Saturday, May 30, 2009

Washing Clothes in the "Good Old Days"

My Uncle Bo sent me this, taken from an Alabama grandmother's advice to a new bride back around 1900. This is how to go about the simple chore of washing the clothes. Spelling errors included.

Build a fire in backyard to heat kettle of rainwater. Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert. Shave one hole cake of lie soap in boilin water.

Sort things, make three piles 1 pile white 1 pile colored, 1 pile work britches and rags

To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boiling water.

Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and boil, then rub colored don't boil just wrench and starch.

Take things out of the kettle with broom stick handle, then wrench and starch.

Hang old rags on fence. Spread tea towels in grass.

Pore wrench water in flower bed. Scrub porch with hot soapy water. Turn tubs upside down.

Go put on a clean dress, smooth hair with hair comb. Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a spell and count your blessings.

My uncle cleared up the question of what wrench meant. It means rinse.

And, These Were the Good Old Days. --Cooter

World War II Sites in the US

In the earlier posting, I wrote about the crew members of the US ship who died in Southport, NC. In the article I got from the HMdb (Historical Marker database), they wrote that there weren't a lot of WW II markers in the US since essentially no fighting took place here.

True, but even so, there was plenty of war effort going on here, along with the battles with U-Boats in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Shipyards sprang up all along the coasts. Two ships on the Great Lakes were converted into aircraft carriers for Naval aviators to practice landings and takeoffs.

German and Italian prisoners were held in various towns, training camps sprang up all over as well. Our coasts also had fortifications. Then, there were the Rosie the Riveters and children participating in war drives.

I've also come across an article about a woman who recently donated the bottle with which she christened the Liberty Ship SS Calvin Coolidge to a museum in Vermont.

One thing I have definitely come across in this blog, is that there is the need for lots of markers that to be erected in this country.

Here's Hoping. --Cooter

Southport, NC, WW II Marker

Last year, the good folks at HMdb featured a marker of the week located in Southport, NC, located near the mouth of the Cape Fear River, which flows from Wilmington.

It said that World War II markers on US soil are rare, because with few exceptions, the war did not reach our shores.

But, there is a marker in town for a Filippino mess boy and others who died in the 1942 sinking of a US Merchant Marine tanker off the Cape Fear by a German U-Boat. It is dedicated to the memory of Catalino Timgzon of the SS John D. Gill, torpedoed and sunk by the U-158 March 12, 1942.

The citizens of Southport cared for the survivors.

Definitely don't think I'd like to be on board a torpedoed tanker.

The Greatest Generation. --Cooter

Friday, May 29, 2009

B-17 "Liberty Belle"

The May 27th Newton (Ia) Daily News had an article by Jessica Lowe about a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber coming to the Des Moines Airport May 31st on its 2009 tour of the US. This one is named the "Liberty Belle" and is 100% accurate from its silver exterior, green interior, multi machine guns, to the bomb casings in the bomb bay.

Rides are being offered in it for $430. Pilot John Shuttleworth says, "You will smell it, hear it, feel it. It is a great living history museum."

It is owned and maintained by Liberty Foundation which was started by Don Brooks because his father was a tail gunner in the original "Liberty Belle." He bought this B-17 in really horrible shape from a Connecticut museum and spent 14 years and $3 million restoring it.

This particular plane was built in 1945 and never saw action. But, its namesake was part of the 390th Bomb Group, and flew 64 combat missions over Germany. During the war, 12,732 B-17s were produced and 4,700 were shot down with the deaths of 40,000 airmen.

It would be interesting to know what happened to the original "Liberty Belle" and if you can just come aboard since the $430 is a bit much for me to spend.

They have an excellent website at

A Real Piece of History. --Cooter

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

USS Lagarto (SS-371) Documentary on PBS

I had planned to see it, but missed it this past Sunday on PBS' WTTW in Chicago. But the Chicago Tribune's Watcher, TV critic Maureen Ryan had a write up on it May 22nd. Researching this is how I came across the SS-44.

"Lost and Found: The Legacy of the USS Lagarto" traced the history of the submarine from where it was built in Manitowac, Wisconsin, to its service, loss, and divers who found it it a few years ago in the Gulf of Thailand, six decades after it was sunk in 1945. All crew members were lost.

Filmmakers Harvey Moshman and Chuck Coppola tracked down family members, World War II submarine veterans, and even shipyard workers for interviews and background.

Nancy Mabin Kenney of LaGrange, Illinois, was one of the leaders to get the Navy to recognize the Lagarto's crew. Her father, William Mabin, was a signalman on the sub. A tribute was held in Manitowoc near where it was launched.

