Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dead Page: Musically Speaking-- Deaths in 2008

While listening to Bob Stroud's Rock and Roll Roots a month ago, he did a spotlight on music persons who died in 2008. I only caught part of it, but these are the ones he had from June to December. Some I've already written about in Dead Page.


GEORGE CARLIN-- ok, he wasn't a singer.


ISAAC HAYES, 65-- songwriter, artist, voice of Chef on "South Park"

JERRY WEXLER-- Record producer who helped launch Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett and Led Zeppelin.


LOU TEICHER-- made music for movies-- 1969 "Theme from Midnight Cowboy"

WAYNE WATTUMS, 61-- keyboardist of Fifth Estate "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead"


RICHARD WRIGHT-- Pink Floyd keyboardist

JERRY REED-- country singer, actor "When You're Hot, You're Hot," "East Bound and Down." Movie "Smokey & the Bandit"


LEVI STUBBS, 72-- Four Tops

MITCH MITCHELL,61-- drummer in Jimi Hendrix Experience, the surviving member of trio.


DENNIS YOST,65-- lead vocalist of Classics IV

JOHN SHAWN BRYNE-- Rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist in Count Five "Psychotic Reaction."

DELANEY BRAMLETT of Delaney & Bonnie. Big influence on Eric Clapton "Only You Know and I Know."

Gone, But Not Forgotten. --Cooter

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bits O' History: Filipino Vets-- WW II Planes at Panama City-- Getting His Medals-- Lincoln in Marengo

1. FILIPINO VETS-- Congress has recognized the contributions of Filipino veterans who helped US forces fight the Japanese in the Philippines in WW II by offering one-time payments of $9,000 to non-US citizens and $15,000 for those with US citizenship.

2. WW II PLANES AT PANAMA CITY-- Two days ago, there famous and authentic WW II war birds landed in Panama City, Florida as part of the Wings of Freedom Tour to 110 US cities. Admission is $12 to view and walk on board them.

The planes:
Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress" one of only nine remaining in flying condition
Consolidated B-24 Liberator
North American P-51 Mustang
These last two are the sole operating and flying aircraft still around.

For those of you with a bit more spending money, for $425 a person, you can go up in the B-17 or B-24.

They're going to Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, and California next. Looks like we came back from PC too soon. I would have liked to see these planes.

3. GETTING HIS MEDALS-- The Feb. 23rd Oskaloosa Herald reported that John "Jack" Frost finally received his World War II medals. During the war, he was a flight engineer on a B-24 Liberator bomber operating from China bombing Japanese targets.

His wife, Evelyn, pinned the medals on him as his children and grand children watched.

He received:
Distinguished Flying Cross
Air Medal
Good Conduct Medal
Honorable Service Lapel Button
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal

Congratulations. --Cooter

4. LINCOLN IN MARENGO-- This Sunday, in Marengo, Illinois, Abraham and Mary Lincoln (aka Max and Donna Daniels) will re-enact portions of Lincoln's life in "An Evening With the Lincolns" at 2 PM in the Marengo High School auditorium.

Folks in period garb will greet visitors and bands from the high school, middle school and Lutheran school will be playing Civil War music.

A cannon will be fired at the end of the presentation.

I Presume the Cannon Will Be Fired Outside. --Cooter

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Abraham Lincoln: Self-Made in America

The Feb. 23rd Northwest Herald of McHenry County, Illinois, had an announcement about the traveling exhibit "Abraham Lincoln: Self-Made in America" which will be at the McHenry County courthouse today from 9 to 4. It is FREE and sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois and is on a two-year tour across the United states in honor of Lincoln's 200th birthday which we celebrated Feb. 12th.

It features interactive exhibits, graphics, facsimile documents and artifacts. Two interesting items are a virtual recreation of his 1861 Farewell Address at the Springfield train station as he left to take up residency in the White House. Also, there is the Civil War in 4 minutes show. You have to see that several times because it moves so fast.

The rest of the week it will be at local schools and McHenry County College.

Planning on Seeing It Myself. --Cooter

Abraham Lincoln DNA

I accidentally posted an entry on whether or not Lincoln's DNA should be tested to find out about suspected diseases on my Down Da Road I Go blog for today.

See it at

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sinking of USS Bismarck Sea at Iwo Jima-- Part 2

There were rough seas and swells and some of the sailors died. About 3-4 hours later, the destroyer escort USS Edmonds picked Marusich and 399 others up.

Deaths from the Bismarck Sea were put at 318 and 620 survived.

Marusich received a Purple Heart and recovered at a hospital in Norman, Oklahoma, later becoming a teacher and principal before retiring in 1985.

Starting in 1988, the survivors of the Bismarck sea began holding reunions in Las Vegas. They are still having them although only 30 are still alive. Marusich plans to attend these as long as he can.


