the possibility that it the Sydney was sunk by a ruse or series of ruses was put forth. The Kormoran likely used these to lure the Sydney within range of a destructive attack.

The Kormoran was disguised as the Dutch merchant ship Straat Malakka on the Nov. 19, 1941 battle. It may have sailed into the sun after being hailed by the Sydney, or put up confusing flag signals.

Either way, the experienced captain of the Sydney, fell for the gambit and was essentially knocked out of battle in the early moments.

A Devastating Loss to Australia Three Weeks Before Pearl Harbor. --Old Coot

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What Happened to the Crew of the HMAS Sydney?

Ever since that fateful day in 1941, when the HMAS Sydney was sunk in a horrific battle with the German raider Kormoran (which also sank), there has been the question of what happened to the crew of the Sydney, all of whom died. Surely, some of them made it off the ship before it sank, but other than one body, which drifted ashore months later at Christmas Island.

Now, scientist Leon de Yong says any floating bodies eventually succumbed to the elements, and sank, but eventually refloated as gasses were released in the dead bodies. They might have floated for another ten days, but, by then, the air search had ended.

There still is the theory that some might have floated ashore, but were secretly buried by security forces.

This is Probably a Mystery That Will Always Remain. --Cooter

Congratulations Tuskegee Airmen

This group of black heroes finally got their due and had personal invitations to all the inauguration hoopla yesterday.

They put their lives on the line in service of their country in World War II, and yet, upon return to the US, many again found themselves second-class citizens, the same as before.

Over 16,000 pilots and ground personnel trained at the Tuskegee Institute during the war and then served overseas. Of that number, about 330 are still alive and around 200 of the old gentlemen, in their 80s and 90s, attended. Many were in wheel chairs and were otherwise crippled, but yet they came.

This had to be a proud moment for them and the country.

Couldn't Be Prouder. --Cooter

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dead Page-- " You're No Good"


Songwriter Clint Ballard, Jr., died Dec. 23, 2008. He wrote more than 550 songs during his career, but the two biggest were "You're No Good" by Linda Ronstadt and "Game of Love" by Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders. Both of these hit the #1 spot. He also wrote "I'm Alive" and "here I Go Again" by the Hollies and another big hit, "Good Timin'" by Jimmy Jones.

The Linda Ronstadt song came ten years after his first #1. He was born and raised in El Paso, Texas.

I really like all of these songs.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Circuit City History

With this company riding off into history, I decided to find out some information about it so used good old Wikipedia. Come to find out that CC has a southern heritage.

In 1949, Samuel S. Wurtzel opened the first Wards' Co. store in Richmond, Virginia. (the name Ward's not used by Montgomery Wards until its last days). By 1959, there were four Wards stores in the Richmond area and it continued to grow into other areas during the 1970s and 1980s and also began selling mail-order under the name Dixie Hi-Fi.

In Richmond, they experimented with different retail formats including "Sight-n-Sound," "Circuit City," and "Ward's Loading Dock", this last one its first Big Box effort. Big-Box clicked with customers as did the name Circuit City, and so it was.

The whole corporation officially changed their name in 1984 to Circuit City. An early commercial read "Circuit City-- Where the Streets are Paved with Bargains."

In 2007, they had 43,000 employees in the US. That's a lot of people out of work. Hopefully, upper management won't be walking out with obscene amounts of money.

Sad to See It Go. Definitely a Place Where I Did a lot of Business. --Old Coot

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Groceries March 18, 1971

Whenever I get an old newspaper, I have to admit I'm more interested in the ads than the news articles. A few months ago, I attended the monthly meeting of the Fox Lake, Illinois, Historical Society. Lakeland Publishers has donated some huge old books of bound newspapers, so I was looking through one from 1971 and came across the prices for grocery items.

A store called Shop Rite Roundy was offering:

smoked ham-- 49 cents a pound
sliced bacon-- 49 cents a pound
10 lbs. Idaho potatoes-- 69 cents
3 lb. can of Hills Brothers coffee-- $2.09
potato salad-- 29 cents a lb.
fresh baked cherry tarts-- 15 cents

I could sure live with these prices in today's expensive times.

I also say a photograph elsewhere of a group of World War I soldiers standing in front of Koeth's (pronounced Keith's) Tavern which was across from the train depot.

What I have long suspected as a cottage-style gas station on Grand Avenue, was actually one, according to some of the members.

