Saturday, January 30, 2010

Answers to Yesterday's Quiz on "Groundhog Day"

I saw the "Awakening of the Groundhog" at the historical Woodstock Opera House, built around 1900 as city hall. This served as the Pennsylvanian House in the movie.

I then went to the Groundhog Day Dinner Dance/Bachelor Auction at the Moose Lodge. This is where the dance and auction took place in the movie.

Today, I watch the movie in the Woodstock Theatre which was the Alpine Theatre in the movie where Phil did his Clint Eastwood thing. Then its over to the Opera House for the annual chili cook off, the walking tour of movie sites, and a symposium on the movie back at the Opera House.

Answers from yesterday's quiz. I missed one.

1. a
2. a
3. a
4. b
5. c
6. a
7. a
8. b
9. d
10. d

Sure Love This Movie. --Cooter

Friday, January 29, 2010

"Groundhog Day" Movie Quiz-- Part 2

6. The director of "Groundhog Day" also directed "Caddyshack" and "National Lampoon's Vacation. Who is he?

a) Harold Raimis, b) Rob Reiner, c) Christopher Guest, d) Ivan Reitman.

7. Phil tries many things to keep the old man from dying. Which of these does Phil NOT do?

a) prescribe medicine, b) feed him soup, c) take him to a hospital, d) administer CPR.

8. Brian Doyle-Murray plays Buster, one of the groundhog's handlers. Of the following movies starring his brother Bill, which one does Brian NOT appear in?

a) Scrooged, b) What About Bob?, c) Razor's Edge, d) Caddyshack.

9. To what Ray Charles classic do Phil and Rita dance in the gazebo during his courtship with her?

a) Mess Around, b) I Got a Woman, c) Hit the Road, Jack, d) You Don't Know Me.

10. During his "Nice Phil" phase, which one of these heroic acts does he NOT perform?

a) saving a choking diner, b) catch a falling child, c) change a flat tire, d) stop a bank robbery.

Answers and Ratings Tomorrow. --DaCoot

"Groundhog Day" Quiz-- Part 1

Taking you back to that great 1992 movie "Groundhog Day."

I got this from St. Louis which would be a better place to take it since it also has pictures and you immediately learn if you have it right or not.

I case you can't get it, here's the ten questions of the quiz.

1. What song is playing every morning when Phil Connors wakes up at the bed and breakfast in Punxsutawney?

a) I Got You Babe, b) Tie a Yellow Ribbon, c) Spinning Wheel, d) Black Magic Woman.

2. What time is it on the clock radio when the alarm goes off every morning?

a) 6:00, b) 5:00, c) 6:30, d) 5:30.

3. Which of these talents does Phil NOT acquire while trying to impress Rita?

a) oil painting, b) piano playing, c) ice sculpture, d) speaking French.

4. Phil runs into an old high school classmate, Ned Ryerson, who recognizes him and starts a conversation. What business is Ned in?

a) a) shoe salesman, b) insurance salesman, c) used car salesman, d) vitamin salesman.

5. Phil tries to kill himself several times attempting to stop the continuous loop of Groundhog Days. Which of the following did he NOT use to attempt suicide?

a) jumping off a building, b) electrocution, c) suffocation, d) driving off a cliff.

Last Five Up Next. --Cooter

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Those Old Arcade Games

Christopher Borrelli also had a brief guide of where you could still play some of the "ancient arcade favorites-- in their upright coin-op form, as God intended." These are all in Illinois. He didn't include any of the Pac-Man variations (Ms Pac-Man) or Galaga. However, he cautions that you should call before driving out to play.

PAC-MAN-- released 1980-- play at Nickel City in Northbrook

DONKEY KONG-- released 1981. Italian plumber jumps barrels. Star Worlds Arcade in Dekalb.

DIG DUG-- released 1982. Inflate monsters until they burst. Repeat. Game Works in Schaumburg.

CENTIPEDE-- released 1980. Think Space Invaders with bugs. Dave & Buster's in Chicago.

ASTEROIDS-- Released 1979. Landmark black and white shooter. Pretty tough. Replay in Niles.

What, no Space Invaders???

Of these, I liked Space Invaders and Asteroids the best. Guess I was into the Outer Space attacks.

Gotta Quarter? --Coot

Goodbye Arcades

From June 5, 2008, Chicago Tribune. "Get your Frogger fix fast. The game room is down to its last quarter" by Christopher Borrelli.

I never was a big fan of them because of lack of reflexes and quarters, but just one more of the old things passing away from us with all this new technology. And that is arcades. It used to be that every town had one and definitely all tourist spots.

You'd walk by and find lots and lots of young folks hard at work spending their quarters. But those days are on their way out.