Wikipedia did not mention the Bismarck Sea being a converted freighter, but did say it was originally launched in 1944 as the Alikula Bay before being transferred over to the Navy and commissioned May 20, 1944. It carried a crew of 923, 27 aircraft, and was 499 feet long.

On Feb. 21, 1945, two kamikaze hit the ship and it sank with a loss of 318 crew. Three destroyers and destroyer escorts rescued the survivors.


Was commissioned April 3, 1944 and was screening escort carriers off Iwo Jima on Feb. 21, 1945. Thirty of her crew went over the side to rescue the Bismarck Sea survivors. It was recommissioned for service in the Korean War and scrapped in 1973.

The Greatest generation. --Cooter

Sinking of the USS Bismarck Sea at Iwo Jima

Todya marks the 64th anniversary of the flag raising at Iwo Jima, February 23, 1945. The Feb. 21st Fresno (Ca) Bee had an article about Steve Marusich, 84, of Ivanhoe who was on a ship offshore and witnessed it as a 20-year-old.

On the morning of the 23rd, he was part of 10 or 11 survivors of the USS Bismarck Sea who were recuperating above deck of the USS Edmonds, when they saw the flag flying. "We noticed it. They announced it over the intercom and we all cheered."


This was the culmination of a hard three days service for Marusich. He had been a gunner on a torpedo bomber on the USS Bismarck Sea just two days earlier. According to him, the Bismarck Sea was formerly a freighter that had been converted into an escort aircraft carrier. He called it a "Kaiser Coffin" because of their being such U-Boat targets.

After sundown on the 21st, he was on the hangar deck when they were called to General Quarters. Just as he stood up, an explosion sent he and a friend flying 30 to 40 feet. "It knocked me off my ass. We stood up, and down the hangar deck we go. My ears were ringing."

The ship had been hit by a kamikaze. Then, a second one crashed into the ship. Fires caused the torpedoes to explode and water began coming in. The Bismarck Sea was the eleventh and last US carrier sunk in the war.

Those not killed got into the water and were strafed.

To Be Continued. --Cooter

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bits O' History: HMS Victory-- Moore's Creek Battlefield

Some New News About Old Stuff

1. HMS VICTORY-- one of the most e-mailed photos on yahoo this past week was of a bronze cannon from the newly found wreck of the HMS Victory, see earlier this month. It sank 264 years ago. Research shows that nit was carrying 4 tons of gold (see HMS Edinburgh from yesterday).

The photo is dated Feb. 1, 2009 by Odyssey Marine Exploration. I always thought looking for sunked ships and treasure would be something I would like to do when I was growing up.

2. MOORE'S CREEK BATTLEFIELD-- This weekend marked the 233rd anniversary of the Revolutionary War Battle of Moore's Creek. The fifteen minute battle ended British hopes for early victory in North Carolina.

A commemoration was held with the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, Society of the Cincinnati, Sons of Revolution and the Scottish Society of Wilmington.

A lecture was given by Allen Watson, a UNC Wilmington professor on the life of Col. Benjamin Smith, an aide-de-camp of Washington.

Now You Know. --Old Coot

HMAS Sydney-- Coverup Accusations

The Feb. 5th West Australian continued with the inquiry into the sinking of the Sydney. One of the last surviving crew members, Ean McDonald, 90, a signalman from 1939-1940 on the ship, had branded the inquiry as a whitewash, claiming he was gagged on the stand and prevented from giving crucial evidence.

He claims the commander of the German raider Kormoran and the Australian Navy covered up the true version. He claims that on November 26, 1941, a sailor aboard the HMAS Perth saw a transcript of a transmission made to look like it was from the Sydney in its final hours saying it was on fire fore and aft.

No record of the transcript has been found, but McDonald claims that a former RAAF intelligence officer also saw the transmission.

McDonald also claims the Kormoran acted as if it was going to surrender to lure the Sydney into range of its guns and that the Australian Navy was ashamed it had been tricked and tried to cover it up.

The Story Goes On. --Cooter

Saturday, February 21, 2009

HMS Edinburgh-- Part 2

The U-456 fired two more torpedoes which wrecked the Edinburgh's steering and the vessel was taken in tow. It was harassed along the way by German torpedo bombers and then attacked by three German destroyers.

The Edinburgh cast off the tow lines and commenced firing, even though it could just sail in circles. A salvo from it damaged one badly enough that it had to be scuttled. At this time, the Edinburgh was struck by another torpedo, about opposite of where the first one hit and the crew believed the ship was about to break apart.

The crew abandoned ship. During the fighting, the ship lost 58 men.

The Edinburgh, however, continued to float and was fired on by the British ships, and even depth charges were set off alongside. but it wouldn't go down. Finally, a torpedo from a British destroyer did the job and ship sank in 800 feet of water in the Barents Sea of the Arctic Ocean on May 2nd.