Interesting that subs made in the Midwest fought in the Pacific.

I'll Have to Keep an Eye Open for Its Rebroadcast. --Cooter

World War II Ship to Be Sunk

The General Hoyt S. Vandenberg is to be sunk sometime today off Key West to become the world's second largest artificial reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Explosives will be used to settle it 140 feet down.

The ship was launched in 1943 and served as the the transport ship USS General Harry Taylor, AP-145, during World War II. It made many trips across the Pacific bringing soldiers to New Guinea, the Solomons, and Philippines.

In 1961, it was transferred to the US Air Force and renamed the Vandenberg. It tracked US missile launches and monitored those of the Soviet Union.

Good Use for an Old Ship. --Da Coot

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oops, Story in the Wrong Place-- W W II Submarines

I accidentally had an entry in another blog about World War II submarines, and specifically the S-44 who the Submarine Veterans of World War II have assigned to the state of Illinois for remembrance.

The S-44 was launched in 1923, the third class of submarines in Naval service. It was sunk in action in 1943 with the loss of all but two of their crew.

See May 26th entry at

Remembering Our Veterans. Cooter

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day Observation

I fly US flags both by the mailbox and on the deck.

Memorial Day, we always go to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, for the parade. Always the biggest cheers for the honor guard, made up of members of the American Legion and VFW.

I see tomorrow Little Steven is having a Memorial Day show on his Underground Garage show.

I like to thank anyone who is a veteran.

Freedom Doesn't Come Cheap. --Thanks Veterans

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lincoln Pitcher To Be Auctioned

The May 22nd Chicago Daily Herald reports that a gold and silver Tiffany pitcher, a gift to Lincoln on his first inauguration is expected to go for between $300,000 and $400,000 in Cincinnati June 6th.

It is considered to be authentic and has been on loan to the Smithsonian for the last 40 years. The Great Seal of the United States is on one side and the inscription "To the President of the United States Abraham Lincoln from hid Washington friends March 4, 1861."

I know some friends in the SCV who would really like to have this.

A Bit of History. --Cooter

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Old Folks Might Remember

My Uncle Bo sent me this, complete with pictures. If I remember most of them, does this make me old?


45 rpm spindles (either the single ones, or the big ones you put on the LP spindle and could stack.
Green Stamps-- those books you had tp put them in.
metal ice cube trays with a lever-- sometimes you just couldn't open that lever

roller skate keys-- I didn't skate, too much pain
Marlin Perkins-- telling his assistant to grab the really mad animal or reptile
Drive In Movies-- still around. We have one about three miles away
car hops-- just ate at a Dog 'N Suds today, 99 cent Charco Burgers

Studebakers-- my grandfather had a dealership in Goldsboro, NC
Fuller Brush Man-- I was too young
Reel-to-Reel Tape Recorder-- I have two that sort of work. Recorded a lot of songs off WLS and WCFL while in high school and before I got into cassettes
Tinker Toys-- Might still be around

More to Come. --Da Coot

Ten Great Meetings in History

The January 21st List Universe had a look at Top Ten meetings they would have liked to see.

10. CHARLES ROLLS & FREDERICK ROYCE-- 1904 (Rolls killed in 1910 when his Wright biplane crashed.)

9. DEXTER KING & JAMES EARL RAY-- 1997 (son of MLK and man who killed him.)

8. EDGAR ALLAN POE & CHARLES DICKENS-- 1842 in Philadelphia

7. THOMAS STAFFORD & ALEXI LEONOV-- July 15, 1975, aboard the Soviet Union's Soyuz space station.

6. POPE JOHN PAUL II 7 MEHMET ALI AGCA-- 1983-- Agca shot the Pope.


4. HENRY STANLEY & DAVID LIVINGSTONE-- November 10, 1871, "Dr. Livingstone, I ____."


2. ULYSSES S. GRANT & ROBERT E. LEE-- Lee's surrender, April 9, 1865

1. NEILS BOHR & WERNER HEISENBERG-- 1922-- nuclear fission

You may not always agree, but these will always get you to thinking.

I'd add Jesus Christ and Herod.

It would be like good old Forrest Gump.

If I Was a Fly on the Wall. --Da Coot

Dead Page: Wrote About and Lived Civil Rights History


Master of the story of race in the US. "John Hope wrote it, he taught it, and lived it."

His landmark 1947 book, "From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans" is still reprinted and widely-read. He researched in segregated Southern libraries where he was required to sit at a separate table from white patrons and was even prohibited from being waited on by white female librarians. He endured this and other indignities with no trace of bitterness.

He also worked on an important brief for Brown vs. Board of Education, marched at Selma, and lectured all over the world.