Gameland in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, closed in the fall of 2008. The building still sits empty today, but something appears to be going on inside.

It's machines, some dating back to 1982 will go silent. The place opened way back in 1944, the games will be auctioned off, a victim of XBox, old machines, big electric bills, and an overwhelming lack of youthful interest.

The manager said most visitors in the last years were older folks looking to reconnect with a memory.

There are still a few places remaining with the arcades, but these too will be going the way of the mom and pop or even the bigger record stores, a victim of the times.

Always Missing the Old Days. --DaCoot

The Digit: Significant Numbers from the Last Decade

I have really been enjoying this two-page spread of things from the past decade in the December 27, 2009, Chicago Tribune. Brought back some memories.

2000-- 537-- the number of votes by which George W. Bush won the Florida election and the presidency. And whose brother was governor?

2001-- 15-- Age, in years, of the Mir space station before it came back to Earth.
Sky Lab, Sky Lab!!

2002-- 10-- The death toll of the Washington, DC snipers. Really bad guys.

2003-- 38.8 million-- the number of Hispanics living in the US, making them the largest minority group. Wonder who got mad about this? And, were those legal, or illegal, or both.

2004-- 86-- the number of years between World Series wins for the Boston Red Sox. What are the Cubs at now?

2005-- 26-- years that Pope John Paul II served. It was sad to see him at the end.

2006-- $1.65 billion-- what Google paid for YouTube. And worth every cent?

2007-- 1st-- female Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, D-Ca. Third-in-line.

2008-- 777.68-- the record number of points the Dow fell September 28th. Greedy, greedy stock boys and girls.

2009-- $787 billion-- the amount of the stimulus package. I can't even count that high.

I'm Thinking of a Number. --Cooter

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


From Dec. 27, 2009 Chicago Tribune.

These were things introduced to us this last decade.

2000-- Toyota Prius
2001-- IPOD
2002-- American Idol
2003-- camera phones
2004-- Facebook
2005-- YouTube
2006-- Nintendo WII
2007-- IPhone
2008-- Speedo LZR Racer
2009-- Windows 7

That cuts it!! I am at least a decade behind as I've never used any of these.

Where's That Old Typewriter and Turnatable? --Cooter

You May have Forgotten These Folk

People whose names were really in the news at times during this past decade.

These folks had their 15 minutes of fame and some even more.

2000-- RICHARD HATCH: $1 million winner of
Survivor Season 1" Spent much of decade in prison for failing to pay taxes.

2001-- BARRY BONDS-- Spent the decade breaking records and battling steroid allegations. Hit MLB record 73 home runs in 2001 and in 2007, broke Hank Aaron's career homer mark.

2002-- JOHN WALKER LINDH-- American caught fighting for the Taliban in Afgahanistan. Serving twenty years in federal prison.

2003-- JESSICA LYNCH-- American soldier captured in Iraq and retrieved in a highly publicized rescue mission.

2004-- KEN JENNINGS-- "Jeopardy" quiz show contestant who had a 74-episode win streak, earning $2,520,700. Hope he paid his taxes, right Richard.

2005-- TERRI SCHLAVO-- Brain-damaged Florida woman who became focus of a moral and legal "Right-to-Die" issue.

2006-- SHILOH NOUVEL JOLUIE-PITT-- First-born child of Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Media attention was unbelievable.

2007-- LISA NOVAK-- US astronaut who drove from Houston to Orlando to kidnap a woman she believed to be a rival for a co-worker.

2008-- JOE THE PLUMBER-- McCain campaign symbol for middle-class Americans.

2009-- JOE WILSON-- Shouted "You lie" at President Obama while he addressed a joint session of Congress.

From the Dec. 27, 2009, Chicago Tribune.

What, no Blago or SC Governor? --Cooter

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Time's Person of the Year-- 2000s

December 27, 2009 Chicago Trubune.

2000 George W. Bush
2001 Rudy Giullani
2002 The Whistle-Blowers: Cynthia Cooper, World Com; Coleen Rowley, FBI; Sherron Watkins, Enron.

2003 The American Soldier
2004 George W. Bush
2005 Bill and Melinda Gates, Bono

2006 You (What, me?)
2007 Vladimir Putin
2008 Barack Obama
2009 Ben Bernanke

I Vote for Me for Person of the Decade. I retired and am still paying boucoup taxes. Cooter

Monday, January 25, 2010

Japanese Condemned for Centaur Attack

From the Jan. 24th Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. What is amazing about this is that this is the first US print media mention of the Centaur that I have seen. I have a Centaur alert out, so stories about it come to me.

About time someone in the US picks up on the story.