The Edinburgh had been carrying 4.5 tons of gold bullion inn the form of 465 gold ingots from Stalin and the Soviet Union in payment for supplies from the Allies. The gold remained on the ship until the 1980s when Jessop Marine, founded by noted undersea diver Keith Jessop was hired by the British government to get it.

After a search, the ship was found and after several divers were injured, on September 15, 1981, a diver was able to penetrate the bomb room and recovered a bar. In the next several days, 431 ingots were recovered.

I wish I had known this story so i could have talked more about it with the guy.

A Very Interesting Story. --Coot

HMS Edinburgh

While at Donovan's Reef at Panama City Beach, Florida, I was talking with a couple from Alaska snowbirding it. He said that he was a deep sea welder and worked on oil rigs. He also said that he had recovered gold from the HMS Edinburgh, as a matter of fact, he was the one who cut through the ship's hull and was the first one to. I'd never heard of the story so looked it up when I got home.

There was such a ship and it was carrying gold when it was sunk in 1942.

Thanks to Wikipedia.

The HMS Edinburgh was a 613.6 foot long, 64.9 foot beam Town-class light cruiser carrying a main armament of 12 X 6-inch and 12 X 4-inch guns.

It was inolved in the hunt for the German battleship Bismarck, but never caught sight of it. Much of the Edinburgh's service during the war was guarding convoys.


The Edinburgh was escorting the eleven ship convoy QP-11 on April 30, 1942, when it was torpedoed by the U-456 and began to list. Fast action by the crew in closing the watertight bulkheads prevented sinking.

More to Come. --Cooter

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another Pearl Harbor Survivor

Dec. 7, 2008 Everett (Wa) Herald. Justin Arnold did one of the better and more complete reports on the Pearl Harbor commemoration two months ago. Excellent job!

Harold Shimer, then 20, got a rude awakening on the cruiser USS Helena. A torpedo passed under another ship and hit his. Cecil Calavan said he saw the Helena get hit and said, "She must have jumped ten feet out of the water."

Shimer was hurled from his bunk as General Quarters sounded. he got up and ran topside just as the last of the first Japanese wave left. The torpedo had killed twenty men, and he was reported as one of them. He had been scheduled to work that morning, but, as for a favor to a friend, he had swapped shifts so his friend could go to church later in the day. His friend died in the torpedo blast.

The Helena was short on men, so he worked manning an ammunition locker for the anti-aircraft batteries. Because of their efforts, he believes his ship saved the USS Pennsylvania.

The Greatest Generation.

Pearl Harbor Survivor

From Dec. 7, 2009, Everett (Wa) Herald.

Jim Stansell of Bellingham, was a 17-year-old seaman first class on Dec, 7, 1941 aboard the USS Hull, a destroyer, and says he has met people who have never heard of Pearl Harbor (none of my students could say that as we spent 2-3 days talking about it).

On that day, he was getting ready to go to "church" which actually was meeting up with some friends on a beach, drinking beer and having laughs. He had duty that day and the only way to get off the ship was to sign up for church.

He was getting ready to meet with those friends when someone yelled, "We're being invaded." Running onto deck, he ducked as a Japanese bomber flying low passed over the ship so close "I could see his face."

Stansell ran to his battle station which was a sight-setter for a 5-inch gun. He was able to watch the entire attack from here.

He saw the USS Arizona blow up and the USS Utah starting to turn over with her crew scrambling off. All he could do was watch because his ship was in the harbor for repairs and tied up alongside the USS Dobbin which had cut the power to the Hull so none of the Hull's anti-aircraft guns could fire.

he cursed, "We were helpless, we couldn't do a damn thing. We couldn't do a damn thing but watch."

More to Come from this excellent article.

The Greatest Generation.

Another Pearl Harbor Story

From Dec. 7, 2008 Everett (Wa) Herald. By Justin Arnold.

I'm still putting together Pearl harbor accounts as we are quickly losing these people.

Cecil Calavan had recently joined the crew of the USS Utah with five friends and was preparing for shore leave, when the Boatswain's Mate told him to shave off his peach fuzz before he could go.

He had just begun shaving when he looked out a porthole "and saw some specks on the horizon. Those specks turned into Japanese bombers. The first one veered away, but the second released a torpedo at the Utah."

"A second later there was an enormous noise and Calavan was thrown into the air. he got up and crawled through a porthole onto the deck. The Utah had been hit and was fast sinking."

A loudspeaker aboard the USS Tangier began to call out 'Utah, Utah, stay calm.'" A bosuns mate called out, 'Come over here and say that you son of a bitch!"

Hot shrapnel fell from the sky on the 17-year-old Calavan. Many of the crew were already in the water. He then heard the distinctive machine gun fire from a Japanese Zero as it fired at the Utah and crew trying to escape in boats. At that moment, he knew, as did every other crew member, that to man your gun was to die.