The March 27th Charleston (SC) Post and Courier had a column by Walter Dellinger.

Pearl Harbor Survivor Dies

The Macon (Ga) Telegraph reports that Lamar Taylor, 94, died earlier this month. He was one of the last surviving Macon Pearl Harbor attack veterans.

He and his friends had been out on liberty the night before and arrived back at the USS California during the attack. His battle station was already under water, so he formed a team to save others. They cut through a steel deck and rescued 10 or 12 people. Another time, they found a sailor up to his neck in water and got him out but, unfortunately seared his arm in the process.

There are an estimated 43 Pearl Harbor Survivors left in Georgia. Macon is now down to three after Taylor's death.

The Greatest Generation.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Wilmington Shipyard

The North Carolina Shipbuiding Co. (NCSC) built 243 ships from 1941 to 1946 for the World War II war effort. Ralph Scott has written a book on it "Wilmington Shipyard: Welding a Fleet for Victory In World War II" published in 2007.

He used personal correspondence, government records, company archives, and newspapers to develop the story. Covered in his book is site acquisition, ship production, demobilization, post war status, and especially interesting, the fate of ships they built.

Some interesting facts were that employees were granted short-term absence for tending crops and child care for working mothers. At one point, it was feared the bright lights from the shipyards at night would illuminate ships at sea, but it was determined that production was more important than the risks, so it continued.

Most have heard of the battles during the war, but equally important is the home front efforts that won through to final victory.

I'll Have to Give This a Read. --Cooter

Good News for the Merchant Marine-- And, About Time

On May 12th, Associated Press reported that the US Merchant Marine of World War II may finally be getting their just-financial thank you, even if it is way too late. Of the 250,000 who served bringing supplies and troops overseas, only around 10,000 are still alive.

The US House of Representatives passed a bill (H.B. 23) providing these veterans who survived German and Japanese attack, with $1000 a month.

However, Representative Steve Buyer of Indiana brings up a good point. There are 28 other groups, including the Flying Tigers and Women's Air Force Service Pilots, that were passed over. And they are deserving as well.

These men carried 95% of the tanks, supplies, and troops overseas at great personal risk, especially from German U-Boats. Then, there were those men in freighters carrying oil and ammunition, one of the worst places to be when hit by torpedo.

During the war, more than 800 US merchant ships were sunk and 9,500 sailors died, a higher casualty rate than any other branch of service.

They were excluded form the 1944 GI Bill of Rights and have, for the most part, been overlooked. In 1988, three Merchant Marine sailors sued successfully for Veteran status.

About TIME!!! --Cooter

Monday, May 18, 2009

Obama Relative Recalls WW II Horror

The May 8th Chicago Tribune ran an article by John McCormick and Charles Payne, the great uncle of President Obama. He has kept out of the public limelight until now, when it has been reported that the resident will visit the concentration camp Payne helped liberate in April 1945.

He spent his working career at the library science building at the University of Chicago, but back then, "he was Private First Class in the 89th Infantry Division when he participated in the liberation of Ohrdruf, a forced labor camp that was a satellite of the Buchenwald concentration camp."

"I remember seeing a lot of really emaciated people in rags at the point of starvation. People were clutching tin cups for food. I saw sheds where dead bodies had been stacked up.

German news agencies have reported that Obama might visit Buchenwald this summer in honor of the 65th anniversary of D-Day and the Group of Eight summit in July.

Last Memorial Day, Obama mistakenly referred to his great uncle as liberating Auschwitz during the war, but corrected it.

It Will Be Interesting to See if the President Visits the Site. Even Better, He Should Bring His Great Uncle Along With Him. --Cooter

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mosquito Fleet

Yesterday and today, I wrote about the CSS Black Warrior, a Confederate schooner which was part of the Mosquito Fleet assigned to protect the North Carolina sounds and Roanoke Island.

Looking up Mosquito Fleet in Wikipedia, there were seven times this name has been used in US history.

1. Described the US Navy's fleet of small gunboats before and during the War of 1812.

2. Name of the US squadron commanded by Commodore Matthew C. Perry against the Mexican fortresses of Tuxpan and Villahermosa during the Mexican War.

3. The Confederate fleet.

4. Fleet of small steam vessels in Puget Sound in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

5. Fleet of converted yachts used by the US Navy during WW I off the Atlantic Coast of France to patrol for German U-Boats and to provide support for convoys into Brest, France. Also called the "Suicide Fleet."

6. A term used for the fast wooden Torpedo (PT) Boats in WW II. Most famous was the PT-109, commanded by Ltjg John F. Kennedy, USN.