On January 21st Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd officially condemned Japan for the sinking of the Centaur. At the same time, he denied the report that he had been advised to avoid public comment on the subject for fear it would hurt relations with Japan.

Japan still maintains that the circumstances of the sinking are not clear. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has refused to respond directly.

An Apology is in Order. --Cooter

Marshall, Texas Pearl Harbor Survivor-- Part 4

Continued from Jan. 5th.

"When there was a lull in the bombing, a truck came along with a sound system announcing it was taking all sailors aboard. The Utah sailors went to the USS Vestal."

Once there, he James Clark was dispatched to the infirmary. "The officer looked at me and asked if I was alright. I said I was and he said 'Okay, get cleaned up.' I had oil on my face."

At the infirmary, Clark said "they were breaking out the machine guns. They asked me if I knew anything about them and when I said I did, they put me to work..

"We had two assembly lines going. We put the guns together and carried them out and put them on trucks to use for defense purposes."

For the first time in his story, Clark paused, his face reddening and his voice breaking. "Oh boy" he said, "this gets touchy for me. When we were setting up the guns there were civilians there\---Japanese and all\---asking , 'What can I do? What can I do?'" These were Japanese civilians.

Clark said he had bitterness toward the Japanese for many years, but he is now touched by the fact that those on Pearl Harbor that day were eager to arm themselves and fight against their own countrymen.

"That struck me\--the way they wanted to fight back. But we all wanted to do something. We wanted to get at 'em."

You usually don't get this much information from a newspaper account of a Pearl Harbor survivor, so I am writing it verbatim from the story which appeared in the Dec. 6, 2008, Marshall, Texas News Messenger.

More to Come. --Cooter

Dead Page: Chi-Lite


Singer with the Chi-Lites

Teamed with singers from a rival Chicago doo-wop group to form the Chi_lites and had the great 70s hits "Oh Girl" and "Have You Seen Her."

Died Jan. 21 in Chicago at age 67. Was born in Mississippi, but family moved to Chicago. Got the name "Squirrel" because of love of climbing trees.

Got into singing while attending Hyde Park High School where he met others and eventually formed a group called the Hi-Lites, but found another group already had the name so added a "C" to reflect their home city.

They had 11 top twenty R&B songs as well as those two great songs.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Young Anglers Last Saw the Centaur

The December 23, 2009 Chronicle that on May 14, 1943, Kevin Watkins, 76, saw the distinct lights of the AHS Centaur as he was fishing off South Stradbroke Island with his brother and father.

"We saw a boat going north towards Brisbane and it was all lit up. We made remarks at the time because it was war-time and the ships should usually be blacked out. So we figured it must have been a neutral ship or a hospital ship."

Later, they noticed a bright flash over the water. The next day, they found a crate of oranges washed up on the shore and now are sure it was from the Centaur. They ate their fill.

Perhaps these were the last ones to see the ship before it was torpedoes.

A Sad Event in Australia's History. Cooter

A Look Back at the Aughts-- Part 2

It's the economy, stupid


Scars us to today, but as an economic even, seems to have faded. Hurt the travel industry, sent markets reeling and caused a downturn. But nothing compared to today's debacle.


Largest corporate scandal ever and took down Chicago-based Arthur Anderson. It brought down the retirement funds of employees who put their stock in Enron stock.

It is too bad these folks still have most of the money they stole and only two were punished.


Chicago futures traders have lost the loud trading pits which defined it. That has been supplanted with computers. The Chicago Mercantile bought the Chicago Boart of Trade.

Not Finished Yet. --DaCoot

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Best Chicago Games of the Last Decade

The December 29, 2009, Chicago Tribune ran a list of most striking games involving Chicago teams from 2000 to 2009.

OCTOBER. 14, 2003-- The "Bartman" incident. Cub fans need to get over it. Bartman did mot beat the Cubs. The Cubs beat the Cubs.

MARCH 25, 2005-- the Illinois comeback vs. Arizona, getting the team into the Final Four. We saw it at the Bennigan's in Champaign, Illinois, and all food stopped that last ten minutes, but NOT the drinks. Good party that night.

OCTOBER 7, 2005-- Orlando "El Duque" pitches the Sox into the ALCS. Beginning the finest time-ever to be a Sox Fan.

OCTOBER 13, 2005-- A. J. Pierzynski's play vs. the Angels ALCS #5. Heads up playing.

OCTOBER 23, 2005-- Paul Konerko's grand slam and Scott Posednick's walk-off home run to put Sox up 2-0 in World Series. At this point, however, I have to wonder why the game that clinched the World Series was not included.