The call to abandon ship was given and he dove into the water and began swimming to shore.

Cecil Calavan, of Anacortes, and two other of the estimated 4,000 to 6,000 Pearl harbor survivors spoke Friday at Freedom Park.

The Greatest Generation. More to Come.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Brief History of Peanut Butter

From the feb. 23rd Time Magazine.

The recent salmonella outbreak has led to the recall of many items containing peanut butter.

It's true inventor is unknown, but Dr. John Kellogg has a good claim to it. In 1895, the cereal pioneer patented a process for turning raw peanuts into a butter-like vegetarian health food that he fed his his clients at his Battle Creek, Michigan, sanitorium.

1922-1932-- George Washington Carver invented more than 300 uses for peanuts, including a peanut cheese and coffee. However, peanut butter not among them.

1930s-- Snickers becomes the first major candy bar with peanuts.

1940s-- wartime rationing of sugar and lard (lard?) led to increased popularity of peanut butter andjelly sandwiches. In one 2002 estimate, the average American child eats 1,500 PBJ sandwiches before graduating from high school.

Today, peanut butter is an $800 million industry.

And You Though Peanut Butter Was Just for getting a Kick Out of Watching Dogs Try to Eat It. --Cooter

The Fourth HMS Victory Found in the English Channel

From the Feb. 2nd Panama City (Fl) News Herald.

Odyssey Marine Exploration has found the wreck of the fourth HMS Victory 330 feet down in the English Channel. It sank 264 years ago and was carrying 4 tons of gold coins. So far, they have recovered two brass cannons and are continuing to map the debris field.

So far, 31 brass cannons have been identified and they are sure it is the Victory. The 175 foot-long ship became separated from the fleet in a storm and sank October 4, 1744, with at least 900 men on board and 110 cannons, the most heavily armed vessel of its day. A new Victory was launched and was the flagship of Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.

The exact location is being kept secret because of plundering, but they did say it is at least 50 miles from where it was thought to have sunk. It was returning from Lisbon, Portugal, with at least 100,000 gold coins.

A 1991 British stamp shows the Victory crashing into rocks. The ship's commander, Sir John Balchin, and a lighthouse keeper on Alderney were prosecuted for the incident. Pieces of the ship washed up onshore at various places, causing its location to be unknown.


Odyssey reported that in May 2007, it had discovered the wreck of the Spanish galleon Nuestro Senora de las Mercedes y las Animas which had sunk off Portugal in 1804, and had raised 17 tons of silver.

History Below the Sea and Treasure. It Doesn't Get Much better Than That. --Coot

Dead Page: Lynyrd Skynyrd-- Ronettes-- Buffalo Springfield

Recently, it has been a bad time for musicians as there have been three notable deaths of members of groups I liked.


Keyboardist of Lynyrd Skynyrd who survived the plane crash that killed Ronnie Van Zant and five others. The Southern Rock Jacksonville group, known for "Free Bird" and "Sweet Home Alabama" took their name from a gym teacher they particularly disliked.


Member of the Ronettes who had a big hit using Phil Spector's Wall of Sound in 1963 with "By My Baby." The group consisted of sisters Veronica "Ronnie" and Estelle Bennett and cousin Nedia Talley. They also had hits with "Walking in the Rain," "Baby, I Love You," and the Christmas song "Sleigh Ride."


Drummer for Buffalo Springfield along with Steven Stills, Neil Young, Richie Furay and Bruce Palmer. their biggest hit was 1966's "For What It's Worth." Other good ones were "Bluebird" and "Rock and Roll Woman." They paved the way for country rock, and of course CSNY.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Frank Buckles, Last Surviving US WWI Veteran's 108th Birthday-- Part 2

Mr. Buckles was born February 1, 1901, and was 13 when World War I broke out and 16 when the US entered it.

He tried to join the Marines, but was rejected for being too young. Then he tried the Navy, with the same results. He told the Army that he couldn't provide his birth certificate and they let him enlist.

In December 1917, he sailed to Europe on the ocean liner Carpathia which had rescued the survivors of the Titanic a few years earlier. He was a military driver (as was my grandfather) and never saw action.


He came back after the war and worked as a banker in New York City, but got bored and went to sea as a ship's officer during the 20s and 30s. In 1940, he sailed in a ship from San Francisco to Manila, Philippines, and was there when the Japanese attacked after Pearl Harbor. He was captured and held prisoner for three and a half years, during which he lost one third of his weight.

He still has a chipped metal cup he used to eat beans and rice during his captivity. Of the 2100 captives released from his camp, he was the only one who didn't have to go to the hospital.

Upon his return, he was happy to find that all his paychecks had accumulated during the time he was held.

He has his own website at

Mighty Fascinating Story. --Cooter

HMAS Sydney Inquiry

An inquiry to examine the sinking of the HMAS Sydney was held for four days in Perth and will continue for one day on Christmas Island in March.