7. Fleet of sailing ships plied waters off South Carolina and Georgia in the mid-1800s, trawling for shrimp, primarily crewed by Gullah fishermen.

I knew about the Confederate fleet and might have known about the PT boats being called that, but not the others.

The Little Stingers or is It Biters? --Da Coot

Friday, May 15, 2009

Things You Don't Hear Anymore

My Uncle Bo sent these.

Fill the ice trays (well, we still have to fill them, but at least we don't have to worry about that handle to pull. We just twist it,)

Be sure to pull the windows down. It looks like it's going to rain.

Don't forget to wind the clock.

Wash your feet. You've been playing barefoot all day.

You've torn the knees out of your pants so many times, there is nowhere to put a patch anymore.

Don't go outside with your school clothes on.

Pour the cream off the top of the new milk bottle.

Take the bottle back to the store for a refund. (We used to go around the neighborhood collecting bottles for extra money. Two Cents a bottle, you know.)

Pretty Soon, Pop the tape in the Machine and Hit Play. --Cooter

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dead Page: The Big and the Small of It

Three enetrtainers I've enjoyed many times in the past have died recently.

DOM DELUISE 1933-2009

Actor Best Known for Work with Brooks and Reynolds. Died May 4th.

Really, really funny guy who was also on Dean Martin's 1970s variety show and with Burt Reynolds in "Smokey and the Bandit II" and "Cannonball Run."

He also starred in Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles," "Silent Movie," "History of the World: Part 1," a voice in "Spaceballs," and "Robin Hood: Men in Tights."

Said Brooks of Deluise, he "created so much joy and laughter on the set that you couldn't get your work done. So every time I made a movie with Dom, I would plan another two days on the schedule just for laughter." High praise.

From the May 6th Chicago Tribune.


Played Munchkin Town Crier, Fiddler and Soldier on Wizard of Oz

Died May 7th. One of the last-surviving of the more than 100 adults and children who played Munchkins in the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz." He said they made only $125 a week for their efforts. It was his only movie and after it appeared on TV, he found a new career at charitable events, retail shows and Oz-related events.

He said, "It's not me; it's the movie. When they see me, they think of their childhood, and it makes them smile."

This was the only movie he ever was in, but he did the Phillip Morris live radio shows and also shows with George Burns, Gracie Allen, Jack Benny and Al Jolson.

In "The Wizard of Oz," he played the roles of Munchkinland town crier, marched as a Munchkin soldier, and was the candy-striped fiddle who escorted Dorothy down the yellow road toward the Emerald City.

After the movie was shown on TV in the sixties, he had a new career in charitable events, retail shows, and Oz-related events. In November 2007, he and six other surviving Munchkins received a star as a group on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

From the May 6th Chicago Tribune.

Ten People Who Gave Their Names to Food-- Part 2

5. MARIA SMITH-- From Sydney, Australia. Found a small tree growing where she had thrown some rotten apples. Replanted it and the tart fruit was an instant hit. Died in 1870, but Granny Smith Apples live on. My favorite apples.

4. CAESAR CARDINI-- common mistake has Caesar Salad named after Julius Caesar, but named after a Mexican restaurant owner in Tijuana, Mexico. On the weekend of July 4, 1924, he was serving finger food on garlic-scented leaves. He eventually started shredding the leaves into smaller pieces which evolved into the Caesar Salad. I sure thought it was named after old Julius.

3. ALFREDO DI LEO-- Italian chef whose wife was weak after a recent childbirth. Prepared a sauce made of cream, butter, and parmesan cheese. He later added fettuccine, and, Fettuccini Alfredo. And I always thought this was healthy food.

2. SYLVESTER GRAHAM-- 1794-1851, One of America's first health food adherents.

1. JOHN MONTAGUE, the FOURTH EARL OF SANDWICH-- 1718-1792. Asked a servant to place roast beef between two pieces of toast so he could eat with one hand and play cards with the other. Hence, the Sandwich. Love them sammiches.

Sure Got Hon-gary Typing This. --Da Coot

Ten People Who Gave Their Name to Food

Love those folks at List Universe. Another great effort here. I shorten the comments and they have pictures. Well worth checking it out.

10. NELLIE MELBA-- an opera singer, born Helen Mitchel Porter, 1861-1931, while staying at the Savoy Hotel in London in 1897, chef Auguste Escoffier invented Melba Toast in her honor.

9. SUZANNE REICHENBERG-- French actress and baroness, 1853-1924. Chef Auguste Escoffier invented Crepes Suzette, pancakes covered with liqueur.