Real is History is Local History. --Da Old Coot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Beer-- Part 3

Almost forgot to mention that they had three good pictures to go along with the list.

The first showed a group of folks in German attire evidently in Munich and hoisting those gigantor steins of beer. I sure hope to get to that town at some point and experience it. I always check out Oktoberfests around here. I not only love the German beer (even domestic), prices, but then there's that great German food, not to mention oom-pah bands. I really love that music.

The second was a picture of Windell Middlebrooks, the Miller High Life guy who determines who should or shouldn't have the opportunity to drink the High Life. He is the very antithesis of the Paris Hiltons and yuppies of the world. I'd sure vote for him.

Too bad they didn't have a picture of the FIRST BEER DRINKER of the world, good old Norm from "Cheers." Chicago's own George Wendt. I still love his Cheers entrances, the call, and his astute observations.

The third was of a woman from the 1920s or 1930s, holding a bottle of Schlitz beer in front of a sign reading "The last bottle of beer bottled before Prohibition. Insured for $25,000.00 (Bottled by Schlitz Brewery, Milwaukee). Wonder whatever happened to it?

Speaking of Schlitz, when I was at Northern Illinois, I had a huge poster of Joseph Schlitz in black and white standing in an old bar with a mug in his hand. A popular toast was, "Would Papa Joe drink to this." The answer was always "hell Yes!" and a toast. I wonder whatever happened to that poster?

Still Like the Stuff. --Da Coot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Beer-- Part 2

I sure enjoy it whenever the Chicago Tribune runs one of Mark Jacob's Ten Things You Might Not Know articles. Always interesting and informative and often with Chicago tie-ins.. I don't know how he comes up with all that great stuff.

Continuing from yesterday.

6. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 devastated Chicago's brewery scene allowing Milwaukee folks to swoop in and grab market. Then, Schlitz, Miller, Pabst and others took advantage of the Chicago railroad hub to expand their products across the US. So, "What made Milwaukee famous" owes a lot to a little old Chicago fire.

7. "The Guiness Book of World Records" was begun in 1955 at the suggestion of the boss of Guiness Brewery in Ireland to settle disputes in bars. And you thought it was a tool for people to come up with and do stupid things!! Well, folks drinking beer are sometimes prone to do wild and crazy things.

8. Joe Charboneau of Belvidere, Illinois, and also an outfielder for the Cleveland Indians in the 80s, used to open beer bottles with his eye socket and drink them through a straw in his nose. How GROSS!!

9. "Beer Goggles" referring to how folks of the opposite sex start looking better as more beer is consumed, might just have a bottle to stand on. A Glasgow University survey in 2002, found drunk students 25% more likely to rate a person as sexually attractive than sober ones. I sure would have liked to see that test.

10. During Prohibition, only "near beer" (less than 0.5% alcohol) could be sold. Sometimes folks got around this by injecting alcohol into the barrel.

BONUS. While I used to deejay at the Puppet Bar in Fox Lake, Illinois, we had a little activity called "Bobbing For Bottles" on Thursday nights. A friend had taken a bath tub, enclosed it, and put it on wheels. We'd fill it up with ice and bottles of import beer. For a buck, you could put your head in (hands behind the back) and if you could snag one with your teeth, got the bottle. If not, you were just out of a dollar.

We finally had to put a shower curtain up between my equipment and the tub as people invariably shook their heads upon coming out of that horrific cold. I always refused to do it, but eventually was talked into it. Well, I chipped a tooth and would have to say it must have been like dying. It was horrible, BUT...I did get the bottle.

The Things We Do for a Beer. Thanks Mark and Thanks Tribune for the Inciteful Info. --Old Coot

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pearl Harbor

From the Dec. 7, 2008 Boston Globe.

Only one Pearl Harbor survivor was expected to make it out onto the fantail of the World War II destroyer USS Cassin Young, to throw a wreath into Boston harbor to commemorate the attack. He is Don Tabbut, 85, a member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors and Friends from Massachusetts which has 14 members left. He was a Marine at Kanoehe Naval Air Station at the time of the attack.

The New England and New York District PHSA probably held their last meeting earlier this year. The membership is just getting old. There are an estimated 5,800 survivors still living.