The February 2nd West Australian had an article about ex-Sydney crew member John Doohan who vowed to never wear his war medals as a sign of disgust for what he calls a "cover up." He was a member of the Australian Navy for 14 years and says the government altered history by making it appear distress signals were sent a couple weeks before the fight.

He also believes that a Japanese submarine fired the torpedoes that ultimately sank the Sydney and used machine guns to kill the survivors.

The February 2nd West Australian also reported that it was the Navy's decision not to make public the military findings into the Sydney's sinking is responsible for the many conspiracy theories around.

The Story Goes On. --Cooter

Dead Page: 112 Years Old-- SF Earthquake Survivor


Died Dec. 27,2008. America's oldest man, born June 6, 2008, in New Orleans. Lived through 19 presidents, saw Babe Ruth hit a home run, befriended Louis Armstrong, and, as a black man, lived to see the first black president elected.

Lived 4 years in the 19th century, 100 in the 20th, and 8 in the 21st.

He started smoking at age 70.

Pretty amazing life.


Died February 4th at age 106 and one of the last survivors of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. He had just celebrated his 106th birthday with a big bash at a local steakhouse. Smoked cigars into his nineties and told everyone that his secret to long life was "wild women and good liquor."

He was a regular at commemorations of the quake and would tell how he escaped in his mother's arms. "She carried me in her left arm and used her right hand to grab the stair rail." Since he was so young, that was all he remembered.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Frank Buckles, Last Surviving US World War I Veteran's 108th Birthday

This past February 1st marked the 108th birthday of Frank Buckles, the last remaining US veteran of World War I. He celebrated it at home in West Virginia.

When he was born in 1901, the US flag only had 45 stars.

He always expected to live to an old age as his father was 95 and sister 104 when they died and several maternal relatives reached 100.

The national World War I survivors group of which he is president and only member, used to put out a monthly publication where they kept up with the survivors' numbers until it stopped publication a few years ago. Said Muriel Sue Kerr, who continues the organization's work, "Being the last is sort of a negative thing because it means all your buddies have gone before you."

Until his seventies, Mr. Buckles used to smoke a pound of pipe tobacco and box of cigars.

More on Mr. Buckles Tomorrow. --Cooter

Ten Myths About the Middle Ages

The January 7, 2009, List Universe had a list of ten myths prevalent about the Middle Ages. They are:

10. DEATH PENALTY COMMON-- public beheadings usually only to the rice, and then not open to viewing from the general population.

9. LOCKED BIBLES SO PEOPLE COULDN'T READ THE TRUE WORD-- all books were hand written and thus very expensive. Most of the people couldn't read anyway.


7. THATCHED ROOFS WITH LIVING ANIMALS-- Woven too tightly for animals to live in them.

6. SMELLY PEOPLE-- bathed more than we thought.

5. PEASANT LIFE OF DRUDGERY-- they worked hard, but did have other diversions.

4. VIOLENCE-- had it, but no worse than current life




Always Something to Think About from List Universe

Saturday, February 14, 2009

HMAS Sydney-- Sunk By Complacency? Christmas Island Body

The January 23rd Sydney Morning Herald reporting on the inquiry going on regarding the sinking of the Sydney heard a report that the ship's commander may have become too complacent in his duties.

There were many instances during the war where British ships approached unknown merchant ships in an incautious manner. Many examples of such behavior were given.


The Jan. 24th Sydney Morning Herald reports that the metal from the body that washed ashore at Christmas Island several months after the Sydney was sunk is not from a bullet. A piece of metal was found in the front of the skull. The skeleton has been determined to from a male from 22 to 31 years of age and 168 to 180 centimeters tall. There is also extensive dental work and gold fillings.


There is no evidence of bodies washing up on the west coast of Australia or of them being secretly buried.

Still Looking for a Reason. --Cooter

If Abe Were Able to Celebrate His 200th-- Part 2

What he would like the most.

** New Springsteen album rocks in altogether fitting and proper manner.

** Many young adult men wearing facial hair in a style meant to pay homage to him.

** Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition gives new meaning to "last full measure of devotion."

** New political debate format much easier on the vocal cords.

** $5 foot longs at Subway can be bought with his currency.

** President Barack Obama.

Steve Johnson's a Funny Guy. --Cooter

Ten Things You Didn't Know About Lincoln-- Part 2

#6. A turkey was sent to the White House for holiday dinner in 1863, and Lincoln's son Tad pleaded that it not be executed. Lincoln issued an order of reprieve, and the turkey was spared.

#7. Lincoln was the first president to lie in state at the US Capitol Rotunda.

#8. In 1870, a group of men tried to remove Lincoln's body from Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, and hold it for ransom.

#9. The Lincoln Bedroom in the White House was never a bedroom in Lincoln's time; it was an office where Lincoln met with cabinet members and signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The room still contains a few pieces of office furniture from Lincoln's time and a copy of the Gettysburg Address.