8. JAMES H. SALISBURY-- He invented Salisbury Steak in 1886.

7. LEMUEL BENEDICT-- returned to New York City's Waldorf-Astoria after a long night of drinking and asked for a specific hangover cure: piece of toast, poached egg, bacon, and hollandaise sauce. However, received it on an English muffin with ham instead of bacon. Eggs Benedict was born.

6. ROBERT COBB-- owner of the Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood. In 1936, Sid Grauman, owner of Grauman's Chinese Theatre came in after hours and after all the help had left and wanted to be served. Mr. Cobb quickly whipped together a salad made of left-overs and, then you had a Cobb Salad. And I always thought it had something to do with corn cobs. Oh well.

More Delicious Folk Coming Up. --Da Coot

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bits O' History: Honor Flights-- 98-- WW II Memorial-- WW II Medals

Some New News About Old Stuff.

1. HONOR FLIGHTS-- There have been lots of stories of late about honor flights to the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. This is a great thing being done to these heroes, and, at no cost to themselves.

2. 98-- I received a letter asking for a donation to the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, DC, this May 25th. I could also donate $98 in honor of the 98 World War II Medal of Honor recipients still living.

3. WW II MEMORIAL-- The Middleton (NY) Times Herald-Record reports that a new World War II Memorial was erected and will be unveiled after the Memorial Day parade. All WW II veterans can have their names inscribed on it.

4. WW II MEDALS-- Was it a case of prejudice? Livie Gault, Jr, was 19 in 1943 when he was drafted. He joined the Navy and was a steward third class on the USS Lubbock where he had to serve the white sailors with whom he was not allowed to eat because the military was still segregated.

When the ship was under Japanese attack, he manned an anti-aircraft gun and was honorably discharged in 1946.

His son wondered where hi medals were, and worked with official and the VA. This past week, he received the World War II Victory Medal, , the Asia-Pacific Campaign Medal, , Combat Action ribbon, and Philippines Liberation ribbon.

It's About Time!! --Cooter

Sports Curses-- Part 2

5. MADDEN CURSE-- Since 1999, most athletes featured on the box of the Madden NFL video game have suffered injuries or setbacks.

4. CURSE OF BOBBY LAYNE-- led Detroit Lions to NFL Championship in '52, '53, and '57. Traded to Steelers in 1958. Reportedly said the Lions would not win the championship for the next 50 years. The curse went out with a bang in 2008, when the Lions were 0-16.


2. THE CURSE OF THE BILLY GOAT-- Billy Siannis, owner of Billy Goat Bar, brought his pet goat to Wrigley Field tom watch the fourth game of the 1945 World Series. During the seventh inning, Cubs owner Phil Wrigley personally ejected them after complaints about the smell. Siannis declared, "Them Cubs aren't gonna win no more." They dropped the next three games to lose to Detroit. Siannis sent a telegram, "Who smells now?" And, that was the last times the Cubs were in a World Series.

1. Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx.

Thanks Again, List Universe. --Da Coot

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Got a Few Thousand Lying Around?

You can own your very own piece of Chicago history if you have enough money. June 2nd, Christies will be auctioning off seven lots fro Chicago's Stock Exchange Building which was built in 1894 by Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler.

One item is a wrought-iron elevator enclosure, estimated to go from between $20,000 to $30,000 and three leaded-glass ceiling panels which might go for $7,000.

It is mot actually clear how the property came to be with Christie's. In the late 60s, there was a major effort ton save the building which was demolished 1971-1972.

here a Stock, There a Stock. --RoadDog

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sports Curses

Most of us believe in curses when it comes to sports. There are those teams that we just can't beat. The Yankees were a major nemesis of the White Sox in the 60s and 70s. Then, forget the Cubs when they had to play Houston in the Astrodome.

There are lucky hats, rally caps, and any number of other things that get to be ritual

The April 30th List Universe had a top ten sports curses.

10. CURSE OF THE BAMBINO-- after traded to Yankees from the Red Sox in 1920, Babe Ruth said they wouldn't win the World Series again. Before that, they had won five World Series. Took them a long time before winning another.

9. CURSE OF BILLY PENN-- At one time, no building could be built higher than the statue of William Penn on city hall. In 1987, One Liberty Place was built and Philadelphia teams have not won a championship, until the Phillies last year, since.

8. CURSE OF THE COLONEL-- in the 1985 Japanese baseball Championship Series, fans celebrating the Hanshin Tigers in Osaka grabbed a statue of Col. Sanders from a KFC store and dumped it into a canal. They finished last ten times in the next 17 years. March 10, 2009, workers on a boardwalk found the statue. No word if it will be returned.