OCTOBER 16, 2006-- Monday Night Miracle when Bears defeat Arizona and set off Green tirade. Also have to wonder why the Bears appearance in the Super Bowl February 4, 2007 not listed.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2008-- Carlos Zambrano's no-hitter vs. Houston

APRIL 30, 2009-- Bulls beat Celtics in triple overtime to tie the first round playoff series 3-3.

MAY 11, 2009-- Hawks win series vs. the Canucks to get to Western Division play offs.

JULY 23, 2009-- Sox Mark Buehrle's PERFECT GAME!! We were out boating with friends and had to stay at a bar the last three innings until the other team got a hit even though some serious storms were entering the area. We got drenched on the way back, but it was worth it.

Some Great Sports Memories. --Cooter

What's So Great About the "Good Old Days?"

Looking back to 1909:

19% of homes had a bath tub
8% had telephones
8,000 cars on 144 miles of paved roads
Maximum speed limit in most cities 10 mph
Tallest structure in the world the Eiffel Tower
Average wage 22 cents an hour
Average worker earned $200-$400 a year
90% of doctors had no college degree
No Mother's or Father's Day
Only 6% of Americans had a high school diploma

This Was Either Good or Bad. I Don't Know. --Cooter

Friday, January 22, 2010

Chicao Moments of the 2000s

From December 27, 2009, Chicago Tribune

2000-- Jan. 31-- Gov. George Ryan announces a moratorium on the death penalty. Criminals across Illinois breathe a sigh of relief.

2001-- Jan. 18-- The Rev. Jesse Jackson admits that he had an extramarital affair and fathered a child. You'd think a reverend would know better.

2002-- Enron scandal brings down Chicago-based Arthur Anderson accounting firm. When you lie with such, don't be surprised.

2003-- June 29-- Porch collapse in Lincoln Park kills 13. At least it got Chicago to begin looking at all those aging porches and stairs.

2004-- July 16-- Millennium Park opens (wasn't it supposed to open in 2000?)

2005-- October 26-- Chicago White Sox win World Series. Any Cub fans remember the last time their team did?

2006-- April 17-- Ex- Gov. Ryan convicted of public corruption. Give me the money.

2007-- Feb. 4-- Bears reach Super Bowl but lose to Indianapolis Colts. Can anybody say Gross Rexman.

2008-- Nov. 4-- Obama elected president, claims victory at Grant Park Rally. Still waiting for all this "change."

2009-- Oct. 2-- Chicago loses Olympic bid. Bet some insiders miss that money.

When Was the Governor Who Wouldn't Live in Springfield Arrested? --RoadDog

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Centaur: Australia in World War II-- Part 1

From the December 22, 2009, Australian.

Darwin was really getting a dose of war starting in 1941. Darwin was bombed in February 1942 and three months later, a Japanese mini submarine fired torpedoes in Sydney Harbor.

Brisbane had remained out of the action except for the notorious Battle of Brisbane in late 1942 between American and Australian troops.

Then, came the Centaur.

The survivors were taken to Greenslope Hospital in Brisbane.

Until now, both the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast have both claimed the Centaur was sunk closest to them. At Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast there is a Centaur Memorial. Also, there is a RSL Centaur Memorial retirement Community and in the RSL foyer, a model of the ship. At the southern end of the Gold Coast, there is another Centaur Memorial at Point Danger.

RSL stands for Retuened and Services League and is a support organization in Australia for servicemen. It started after combining other organizations in 1965. Probably like our Veterans Administration.

And the Story Continues. --Cooter

"Snowflake Man's" Photos For Sale

From the Jan. 21st Daily Herald (Chicago suburbs).

Some photos taken by he Vermont farmer who is often called "Snowflake Man" or "Snowflake" Bentley, a pioneering 19th century photographer who took over 5,000 pictures of individual snowflakes will be for sale for the next four days.

He became famous for his observation and experimentation to take the picture of a single flake on a camera. This is called photomicrography where in 1885, he rigged a microscope with a bellows camera.

Today, 26 of his images, ten of them of snowflakes, are going on sale at the four-day American Antiques Show at the American Folk Art Museum in New York.

His real name was Wilson Bentley, 1865 to 1931. In 1931, he published a book called "Snow Crystals" which had 2,500 snowflake pictures.

I'd like to have one, but the $4,800 price on each snowflake picture is a bit out of budget.

Is There We Came up With the Old "No Two Snowflakes Alike" Adage? --Cooter

Top Movies of 2009: Gone to the Kids

I sure saw a lot of movies this last year, about 58 I think. I just wish my local theaters, Fox Lake, Round Lake Beach and McHenry would get more of the ones nominated for Academy Awards which are usually excellent, but not prone to wide-spread public appeal, unfortunately.