#10. Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks, was a distant relative of actor Tom Hanks, making the president and the actor fourth cousins, four times removed.

Some Lincoln Stuff You Didn't Know. --Da Coot

Friday, February 13, 2009

If Abe Were Able to Celebrate His 200th

The February 12th Chicago Tribune had a list of things Lincoln would and wouldn't like if he were still around. Steve Johnson definitely has a good sense of humor.


** Horseless carriage named for him intended for the wealthy.

** The way everybody says "87" instead of "Four score and seven years."

** Wouldn't have been caught dead in the shoes the Lincoln Memorial has him in.

** Key lesson in Gettysburg Address--brevity--apparently lost on Ken Burns.

** Still confused about digital transition.

** A penny? Come On.

What he would like, tomorrow.

Pretty Funny Guy, That Steve Johnson. --Cooter

Ten Things You Didn't Know About Abraham Lincoln

The February 10th US News and World Report had some more interesting stuff on Lincoln.

1. Born in Kentucky in 1809, he was the first president born beyond the boundaries of the original 13 states.

2. He worked as a ferry operator, a store owner, surveyor, and flatboat pilot before becoming a lawyer.

3. In 1849, he obtained Patent No. 6,469 on a device to keep boats afloat when passing over a sand bar or shallow water. He is still the only president to hold a patent.

4. First president to sport a beard; he began to grow one shortly after his election, when supporters suggested facial hair would soften his harsh appearance.

5. Several strange pets also occupied the White House with the Lincoln family. Two goats named Nanny and Nanko. Their dog Fido remained in Illinois as they were afraid the train trip would be too frightening for him.

More to Come. --Da Coot

Some Interesting Bits of Lincoln Info-- Part 2

Continued from yesterday.

** When asked by a reporter about Illinois' ban on interracial marriage, Lincoln replied, " The law means nothing. I shall never marry a Negress, but I have no objection to any one else doing so. If a white man wants to marry a Negro woman, let him do it--if the Negro woman can stand it."

** Claiming a case of "cold feet," Lincoln was a no-show for his own wedding to Mary Todd on Jan. 1, 1841. They later married Nov. 4, 1843.

** Lincoln won only 38 percent of the popular vote in 1860. In 12 southern states, his name wasn't even on the ballot. However, he got 180 electoral votes.

** Locally, the Lincoln Highway, the former Lincoln High School and Lincoln Restaurant in Canton, the former Lincoln Elementary and the Lions Lincoln Theater in Massillon are named for him.

Honest Abe. --Cooter

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Some Interesting Bits of Lincoln Info

The February 11th Canton (Ohio) Repository had some interesting bits of Lincolnia.

** The coin engraving "In God We Trust" was introduced during Lincoln's administration. It's believed that his very religious Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase, had something to do with it.

** Lincoln was the first president to receive a transcontinental telegram.

** Lincoln was related to Daniel Boone.

** Lincoln's original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

** Though he was not a regular church-goer, Lincoln read two chapters of the Bible every day.

** Before he was president, Lincoln was already known for his humor. As a lawyer, he was once fined $5 by a judge when a Lincoln joke broke up the court room. The judge dropped it when he repeated it for the judge an got the man to laugh as well.

More to Come. --Da Coot

What's in a Name...Lincoln, That Is

And a Big Old Happy 200th!!

The February 11th Chicago Tribune had a list of most popular presidential-named schools across the United States. Lincoln tops the list, beating out Washington by a hundred.

Here's the list:

Lincoln-- 667
Washington-- 567
Roosevelt-- 260 (includes Franklin Delano, Teddy, and Eleanor)
Kennedy-- 195 (includes 2 for Jacqueline, 8 for Robert F, and 1 for Patrick J)
Jefferson-- 77
Van Buren-- 36 (who'd have thought?)
Reagan-- 22
Bush-- 16 (two each for Laura and Barbara, 14 are in Texas)
Johnson-- 9

Not surprisingly, Illinois claims the most schools named for Lincoln with 89. Indiana has 22 where he was raised, and Kentucky has eight.

A Lincoln Here, a Lincoln There. --Da Coot

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Everybody's Talking Lincoln

Tomorrow is the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birthday. His famous Gettysburg Address will be recited by thousands of Illinois students in Illinois and around the world.

It is hoped that a Guiness World Record will be broken at 9:30 AM tomorrow. A live webcast will stream out of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, where state officials, school children, and a Lincoln impersonator will recite it.

It is being called the "Four Score and Seven" event. The record they are attempting to break is in the category "Most People Reading Aloud Simultaneously in Multiple Locations." The current record was set in December 2006, when 223,363 participated in the reading of E.B. White's "Charlotte's Web."