William Keith, 86, was a naval corpsman and almost died on the USS West Virginia. As the attack began, he was ordered to his duty station, three decks below the main deck. A Japanese torpedo ripped a hole in the side of the ship and there did not appear to be any chance to escape the sinking ship. But then a sailor opened a hatch above and he was able clamber to safety. He dived overboard and swam to safety.

The Greatest Generation.

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Beer

For you beer-lovers out there.

1. One reason the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock instead of Virginia was that they were running out of beer. One passenger's diary "...our victuals being much spent, especially our beere." Sounds like a good excuse to me.

2. In the 1600s to 1700s, midwives in Europe and Colonial America gave delivering mothers "groaning ale.' After birth, the baby might be bathed in the ale as it was likely more sanitary than available water.

3. President James Madison proposed the creation of a national brewery. If there had been one, the Tribune nominates George Wendt of "Cheers," good old Norm, to head that cabinet position. Or perhaps Windell Middlebrooks, the Miller High Life truck driver who confiscates the stuff.

4. Beer can kill, but usually not nine at a time. In 1814 London, a brewery tank ruptured and 3,500 barrels worth of beer crashed down on nearby residents, destroying their houses and killing nine. Like the Beach Music song says, "If Ten is Gonna Kill Me, Give Me Nine."

5. Chicago's Diversey Parkway and Lill Avenue were named for two of the city's early brewers, Michael Diversey and William Lill.

From the September 16, 2007 Chicago Tribune

More to Come. --Cooter

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fall of Fort Fisher Today

I don't usually do entries about the Civil War as I have another blog just on that:, but it was this battle that got me interested in the Civil War, and from there, history, so it had a really big impact on my life considering that I taught social studies for 33 years.

The fall of Fort Fisher on this date back in 1865, sealed the port of Wilmington and with that, the South's last connection with the outside world. Lee surrendered less than three months later.

Until recently, not much was written about it, but at least four books have now been published on the subject.

It was kind of like my introduction to Route 66 back in 2002. From there, I expanded to the Lincoln Highway and all other historical roads.

Doing That HISTORY Thing. --Cooter

Liberty Ships

From the Falmanac blog. On December 27, 1941, the first of many Liberty ships, the SS Patrick Henry, was launched at the Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard near Baltimore. They were originally referred to as "emergency vessels" and mass-produced to help the Allies recover from the losses at the hands of the U-Boats.

Assembly-line techniques brought to the production along with pre-fabricated parts led to a speed that was unknown before then. It took 244 days to build the Patrick Henry and that later dropped to an average of 42 days. One Liberty ship, the SS Robert E. Peary was built in four days at Kaiser Shipyard in Richmond, California as a publicity stunt.

Around 2,700 were built of which two fully-functional Liberty ships remain: the SS Jeremiah O'Brian in San Francisco and SS John W. Brown in Baltimore. The last one is the last-surviving merchant vessel from the Normandy Invasion. The Patrick Henry survived the war, but was scrapped in 1960.

Glad to see there are two left and they should be turned into museums. Without these ships, the fate of the war could definitely have gone differently.

Check out Wikipedia for an excellent article.

The Greatest Generation. --Cooter

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

And Speaking of Elvis

This past January 8th was the 74th anniversary of the King's birth. The Jan. 8, 2009, Chicago Tribune ran a "Do You Know" list of interesting Elvis facts. I like Elvis, but he was too far ahead of me. My group was the Beatles.

## Elvis was a huge Monty Python fan and could do sketches from memory. His favorite one was "Nudge, nudge." Me too, Know waht I mean?

## When he bought Graceland, it was already named Graceland, for former owner daughter, Grace Toof.

## Actor Kurt Russell has had a long association with Presley in the movies, appearing with him in 1963's "It Happened at the World's Fair." played Presley in "Elvis: The Movie" and was Elvis' voice in "Forrest Gump."

## He dyed his hair which was naturally a dirty blond.

## When he met Priscilla Beaulieu, his future wife, he was 24 and she was 14.

## He was an insomniac most of his life.

## His movies weren't all that great. more of a vehicle for his music. But he did have good taste in what he liked to watch: "Rebel Without a Cause," "Dr. Strangelove," "The French Connection," and most favorite, "Patton."

## His three, late-in-the-career Grammys were all for gospel songs and two for "How Great Thou Art."

You'd have thought he would have won more Grammys, but, then, if Jethro Tull won one for Heavy Metal, anything can happen.