From the December 20, 2009 Chicago Tribune page of the Top Tens of 2009.

According to Box Office Sales thru Nov. 30th. ** means I saw it.

Most all of these are ones directed at kids and teenagers. That is unfortunate, but the studios have found a cash cow, one they'll not soon leave.


8. ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS-- $197 MILLION-- wanted to see it though.

5. STAR TREK-- $258 MILLION-- ** Saw it twice, but second time for free.

4. THE HANGOVER-- $277 MILLION-- wanted to see it, though.
3. UP-- $293 MILLION


Also, I see an awful lot of follow-ups in this list. Parents must be going broke taking their kids and sending their teens to the movies.

There should be more screens devoted to more adult (and I'm not talking porn) movies. Hey, "It's Complicated" was a welcome breath of air.

More Old Folks Movies, Please!! --DaCoot

A Look Back at the Aughts-- Part 1

Or is it the Oh-Ohs, or Uh-Ohs?

These would be the Uh-Ohs.

Jan. 1, 2010, Chicago Sun-Times "Dot-bombs give way to real estate, jobs implosion" by David Roeder.

"Volatile Decade (Quite an understatement): What began with Y2k hysteria ends in 2009 with consumers worried about paychecks and mortgages."

Mr. Roeder gave his list of top ten stories of that decade.

10. AUTO INDUSTRY ROLLOVER: The Big Three couldn't build SUVs fast enough, then expensive gas hit. GM and Chrysler bankrupt, assembly line jobs gone, dealers gone. Well, there was that "Cash for Clunkers" deal.

I'm still mad about the billions we gave to GM to keep them from going bankrupt, and they still went bankrupt. Who got that money? Probably top execs. Better if the $30 billion given to consumers to buy GM cars. "Cash for Clunkers" sure didn't help me.

9. THE BANK GETS BOUGHT: One bank buy another bank buy another bank buy another bank. Then let's be really "stoopid" in our investments.

Way too many criminals running our investment banks that should be held more accountable and not getting lavish bonuses for the "good" jobs they're getting. Hey, even dumb old me could lose billions, AND, I'd work for a lot less and wouldn't expect those bonuses. And, I don't have a Harvard degree.

More to Come. --Cooter

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Was the Centaur Carrying Weapons?

From the December 22, 2009, Australian.

One theory has been given that the Centaur torpedoing was that the Japanese had received intelligence that the ship was carrying armaments for soldiers at Papua New Guinea.

Workers at the dock did load a supply of guns and ammunition. However, under the Geneva Convention, hospital ships could carry weapons for personal protection. Reports said that 52 rifles and 200 rounds of ammunition were aboard.

These, however, would be located inside and will not be photographed.

The Plot Thickens. --Cooter

S. S. Emidio Memorial, California

The December 30, 2009, Crescent City (CA) Daily Triplicate.

On December 5th, the St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society hosted the American Merchant Marine Veterans Association and raised the American Merchant Marine emblem at the SS. Emidio Memorial.

Since 2007, the Society has been working for improvements on the historical marker at the site, hull restoration for the ship and interpretive panels. This is a part of the hull of the merchant ship SS Emidio which was shelled and torpedoed off Cape Mendocino south of Eureka on December 20, 1941, by the Japanese submarine I-17 which hit the ship with five shells.

The crew abandoned the ship, but it remained afloat and drifted into Crescent City harbor before running aground. It lay have submerged for ten years before being sold for salvage, but a section of the bow was saved and turned into a memorial for the five men on board who died.

Always good to see the US Merchant Marine get some recognition for their brave service during World War II. It still amazes me that they are not accorded the same benefits and recognition as the other armed services.

Without their actions, we could not have won the war.

A Salute to the Merchant Marine!! --Cooter

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

AHS Centaur Survivor's Account

From April 17, 2009 Yahoo 7 News.

Only three of the 64 survivors of this tragedy still are alive. Martin Pash, 87, is one of them.

"I was the last one out of the quarters and I got sucked back into the ship's hull. We tried to get the life boats away and couldn't get them away. I left and I said, 'grab something safe until the ship's gone under' and I left and went up to grab the rail on the side of the ship, and before I had the chance to do it, the suction took me down number one hatch. And with the lights on the red crosses illuminating the water, I found my way out of there."

Over the years, there have been a number of false findings of the wreck, but o confirmations.

Richard Jones lost an uncle. Jan Thomas lost her father, a doctor.

A sad Story That Shouldn't Have Happened.

Bits O' History: "Groundhog Day" House

Some New News About Old Stuff.