Good Luck on the Effort. --Da Coot

Why Lincoln Matters

The Jan. 30th/Feb 1st USA Weekend Magazine had a list of seven reasons why Abraham Lincoln still matters according to historian Michael Beschloss. He had some interesting things to say.


Both groups consistently rank him at the top.


You can grow up to be president as well. He was definitely not of gentry. He lost his mother art an early age and only had a little formal education, but rose to be a successful lawyer, and then, you know.


He made it to the top without lying or cheating and was almost always kind, even to his enemies and maintained his sense of humor.


Even though some say he didn't push it far enough, he certainly gave blacks a much-better chance of equality.


He is on commercials, his name on cars, toys, companies, schools, "Land of Lincoln" in Illinois, and, of course, his birthday.


His marriage, what if he hadn't been at Ford's Theater that night.


He could tell a story and write a speech. How do you write a better one than the Gettysburg Address?

A Remarkable Man. --Cooter

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

As We Approach Abe's Birthday

Just two days to go now before Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday and both yesterday and today, we have been in three states that are very involved in his pre-presidential career: Kentucky, Indiana, and later today, Illinois.

I see in today's Evansville, Indiana, paper, that Indiana's smallest post office, located in Lincoln City, is offering a special cancellation stamp featuring a young Lincoln carrying an axe. Indiana was home to Lincoln and his family from 1816 to 1830.

They are also extending their hours Thursday to 4:30 from their usual 6:30 to 10:30. February 12th, there will be activities commemorating his life, including Civil War music and a speech reading.

I picked up a brochure at the motel titles "Indiana's Lincoln: 2008-2010 Celebrating the 200th Birthday of the Greatest American President." It list six sites around the state with Lincoln tie-ins, including the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City.

Spencer County has "Legendary Faces...Legendary Places" where Lincoln spent some time. Of interest is that the Spencer County Visitors Bureau is located at 39 N. Kringle Place in Santa Claus, Indiana. That would be an interesting story in a non-Lincoln vein.

Good Old Abe. --Da Coot

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

I found out in Dale Cox's Civil War Florida blog that nearby (to Panama City Beach) Fort Walton Beach, Florida, got its name from a Civil War fort started by the Walton Guards. It was attacked by Union forces in 1962 and after the Federals left, Gen. Braxton Bragg sent an 18 pdr. cannon to prevent future incursions.

When the Walton Guards left the camp/fort, they buried the cannon in a shell mound and since then, it was dug up and now can be seen at a historic park in town.

We stayed there last year and had planned to return this year, but didn't make it. Maybe next year.

I sure didn't know that was how it got its name.

I do know Fort Walton Beach was where the famous Doolittle Raiders of World War II trained before the famous attack on Japan in 1942.

What's in a Name? --Coot

Friday, February 6, 2009

"Growing People"-- Panama City Beach's Origin

We've been along the Florida's panhandle since Saturday, looking for a break from all that global warming up by the Illinois-Wisconsin border. It's finally getting warm after two pretty cold days.

Came across a brochure for Pineapple Willy's, a popular hangout here, which had a short history of that place and PC Beach as they call it sometimes.


It said that in the early 1930s, there wasn't really much at the beach which was sometimes referred to as "ugly white sand." That is, until a Gideon Thomas decided he could do something with it. Instead of growing food, he was going to "grow people.

On May 2, 1936, he held the formal opening of Panama City Beach with an amusement park and whole Florida lobsters for 75 cents each. Since then, it is a bumper-to-bumper crop indeed. In 1953 the state recognized his effort by naming a major thoroughfare "Thomas Drive."

So, when you're in town, and get on Thomas Drive, that's how it became that name.

However, one sad thing is that the many small mom and pop motels and businesses are being replaced by gigantic condo buildings and corporate America's offerings.


In 1984, local businessman William Buskell, aka "Pineapple Willy" bought the Pier 99 Lounge and changed the name to Pineapple Willy's, and the rest is eating and partying history.

Number 1 Songs, Feb. 1st, Through the Decades

1919 After You've Gone-- Marion Harris
1929 Sweethearts on Parade-- Guy Lombardo (I've heard of him)
1939 The Umbrella Man-- Kay Kyser (and his musical knowledge School?)
1949 A Little Bird Told Me-- Evelyn Knight
1959 Smoke gets in Your Eyes-- Platters (Come on everyone, let's hit that high note at the end. What, no Big Bopper?)
1969 Crimson & Clover-- Tommy James & the Shondells

Of interest, in 1964 on Feb. 1st, the number one song was "I Want toHoldYour Hand" by the Beatles, the beginning of the British Invasion and of me getting into music.

Smoke Gets in Your .... --Da Coot

The Day the Music Died

This past Tuesday, February 3rd, was the 50th anniversary of the plane crash in Iowa that took the lives of three of R n R's bug stars back in 1959: Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly, and the Big Bopper (J. P. Richardson).