Da Elvis Da Pelvis. --Cooter

One of the Last World War Survivors Dies

Sad to see this as the world is down to just three veterans of the War to End All Wars still alive.

The Jan. 12, 2009, Guardian, Bill Stone, 108, a British sailor died Jan. 10, 2009, at a care home in Berkshire. He had been at the 90th anniversary of the Armistice this past November with Britain's other two survivors, Henry Allingham, 112, and Henry Patch, 110.

Mr. Stone was born Sept. 23, 1900, and followed in the footsteps of his three older brothers and joined the Royal Navy on his 18th birthday. He had tried to join thee years before that, but his father had refused to sign the papers.

He served on the HMS Hood and took part in the round-the-world cruise from 1922-1924.

In World War II, he was chief stoker on the HMS Salamander which made five trips across the English Channel to evacuate the British Army at Dunkirk.

He also saw action at the Sicily landings in 1943 on the HMS Newfoundland.

Just Three Left. Sad Times.

Exploring Addison, Illinois

The Chicago Tribune runs a day trip column every so often. This one was by Becky Yerak onSeptember 20, 2008, was to Addison, a suburb of Chicago.

She went to the new Addison Public Library and found a 1984 book saying that Chicago Blackhawk star Bobby Hull lived in town from 1963 to 1971. Former President Jimmy Carter visited town in 1980.

Then a trip to the nearby Addison Historical Museum where she found out that "Nike," before it came to be known as shoes, was "a type of anti-aircraft defense missile, and during the brinkmanship of the Cold War, Addison stored Nike missiles in silos 30 feet under the ground. A radar center was also set up in the village. The missiles were trotted out in an Addison parade in the late 1950s." Congratulations Addison, the Soviets have just put you on their target list.

The radar sites looked liked a farm silo, and we had my brother thinking that every time he saw one (and there were farms in the Chicagoland in the 1960s), it was a missile.

Nike Park, in the village, has the vestige of the good old Cold War days with a round dome that was part of a radar center that still can be seen.

Oh, Those Were the Good Old Days. --Cooter

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

HMAS Sydney-- Computer Reconstruction

The Jan. 12, 2009, Herald Sun of Australia reports that a computer has done a graphic reconstruction of the battle between the HMAS Sydney and German raider Kormoran. It is based on German accounts and what was discovered this past spring at the wreck's site.

The Sydney was not only hit by a torpedo, but also peppered with close range gunfire. In the graphics, as seen from the Kormoran, the Sydney is seen having its portside riddled, then hit by a torpedo in the port bow. She turned and then had her starboard side peppered. Then, she is seen rolling over on its side, and starting to sink while billowing huge clouds of black smoke.

It was determined that any Sydney survivors making it into the water would have been in too bad of a shape to survive. All life boats and floats were rendered useless by the shelling.

The Kormoran also sank, but lost only 78 of the 343 crew. On board the Sydney, all 645 lost their lives.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

President George H.W. Bush Served on an Aircraft Carrier in WW II

This is not his first experience at the commissioning of an aircraft carrier. He was also at the one for the light aircraft carrier he served on during World War II, the USS San Jacinto, CVL-30. (L for Light)

Only, it was quite a bit smallerat 622.5 feet, beam 71.5 at waterline, 109.2 feet overall, 1549 officers and men, and 45 aircraft.

It was one of the Independence-class of light aircraft carriers. Besides the Independence, there was also the Princeton, Belleau Wood, Cowpens, Monterey, Langley, Cabot, and Bataan. It was laid down 26 Oct. 1942 and commissioned 15 Nov. 1943, a little over a year. Decommissioned in 1947, and reactivated in 1959 as an auxilliary aircraft carrier. It was struck from the Navy List in 1970 and scrapped.

In 1944, he crashed into the Pacific Ocean after being hit by Japanese anti-aircraft fire. He parachuted into the sea and was picked up by the USS Finback, SS-230, a Gato-class submarine. He returned to combat until the end of the war. President Bush received a Distinguished Flying Cross and three air medals.

He was flying a TBF Grumman Avenger and the other two crew members were killed. Because he released his payload before bailing out, Bush was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

A Remarkable Person Just from This, But Then on to the Presidency. --Cooter

USS George H.W. Bush Commissioned

Yesterday, the newest Nimitz-class US super carrier, the nuclear-powered USS George H.W. Bush, was commissioned in Norfolk, Virginia, by former President George H.W. Bush, with son, Pres. George W. Bush, looking on.