7. CURSE OF COOGIN'S BLUFF-- When the Giants left the Polo Grounds in 1957, fans put a curse on them not to win a World Series. They won the NL championship in 1962, 1987 and 2002, but no World Series.

6. CURSE OF MARTY MCSORLEY-- in hockey. Why no Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup since then.

Where's the Billy Goat? --Da Coot Goat

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dead Page-- Delfonics-- Manhattan Project


Founding member of 70s soul group Delfonics, noted for their three-part harmony and falsetto sound. Heard on songs "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" and "La-La-La Means I Love You." Formed group with brothers William and Wilbert Hirt. One of my favorite groups back then.


Longtime University of Chicago physics professor (1948-1997). he helped develop the detonation device for the atomic bomb in the Manhattan Project and later developed radiation therapy for cancer.

From humble beginnings, he rode a horse three miles to a one-room schoolhouse in Missouri while growing up.

Friday, May 8, 2009

They're Back (the 1930s, That Is)-- Part 2

FRUGAL TRANSPORTATION-- Freight-hopping-- hypermiling (?) (How about e-mailing?)

TIMELY POP HIT-- "Brother, can You Spare a Dime?" by Harburg & Gorney-- "Yes, We Can" by (How about "They're Shutting Detroit Down" by Rich?)

GOSSIP MAVEN-- Walter Winchell-- Matt Drudge(?) (What about Entertainment Tonight?)

FEEL-GOOD MOVIE-- Top Hat-- Paul Blart: Mall Cop

DEPRESSION-PROOF CAREER-- Apple seller-- Bankruptcy lawyer


FAVORITE PERFORMING FAMILY-- The Marx brothers-- The Jonas Brothers

The More Things Change, The More They Don't. --Da Coot

They're Back (the 1930s, That Is)

The May & June AARP Magazine had a funny page comparing Then (1930s) to Now in various trends.

I'll have the trend, followed by Then and Now.


CAREER DOWNSIZING-- Hoboing-- Temping


NATURAL DISASTER-- Dust Bowl-- Global Warming

HIP HEADWEAR-- fedora-- fedora (what about those straigh-across bill basebal caps?

FAVORITE DISTRACTION--Huddling around a radio-- Huddling around a Wii

OUTLAW CHICAGOAN-- Al Capone-- Rod Blagojevich

The More Things Change, The More They Don't. More to Come-- Da Coot

USS Pyro (AE-1)

I'd never heard of the USS Pyro in the entry earlier today, so went to good old Wikipedia.

The USS Pyro was the lead ship of her class of ammunition ships built from 1919 to 1946.

It was laid down at the Navy Yard in Puget Sound, Washington, in 1919 and commissioned 10 August 1920. After four years service, it was decommissioned in 1924 and recommissioned in 1939 as part of America's build up for World War II.

It was moored at West Loch in Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked. It received no serious damage, but at least one close call. It is credited with shooting down a Japanese plane.

Four days later, the Pyro left for San Francisco for ammunition. It participated in operations in the Pacific for the remainder of the war and was sold for scrap in 1946.

The second ship of the class was called the USS Nitro. Explosive names.

Pearl Harbor Vets

The Everett (Wa) Herald had an article by Bill Sheets back in December (I just found it) about six Pearl Harbor survivors who attended a ceremony honoring the day.

Donald Green, 85, of Bremerton, Wa., was on the ammunition ship USS Pyro (definitely not a good place to be during the attack). He was a night watchman and was used to drunken sailors coming back to the ship. A few hours after his shift, he was asleep when he heard the explosions and thought, "What the hell is the Army doing these exercises for on a Sunday morning?"

On that date in 1941, Green, then 19, was a petty officer 3rd class. He quickly threw on his clothes and manned an anti-aircraft gun. He saw a Japanese plane approaching so close, "I could see (the pilot's) features, with leather helmet and red scarf." He saw a bomb drop and ran for safety. It hit a concrete dock 10-12 feet from the Pyro and blew it apart. "I wouldn't be here if it weren't or that 10 or 12 feet." he and a shipmate shot that plane down.

EDWIN SCHMIDT, 91, of Edmonds, Wa., was a seaman first class on the USS California. He and his good friend Herbert Curtis of Mississippi were getting ready for church when the first bomb hit.

Curtis was later killed and the California partly sunk.

At the conclusion of the battle, he and a shipmate fired what was left of the ammunition on the ship. "We fired the last eleven rounds at six Japanese bombers. That was the end of the shooting at Pearl Harbor."

The Greatest Generation.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dauntless Pulled from Lake Michigan-- Part 2

However, time and quagga mussels are hastening the deterioration of these planes. It was located by a review of accident documentation and sonar scanning. The plane, after restoration, will be displayed at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. A remotely operated submersible photographed it and fitted nit with a sling and inflatable balloon.