1. "GROUNDHOG DAY" HOUSE-- Work continues on the century-old Victorian house in Woodstock, Illinois, that was featured in the 1993 movie "Groundhog Day" which starred Bill Murray as a nasty-spirited weather man. This is the Bed and Breakfast he stayed at and looked out the window at Madison Street every morning. The home's exterior was used a lot, but all interior shots were done in a sound studio.

Everton Martin and wife Karla Stewart-Martin have bought the house and are making improvements to change the house into a bed and breakfast. They hope to be open for tours during Groundhog Day week and have the first guests by May 2010.

The house was built by Judge Charles Barnes in 1894, and is located at 344 Fremont Street.

From Dec. 6, 2009, Northwest Herald.

Definitely on my list of go-to places.

2. MAN, THAT'S SMOOTH-- Would you spend $36,935 for a bottle of hooch? The Dec. 9, 2009, Chicago Tribune didn't say who bought it, but the Paris landmark restaurant Tour d"Argent put it for sale along 18,000 other bottles at auction. Proceeds go to a French charity that grants the wishes of ailing children.

This bottle of cognac dates back to 1788, right after American independence. Wonder if it's any good.

3. MIGHTY "MO" BACK-- The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports that the USS Missouri is back at its mooring spot off Ford's Island in Pearl Harbor after a 12-week, $18 million refurbishing. It had been temporarily moved Jan. 9th to be part of a major motion picture called "Battleship." The wreck of the USS Arizona and USS Missouri form perfect bookends for the US involvement in World War II, the beginning (for us) and end. A very nice video of the dry dock filling with water.

Now, You Know. --Cooter

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Emotional Photograph" at Centaur Wreck

January 11th UPI.

The Centaur's plaque is now in place. But by far, the most striking photograph is of the slouch hat next to the wreck, sitting there in perfect shape after all those years.

It is a typical army hat that was worn by Australian Army units during the war. These would have been worn by the officers and 192 men in the 2/12 Australian Field Hospital Unit which was on board the Centaur when it sank.

According to Ron Rees, "It is a very emotional photograph."

I've seen it. It is.

Out of the Depths. The Human Side of the Tragedy. --Cooter

Killer Sub in Pearl Harbor-- Part 1

Back on January 5th, I posted about a Public Television special on new discoveries involving a midget submarine at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. I watched the show and it was an example of historical research at its best.

For years, we have known that there were actually five Japanese midget submarines that set out to participate in the attack that day. We had found four, but not the fifth.

Now, it is believed that not only did the fifth sub get in the harbor, but that it also fired its torpedoes.

Hundreds of mini subs were built by Japan during and before the war. One survives and is on display at the Japanese naval Academy.

Of the five subs are Pearl Harbor:

#1 was destroyed by the USS Ward.

#2 entered, but missed target and was sunk by two US ships.

#3 ran aground on the east shore of Oahu. It is now on display at a Naval Museum in Texas.

#4 lost at sea and found in 1960. This is the one on display at the Japan Naval Academy.

The big question was and remained, what happened to the fifth?

More to Come. --Cooter

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Centaur Plaque in Place

Jan. 13, 2010 Gold Coast.

The Centaur Plaque dedication took place at 12:45 pm, Jan. 12th, about 7 hours after the Remora 3 submarine robot had laid it on the bow of the ship in what could be the last-ever dive on the vessel. The plaque has the names of the crew and messages from family encrypted on a CD embedded in it.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett (one-time front man for the rock group Midnight Oil) approved a special permit to allow the dive, otherwise, it would have been prohibited under the Historic Shipwreck Act of 1976.

From what was seen, there can be no doubt that the Japanese submarine commander knew that he was firing at a hospital ship. Of the 332 aboard the Centaur, only ten would need to be awake, so the rest were probably asleep when the torpedo struck. Everyone forward was probably killed instantly. Those that got off were showered with burning drops of oil.

The ceremony consisted of a prayer, a moment of silence and a memorial wreath, weighted-down to sink, was placed in the water.

A memorial for relatives and survivors is planned.

A Final Visit. --Cooter

Dead Page: Served Aboad Cruisers and Battled Town Hall


Wrote the book "Battle of Honor" about his World War II service aboard the cruisers USS Savanna and USS Saint Paul.

He also battled the town of Westport to replace a missing World War II monument that was pictured on the front cover of a 1943 Saturday Evening Post. (A WWII monument erected during the war, I doubt that there were many of them.)

He dropped out of high school after Pearl Harbor and joined the Navy at age 17. He was assigned to the light cruiser USS Savanna which participated in North Africa and European operations. It was hit by a 3400 pound bomb September 11, 1943 and suffered 200 casualties.

Mr. Keeham survived and was transferred to the USS Saint Paul operating in the Pacific. This ship fired the last salvo of the war at mainland Japan He was in his dress blues on the Saint Paul in the bay when Japan signed the surrender.