I was alive, but only 8 and not listening to music, so it had no impact on me. It took the Beatles arriving five years later to do that, and then, did it really have an impact on me.

Last night, at Donovan's Reef, they were having a hard time getting folks to get up and sing, so after a few brews, there I stood on stage and sang "Chantilly Lace" by the Big Bopper in honor of the event. I have to make sure any one I sing is not a good singer, otherwise, it's not pretty. I did great on the spoken parts, and passable on the singing.

Later. I tried Don McLean's "American Pie" with much poorer results. Sure are lots of words sung fast and no breaks. I was breathless afterwards.

Rock and Roll Obviously Did Not Die. --Cooter

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Springfield, Illinois losing Its Lincoln Homes.

Kind of a sad thing in this a few days before the 200th anniversary of his birth. Illinois may be the "Land of Lincoln" but Springfield is the "Home of Lincoln" and where the Illinois Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans hold their annual convention every April.

His home that he bought in 1844 for $1,200 is meticulously kept by the National Park Service, but the problem arises with the other 100 homes in the city that were around when Abe lived there. Last week, USA Today ran an article about these homes. The homes in the four square blocks around his house are also taken care of and being returned to look as they did back in the day.

But any that are not in this district are at risk. A few blocks away, Lincoln-era homes are boarded up, and others are dilapidated or have been so remodeled that they are beyond recognition.


The city of Springfield's Historic Sites Commission has a list of 100 Lincoln-era homes that are somewhat protected in that owners automatically face a 30 day wait that can be extended another thirty on any applications for demolition while a new owner is sought.

Most recently, the Maisenbacher House, built with a $650 loan from Abe found itself literally sitting out in the street when the city balked at additional money to build a new foundation. New owners Court and Karen Conn bought it in 2006 and would like to turn it into a B&B, but it had to moved for expansion of the Springfield Clinic. The city put up money for the move, expensive in itself, but rightfully refused to come up with what seemed to be an extravagant request for the foundation.

Today, it sits at its new site up on oak beams and gravel, awaiting something to happen.

Abe Slept Here, or, Maybe Not. --Coot

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Number 1 Songs for Feb. 1st

1979 Le Freak-- Chic
1978 Stayin; Alive-- Bee Gees ( ahh, the Disco Era-- bgreatm music but dumb culture)
1977 Torn Between Two Lovers-- Mary MacGregor
1976 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover-- Paul Simon (great rhyming)
1975 Laughter in the Rain-- Neil Sedaka (Sedaka is back)
1974 The Way We Were-- Barbra Strisand (gag!)
1973 Crocodile Rock-- Elton John
1972 American Pie-- Don McLean (appropriate time for it)
1971 Knock Three Times-- Dawn (Go ahead and hit that pipe)
1970 Venus-- Shocking Blue (Did they say Venus or ....)

1919-- After You've Gone-- Marion Harris

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl XLIII-- Part 2

Comparing 1947 to Today.

AVERAGE PRICE OF GALLON OF GAS-- 23 cents ($2.22 in today's dollars), $3.30 (well $2 right now

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS-- Henry Ford dies, Ford Motor Co. fights for survival

AVERAGE COST OF NEW CAR-- $1,500, $28,715

MADE OF LEATHER-- helmets, locker room couches

TOP CARDINALS SALARY-- $25,000 for RB Charlie Trippi, $17,103,480 for WR Larry Fitzgerald

GEORGE HALAS-- wanted the Cardinals out of Chicago, Cardinals have a trophy with his name on it

BILL BIDWELL-- waterboy, owner

WINNING TITLE GAME PAYS-- $1,000 a game ball and wrist watch, $78,000 and a nice really big and expensive ring

Super Bowl XLIII, Or 43 for Youse Non-Latin Folk

The January 30th USA Today had an interesting comparison of 50 years ago and this year's Super Bowl. The first item is for 1947, the second for today.

CITY OF THE CARDINALS-- Chicago, Phoenix (Glendale, Az)

OWNER-- Violet Bidwell (widow of long-time owner Charles Bidwell), Bill Bidwell (son of Violet and Charles Bidwell)

RACIAL PROGRESS-- Jackie Robinson breaks the Major League Baseball color barrier, African-American Barack Obama elected president.

POPULATION OF PHOENIX-- Fewer than 100,000, About 1.5 million (5th largest in US)

AERONAUTICAL FEET-- Chuck Yaeger breaks the sound barrier, Space Shuttle Endeavor spends 16 days in space.

PRICE OF A REGULAR SEASON TICKET-- $3.60 (about $35 in today's dollars),$80 for 400-level between the 30-yard lines

TEAM LOGO-- passive cardinal perched on a football, angry cardinal wanting to beat you up

STADIUM-- Chicago's old Comiskey Park, built for baseball, Univ. of Phoenix stadium

More to Come. --Cooter