The plane was lost Nov. 24, 1944, as Ensign Joseph Lokites, now 86, with about 300 hours of flying time attempted his third of six required landings on the USS Wolverine.

He gave a phone interview from Des Moines, Iowa, and said, "It just crashed. I guess it ran out of gas or something. I took over from another pilot." He was able to jump out into the frigid water before it sank. "It's not cold when you're fighting for life or death. I was lucky."

It is too bad that Mr. Lokites was not in Waukegan when the plane was pulled out of the water, but I imagine there was no way they could have known it was his.

Recovered From the Past. --Da Coot

Dauntless Pulled from Lake Michigan

May 5th, I wrote about the Dauntless being pulled from Lake Michigan and that I had lost the article. I found it and will give some more information. This is from the April 25th Chicago Tribune by James Janega. There was a nice picture of it arriving in Waukegan Harbor. Tuesday, one of the guys at the American Legion said he'd seen the plane on a truck en route to Florida. That would have been a sight to see. The plane looks in the picture to be in remarkable shape, other than bent wings and prop and marine growth on parts.

It was found off Waukegan Harbor in 315 feet of water and then it was hauled underwater to Waukegan. It was raised Friday, April 25th, for the first time in six decades. A crane slowly lifted it.

The SBD-5 Dauntless WW II dive-bomber No. 36291 touched down on a blue tarp.


At the onset of World War II, the US had an immediate need for as many naval pilots as could be trained. Thousands learned the tricky art of take-offs and landings on aircraft carriers on Lake Michigan where two passenger liners had been turned into carriers, the USS Wolverine and USS Sable.

A few died and more than 100 planes were lost in the lake due to mishaps. About 40 have been recovered, restored, and in museums and airport terminals.

More to Come. --Cooter

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ned Kelly's Descendants Want a Proper Burial

The May 5th RTE News reports that the descendants of Australia's most famous robber want Australian authorities to hand over his remains for a proper burial.

Archaeologists have located what they believe to be his remains in a mass grave at the site of former Pentridge Prison in Melbourne. Female descendants, including a grand niece have submitted DNA for testing.

He was hanged at Old Melbourne Gaol in 1890, but his remains and those of 32 others executed there were exhumed and reburied at Pentridge in 1929.

Ned Kelly, a bank robber who killed three policemen, evaded capture for nearly two years until he led his gang into a shootout in Glenrowan in norther Victoria State June 28, 1880. Three of four members of his gang were killed, but Kelly, wearing armor made from ploughshares was wounded and captured. Some in Australia view him as a modern-day Robin Hood.

His reputed last words on the gallows were, "Such is Life."

I've heard of him before when visiting Australia. Interesting character.

Have Mercy on Those Robbing Bones. --Da Coot

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

WW II Dauntless Pulled from Lake Michigan

I've misplaced the article about it, but a World War II Dauntless plane was pulled out of Lake Michigan last week, some 65 years after it went in.

It will be repaired at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola and will be displayed at the World War II Museum in New Orleans. Around 100 era aircraft are at the bottom of the lake as a result of training mishaps during the war. Two passenger ships were converted into aircraft carriers for pilots to practice take offs and landings. Using aircraft carriers off the coast of the US was dangerous because of the presence of German U-Boats.

They actually contacted the pilot who was flying it in the Quad Cities.

More Information When I Find the Article. --Da Coot

Monday, May 4, 2009

Earlier USS Missouris

Last month, April 27th, I wrote about the upcoming launch of the fifth USS Missouri, a nuclear-powered attack submarine. At one time, battleships were named after states. Today, they have been replaced by submarines.

The first USS Missouri was a side wheel 10 gun frigate launched in 1841 and was lost in a fire in 1843.

The second USS Missouri was the former Confederate ironclad CSS Missouri, turned over to the US Navy at the end of the war. It proved entirely unsatisfactory and was scrapped. It was built in Shreveport, Louisianan in 1863 and was a casemate ironclad mounting three cannons. It never saw action.

The third USS Missouri was a Maine class battleship, BB 11, launched in 1901. Three crew members won Medals of Honor after a gun flashback in practice that suffocated 36. It was part of the Great White Fleet from 1907-1909 and served in the Atlantic during World War I. It was scrapped in 1922 according to the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty.

The fourth USS Missouri was the last battleship built by the United States. Japan surrendered on its deck and it is today a museum in Pearl Harbor, a short distance from the wreck of the USS Arizona,the beginning and end of WW II for the US.