No other former president has visited the aircraft carrier named after him.

"I hereby place the United States Ship George H.W. Bush in commission. May God bless and guide this warship and all who shall sail in her."

This is the tenth and final vessel of the Nimitz class of aircraft carriers carrying the letters CVN (CV standing for aircraft carrier and N for nuclear). The first ship of this class, the Nimitz, was launched in 1972. It cost $6.2 billion and took five years to build. The Bush stands 20 stories above the sea and has a crew of 6000.

Length is 1,040 feet at the waterline, and 1,115 overall and can cruise at 30+ knots and carries 85 aircraft. Other ships in the class: Eisenhower, Carl Vinson, Theodore Roosevelt, Lincoln, Washington, John C. Stennis, Truman, and Reagan.

Jan. 11th, Voice of America

One Mighty Impressive Ship. --Cooter

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Pearl Harbor-- USS Oklahoma

The Dec. 6, 2008, LaCrosse (Wi) Tribune.

Don "Dutch" Albitz was a nineteen year old gunner on the USS Oklahoma in Battleship Row and had just come from Mass "when all of a sudden this plane came in real low.

The officer of the deck looked up and said, 'My God, those are Japs.' We were getting hit right and left by (aeriel) torpedoes. When the Oklahoma started to list, the word came to abandon ship." He jumped into the oil-covered water. "You couldn't swim in it. I was tired and fatigued." The crew of a small boat pulled him and other survivors and took them to the USS Maryland.

Four LaCrosse residents died in the attack: Helmar Hanson, Daryl Hess, and George Naegle of the Navy, and Lee Amundson of the Marine Corps. Albitz knew all of them except Hanson.

He had talked to Hess and Naegle the night before the attack. Hess, who was on the Arizona, said he'd just gotten married. Naegle was a signal man on the Oklahoma and had been on night watch before the attack began and asleep where a torpedo hit.

After Pearl Harbor, Albitz was assigned to the light cruiser USS Helena which had been damaged during the attack. It went to California for repairs where he got a ten-day emergency leave and went home. Next, he went to Norfolk and was assigned to the crew of the new USS Indiana and served on that battleship until 1945.

To this day, he refuses to buy any Japanese products.

Thinking About Finding a Cheap Bungalow in Chicago?

I was always under the idea that these could be had fairly cheaply, but not according to the Dec. 7, 2008 Chicago Tribune. Reporter Suzanne Cosgrove was looking to downsize since her children were grown and out of the house. She decided to go back to her roots in the city's Bungalow Belt near Elmwood Park.

She finally found one for $397,000 with 2500 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2 and a half car garage, and finished basement.

That is a WHOLE LOT MORE than I would have thought. I would have figured between $150,000 to $200,000, maybe less.

Knock Me Over with a Feather. --RoadDog

Friday, January 9, 2009

Obama and Lincoln's Bible

I touched on this in the Bits O' History entry, but here is more detail.

The December 24, 2008, Chicago Tribune had an article by John McCormick in regards to the Bible he will be sworn in as president on Jan. 20th. It will be the same one Abraham Lincoln used for his first inauguration in 1861. This is in keeping with Presisdent-Elect Obama's practice of encouraging comparisons (though neither were born in Illinois, they are both from Illinois as well).

When he announced he was running for president in Feb. 2007, he did it in front of the old state capitol building where Lincoln served. He also announced his vice presidential pick there as well. I'm surprised he didn't hold his acceptance celebration there as well.

He will also take a train to Washington, DC, for his inaugural.

He will be the first president to use this Bible, which is usually located in the Library of Congress. This was not the Lincoln family Bible which had been packed away among belongings which were being shipped to the White House.

This one was originally purchased by William Thomas Carroll, clerk of the Supreme Court, for the March 4, 1861 ceremony. It is described as being printed by the Oxford University Press in 1853 and bound in heavily gilded burgundy velvet.

Incoming presidents are not required to be sworn in on a Bible, but most do, often using their family Bible.

One More Lincoln Connection. --Coot

Dead Page: Eight Inventors Who Died in 2008-- Part 2

Continuing with the Dec. 31, 2008, Chicago Tribune article.


Sprinter who trained at a dog tack in Australia. The sprinters would dig their shoes into the dirt at the start of a race and later the dogs would get injured from the holes. After complaints, he took a T-Bar and attached two pieces of wood, inventing the runner's starting block. Raced until he was 99, winning his age group's 100-meter sprint in 28 seconds.