The "Honor Roll" monument was missing, but replaced by Mr. Keeham's efforts.

From Jan. 4, 2010 Westport (Ct)

The Greatest Generation

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Centaur's Finder-- David Mearns

From the Jan. 9, 2010, Age.

David Mearns is a marine biologist/geologist born in the United states who has been hunting for lost shipwrecks for the past two decades. Among his fifty discoveries have been the Portuguese ship Esmeralda, sunk in 1503 and the Rio Grande found at the depth of 5762 meters.

According to him, finding the Centaur ranks just below his finding of the HMAS Sydney.

The Remora 3 submarine will come within a meter of the Centaur but will not penetrate. Over a period of days, it it expected to find that the lump on the botton they are looking at is actually the Centaur. It took 5 and a half hours to find it.

As for the future, Mr. Mearns won't say, but it is commonly believed that it will be the wreck of Antarctica explorer Ernest Shackleton't Endurance which sank there in 1915.

Move over Mr. Ballard. It looks like there is a new guy in town.

These sunken wrecks are of particular interest to me because at one time I seriously considered doing this line of work for a career before I became a teacher.

Hey, Mr. Mearns, do you need help. Just pay my costs and you've got you man.

Well, Here's Hoping. --Cooter

Dead Page: Swamp Rock-- R&B Singer


One of the founders of the music called Swamp Rock in the southern Louisiana area, died January 14, 2010. Singer-song writer who wrote "Walking to New Orleans" for Fats Domino, "See You Later Alligator" for Bill Haley, and "(I Don't Know Why I Love You) But I Do" for Clarence "Frogman" Henry. He also played on the Band's Last Waltz concert. He has an album scheduled for release in February with long-time friend Dr. John.


Died Jan. 13, 2010. Sang lead with harold melvin & the Blue Notes on "If You Don't Know me By Now" and had solo hits with "Closethe Door," "It Don't Hurt Now" and "Love T.K.O.."

He was injured in a car crash 28 years ago and confined to a wheelchair.

Dead Page: Treeman/WW II Vet/Ace Hardware


During the 1930s, Mr. Lesica worked with the Civilian Conservation Corps and Michigan Department of Forestry planting trees. In the 1980s, he was involved in destroying trees to save Wolf Road Prairie because "trees are the enemy of prairies but that didn't make it any easier for him to do," according to his son Peter.

He died January 4, 2010, at age 94. He was born and raised in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, one of eight children in a logging town. He lived through the Depression and enlisted in the Army in 1941, where he joined the Quartermasters Corps, serving at various posts around the United States before his discharge as a captain in 1946.

he later became a wholesale buyer for Ace Hardware.

A Man Who Lived Through a Lot. The Greatest Generation.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

AHS Centaur

TEARS FLOW FROM CENTAUR SURVIVOR-- Herald-Sun. Survivor Martin Pash, 87, is still haunted by memories of the night. "I still have memories. You never forget." He is excited and relieved to view the images. "This brings back too many memories." he is a retired truck driver.

CLEAR VIDEO FOOTAGE CONFIRMS CENTAUR'S WATERY GRAVE-- It was a six-hour mission. The submarine robot found three distinct features: the red cross, blue star on the bow and ID #47. The Remora submarine had problems, but spent an hour filming the wreck.

EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER-- The January 11th Brisbane Times reports that Jan Thomas is on an emotional roller coaster and was numb on the first glimpse of the Centaur. her father Captain Bernard Hindmarsh died on the Centaur. he was a doctor.

Two memorials are in the planning stages. One will be in Brisbane and the other will be for families and will be over the wreck.

TECHNICAL PROBLEMS-- The dives had problems. There were two unsuccessful attempts. The first was an oil pressure leak on the submarine. The second occurred when the Seahorse Spirit's engine room developed an oil leak. These were solved, but limited dive time on the wreck.

They are unsure of when the plaque might be placed. Mearns says the soft clay seabed might swallow it.

A Great Find. Congratulations Australia. --Cooter

Definitely the Centaur

Film and photos reveal three objects that absolutely prove the wreck is that of the Centaur.

One of the huge red crosses can be seen on the port side, plus there is the Blue Star Line star on the bow and the id number 47. This is definitely the vessel in question.

David Mearns describes this as a very bad wreck with the destruction evident.

Probably the hardest-to-take picture is of the slouch hat resting upon the ocean floor close to the wreck. This is the type of hat that would have been worn by officers and men of the ambulance group.

I saw a videos and 48 photos of the wreck at one news site. One photo showed the steward's hatch where survivor Martin Pash escaped. That had to be particularly rough on him as one of the three survivors still living.