A Proud Tradition. --Cooter

39th Anniversary of Kent State

Yesterday, Bob Stroud did a Time Warp back to May 3, 1970, on his Rock and Roil Roots Show on WDRV FM, the Drive, in Chicago. This is where he plays the top songs in Chicago on that date. Lots of memories, plus, I was thinking about what I was doing back then. I tried to remember whether or not Kent State had happened.

I was a freshman at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb and pledging Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. The campus had been tense all fall and winter over the Vietnam War. Then, a few days earlier, President Nixon had announced that we had gone into Cambodia, which just made thye situation worse.

We, and most college campuses, had marches to protest the US deepening involvement. On the foll lowing day, a protest at Kent State University in Ohio resulted in four troops being killed by National Guard troops.

We students felt that was a direct attack on us, and the previously peaceful protests got continually more violent after that.

It came to a head at Northern a few days later and we had some very frightening riots.

A Scary Time. --Cooter

Sunday, May 3, 2009

May Happenings in World War II

Again, using the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor 2009 calendar.

The May poster features a painting of Dorie Miller who received a Navy Cross at Pearly Harbor May 27, 1942 with the words "above and beyond the call of duty".

The inset picture was of the Japanese aircraft carrier Shoho under attack by US Navy carrier aircraft in the late morning of 7 May 1942. Photographed from a USS Lexington (CV-2) plane. There is also a map detailing the Battle of Coral Sea.

Dates from May:

May 4, 5 and 6, 1942-- Battle of Coral Sea
May 6, 1942-- Americans surrender in he Philippines.
May 8, 1942-- Japan suffers its first defeat of the war at he Battle of the Coral Sea.
May 8, 1945-- Victory in Europe Day.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bits O' History: Bodie Island Lighthouse-- Moline RR Depot-- South Jersey World War II Trail

Some New News About Some Old Stuff.

1. BODIE ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE-- On North Carolina's Outer Banks, built in 1872, is in bad shape. It is north of Oregon Inlet. The Coast Guard gave it to the National Park Service in 2000. Three million dollars has been allocated to its restoration. Work will begin in August and is expected to last 18 months.

2. MOLINE RR DEPOT-- Has been placed on Illinois' Ten Most Endangered Historic Places list. It is over 100 years old and is in the way of an I-74 ramp. Hopefully they will be able to move it. I've seen a picture of it and it is impressive.

3. SOUTH JERSEY WORLD WAR II TRAIL-- Hey, and you can include a beach trip as well. The war on the often overlooked home front.

* Cape May World War II lookout tower
* Camden-- Battleship USS New Jersey
* Millville Army Airfield Museum
* Wildwood-- Naval Air Station Hangar No. 1 Museum

Now, You Know. --Cooter

Friday, May 1, 2009

World War II Calendar

I have a calendar for 2009 from the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, very fitting since this blog is probably 80% on that war.

Each month features a World War II poster, a picture, and events of the war.

April's poster was of two airmen with the words, "Under the shadow of their wings our land shall dwell secure."

The insert photo was of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, Crew No. 6: Lt. Dean E. Hallmark, pilot; Lt. Robert J. Meder, copilot; Lt. Chase J. Neilsen, navigator; Sgt. William J. Dieter, bombardier; and Sgt. Donald E. Fitzmaurice, flight engineer/gunner.

April 18, 1942, was the date of the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo.

Other April World War dates:

April 1, 1945-- US invades Okinawa.
April 9, 1942-- US forces on Bataan surrender unconditionally to the Japanese.
April 10, 1942-- Bataan Death March begins.
April 12, 1945-- President Roosevelt dies and is succeeded by Harry S. Truman.

A Very Nice Calendar Indeed. --Cooter

Dead Page-- New Orleans Guitarist and Singer


Rhythm and blues singer and guitarist, famous in New Orleans and admired by rock artists such as Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, and Bonnie Raitt. died February 18th at age 72.

He was known for picking strings with his thumbnail and played with many of New Orleans' biggest stars.

He was blind since childbirth and a self-taught musician, learning to play the guitar while listening to the radio.

One of his best-known songs is the Latin "Funky Malaguena. He could play with almost anyone and has appeared on may of the classic New Orleans recordings over the last fifty years.

I have two of his CDs and a cassette: "Teasin' You," "Soul's Edge," and "baby, You Can Get Your Gun!" Few know him, but he was major. Tom Marker, on Chicago WXRT's Bluesbreakers, played a cut from an album where only 1000 copies were pressed.

This was one talented man. I'm listening to "Teasin' You" and "Dizzy Miss Lizzie" right now from his "Teasin' You" album.

Associated Press by Stacey Plaisance.