An avid deep-sea diver, sought a way to keep warm in cold water. Invented a suit hat trapped water between the suit and skin, thus the wet suit was invented.


Began his career in the advertising department of McDonald's and was particularly fond of eggs Benedict. A franchise-owner in 1972, and created a hand-held version known today as the Egg McMuffin by adding a slice of Canadian bacon, an egg cooked in a ring mold to a toasted English muffin.


Didn't invent it, but helped popularize nachos. As a waitress at Los Angeles' famed El Cholo restaurant she began serving tortilla chips with shredded cheddar cheese and jalapeno slices which she then baked.

They Sure Made Living Much Better. --Old Coot

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Doolittle Raider Ed Horton, Jr.-- "Well, It's Been a Swell Ride"

I mentioned him before, but came across some more about his life. Unfortunately, we lost him to old age back in November.

He was a retired US Air Force Master-Sergeant. With his passing and that of retired Major General Davy Jones the day before, that brings the number of Doolittle survivors down to nine.

The group had trained in top secrecy at the then Eglin Field near what is now State Road 285 in Walton County. They practiced taking off from a marked 300 foot strip, which was how much room they'd have on board a carrier.

Sgt. Horton retired in 1960 after 25 years in the service and had lived in Okaloosa County since 1947. His final public event was the Doolittle Raiders Homecoming at Eaglin Air Force Base in May.

He joined the Army in 1935 and was 21 years old at the time of the April 18, 1942, raid. Each of the 16 B-25 bombers carried four 500-pound bombs and were forced to take off earlier than planned when a Japanese patrol boat spotter the carrier. When ordered to bail out over China, Horton responded, "Well, thanks for the swell ride." Every member of his plane's crew survived.

Retired Lt. Col Richard Cole, Jimmy Doolittle's co-pilot was expected to attend.

Quite a Story from One of America's Greatest Generation. --Cooter

Friday, January 2, 2009

Pearl Harbor

I am attempting to get as many Pearl Harbor stories as I can collect before it is too late.

Tjhe December 6, 2008, LaCrosse (Wi) Tribune, had an article about Don "Dutch" Albitz, who was on the USS Oklahoma when the attack began. He had just come from Mass "when all of a sudden this plane came in real low." He was a 19-year-old gunner at the time.

"The officer of the deck looked up an said, 'My God, those are Japs.' We were getting hit right and left by (aeriel) torpedoes. When the the Oklahoma started to list, the order came to abandon ship." He jumped into the water covered with fuel oil. "You couldn't swim in it. I was tired and fatigued."

The crew of a small boat pulled him and other survivors out, and took them to the USS Maryland.

Four LaCrosse residents died in the attack: Helmar Hanson, Daryl Hess, and George Naegle Of the Navy, and Lee Amundson, of the Marines. He had talked to Hess and Naegle the night before the attack. Hess, of the USS Arizona had told him that he had just gotten married.

To Be Continued. --Coot

Bits O' History: Going for Obama Items-- Thanks Ike-- Obama to Swear on Lincoln Bible

Bits O' History-- Some New News About Old Stuff.

1. GOING FOR OBAMA ITEMS-- The Nov. 12, 2008, Chicago Tribune had an article about the Smithsonian going after items connected to Obama's political campaign. The National Museum of African American History and Culture plans to open on the National Mall in 2015, but they have acquired election maps, strategy boards, campaign literature and other items from his Falls Church, Virginia, office. Virginia was a key swing state and Obama was the first Democrat to carry it since 1964. Can anybody spell E-C-O-N-O-M-Y.

2. THANKS IKE-- The Jan. 1, 2009, Houston Chronicle reports that a 25-foot boat has been found wedged up under the WW II destroyer USS Stewart. They haven't found out the name of the boat yet, but it got there compliments of Hurricane Ike. It poses no danger to the destroyer, one of only three remaining WW II destroyers and part of the Seawolf Park on Pelican Island.

The Stewart was put on the National register of Historic Places this past year and made 30 North Atlantic crossing protecting convoys from 1944 to 1945. It was decommissioned in 1947.

The Cavala, a WW II submarine was also in the hurricane, but only slightly moved.

3. 139 MARINE GRAVES FOUND-- The Nov. 25th reports that the graves of 139 Marines killed at the Nov. 1943 Battle of Tarawa in the Pacific have been located. Navy Seabees were under heavy fire when they were clearing a landing strip and the markers were accidentally bulldozed in the confusion.

After the war, the Army attempted to locate the graves, but only half found. Two private companies have found the 139 of the 541 still missing on the island. using ground penetrating technology.

4. OBAMA TO SWEAR ON LINCOLN BIBLE-- The Bible Abraham Lincoln used to be sworn in will also be used to swear in new President Obama this month. No other president has been sworn in on it.

Now, You Know. --Old Coot

Dead Page: Eight Inventors Who Died in 2008

These are mostly folks most people don't know, but who have have made an impact on our lives. Perfect matches for the Dead Page. From the Dec. 31, 2008 Chicago Tribune by Kevin Pang.

BETTY JAMES, 90-- In 1943, Richard James observed a spring fall off the table. Wife Betty openeda dictionary to choose the name. She ran the company after her husband went strange and joined a cult.

MURRAY JARVIK, 84-- Reserach led to LSD. What would the Sixties have been without it? Also worked on the nicotine patch.

His nephew Robert Jarvik does TV commercials and invented the first artificial human heart. But, he is still alive.

FREDERICK J. BAUR, 89-- Not Jack Bauer's father. In 1966, came up with the Pringle's can. Asked that his ashes be buried in one. His relatives decided to do it in an original one.

KURT EBERLING, SR., 77-- Invented SpaghettiOs. Developed recipes for Campbell Soup. Introduced 1965 with that great "Uh-oh, SpaghettiOs" line.

More to Come. --Old Coot Who Didn't Invent Anything.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Dead Page: "No Woman, No Cry"-- Delaney-- Saw Flag Raising

This is named after what my students started calling my Current Events back when I was teaching. I checked the obituaries to find the names of any one who lived an interesting life or had done something of note. We did so many obituaries, they got to calling it the Dead Page.


Died Dec. 28, 2008. Credited with composing Bob Marley's famous "No Woman, No Cry," a reggae classic, and three other songs from the 1976 album "Rastaman Vibration." Mr. Ford operated a soup kitchen in the infamous Trench Town part of Kingston, Jamaica, where Marley lived in the late fifties.

Ford suffered from diabetes and had had both legs amputated and this was also the cause of his death. Many think Bob Marley put Ford's name on the song to insure royalties for the soup kitchen and diabetes.


Co-wrote "Let it Rain" with Eric Clapton. Also worked with George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, John Lennon, and Dave Mason. He was probably the most famous during his 50-year music career as leader of the Southern Blues Rock band Delaney & Bonnie & Friends. Bonnie Bramlett was his wife. He wrote "Superstar" for the Carpenters and "Never Ending Song of Love" that was performed by his band.


On Feb. 23, 1945, he watched the US flag being raised by Marines on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima. He was part of a Marine scouting team that had gone to the top to see if it was safe. They decided it was. While coming down, they saw another group of Marines going to the top with a flag, but it was too small. A second flag was brought up and that is when Joe Rosenthal took the famous picture.

Mr. White and the others had an excellent vantage point for the flag-raising, but no one realized the significance of it at the time.

Later, in March, he was wounded and sent state side.

Second Full Year of Blog

Happy, Happy, and Welcome to the second full year of this blog. This being the 407th posting.

The first entry was Dec. 14, 2007, and about the new blog. I also wrote about Captain Kidd's ship being found. Four days later was the third post about a Christmas postcard that took from 1914 to 2007 to get to its destination. Last year, I had 389 posts.

I originally was posting on my Down Da Road blog, but as more and more were of the history nature, I decided to start a separate one devoted to it. I was surprised to find this blog heading more and more toward World War II. I'd guess that about 80-85% of the posts are about that war.

I have been doing a lot on the coverage of the finding of the wreck of the HMAS Sydney. I'd guess I did more on this event than any other site in the US. Truly a fascinating story and one that continues. So far, I've had 30 posts and I'm sure there will more to come. Plus, now, Australia is looking for the wreck of the hospital ship Centaur that was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine.

Other blogs: mostly about me about the Civil War
http://roaddogsroadlog.blogspot about old roads like Route 66 and Lincoln Highway

Spendin' WAY TOO MUCH Time on These Here Blogs. --Cooter