The funnel was ripped off.

A Revealing Find. --Cooter

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Japan Should Apologoze for the Centaur Incident

The January 10, 2010, Gold Coast News ran an editorial that Japan should issue a formal apology to Australia and the families of the victims of the Centaur.

Almost 40,000 Australians were killed in World War II. The Japanese government denied it was at fault immediately after the sinking and continued to do so for 36 years until 1977 when it admitted that their I-177 submarine had torpedoed it.

The submarines commander, Lt. Commander Hajime Nakagawa was sentenced at the Nagasaki War Trials to six years hard labor after pleading guilty to machine gunning survivors of a British merchant ship he had sunk in the Indian Ocean.

he never faced trial for the Centaur as it was feared that no definitive case could be made against him. Now, one might be made, but he died in 1991.

Japan has been slow in accepting blame for other criminal activities it committed during the war, including the sex slaves for the Army in China and Rape of Nanking.

The paper does point out that Japan is a very different country now and a valued ally and trading partner but definitely owes Australia and the families a formal apology.

It Would Be About Time. --Cooter

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Testing Equipment on the SS Kyogle

The January 9, 2010, Brisbane Times and Jan. 10, Sunshine Daily report that the day before, the wreck of the SS Kyogle was filmed as a practice before the trip out to the Centaur. It is also located near Moreton Island and at one time thought to be the Centaur until 2002.

However, it was used by the RAAF for target practice in the 1950s. David Mearns and his 33 crew members of the Seahorse Spirit found the Kyogle 17 kilometers off the Moreton Island Lighthouse and dived to squash the still-held rumor that this was the Centaur and test the equipment. In 2002, diver Trevor Jackson set a world record for wreck diving and reported it was too small to be the Centaur.

Mearns found that the two bronze propellers had been taken off the wreck and done so by the Royal Australian Air Force (bronze being quite expensive) before scuttling it. Plus, the ship was covered with shell holes and no hole the size a torpedo would make was found. Definitely the SS Kyogle.

The 702 ton Kyogle was built in 1902 in Glasgow, Scotland. It was 180 feet long and had a 30.1 foot beam. In 1934 it was reduced to a barge, then sold for scrap before the Australian government purchased it for target practice. It was sunk December 5, 1951.

A Little Practice Never Hurt Anybody. --DaCoot

Centaur Definitely Found!!

I have been off line for a few days, but am happy to report that the AHS Centaur has been found without a doubt. I have viewed video and photos of the wreck.

That is great news. I will be going back and catching up with the story.

From the Past, A Heartbreak id Found. --Cooter

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Journalist Remembers Centaur Disaster

Jan. 9, 2010, Courier Mail "Journalist Merv Warren recalls grim story of the Centaur" by Tuck Thompson.

Merv Wilson, 95, currently living along the Gold Coast was working for the Brisbane Telegraph back in 1943 and was assigned to cover the sinking of the Centaur.

He had been working at the Allied headquarters and knew that shipping convoys from Brisbane and north Queensland had become dangerous because of the military buildup. he later learned a ship had been torpedoed, but it was kept secret.

Headquarters and General Douglas MacArthur wanted "maximum publicity" after the Centaur was sunk because hospital ships were protected under international law. He was assigned the story and went to the hospital where the survivors were taken along with a photographer.

"Their accounts of life-and-death disaster made big headlines and were given columns of space in the thin papers of war time--(telling of) a huge explosion that startled them out of their slumber, burning oil gushing everywhere, the sudden knowledge that water was rushing in and in no time the ship was gone."

He has written a book on his war time experiences and describes the courage of the 64 survivors waiting in the water for rescue 35 hours, terrorized by circling sharks and a resurfacing submarine. They hoped for a quick rescue, but planes flew overhead without seeing them. "They comforted each other, swapped yarns, prayed and sang hymns."

The first stories of the sinking were not in the press until May 18th, four days afterwards because of censorship.

The Greatest Generation.

World War II Hero of New York Harbor Dies

SEYMOUR WITTEK, 83 died Dec. 30, 2009. As a member of the Coat Guard, he helped battle the flames from a fire that threatened New York Harbor with a cataclysmic explosion during World War II.

This is another little-known occurrence in America's home front.

During World War II, Coast Guardsmen stationed in the New York City area were derisively called "Subway Sailors" because they would ride that conveyance during off hours for dates and Times Square.

On April 24, 1943, seaman Wittek was in his barracks awaiting a pass to visit his fiancee Anne Cooperman in Brooklyn. Meanwhile, ammunition and bombs bound for Europe was being loaded at Caven Point Pier in New Jersey. A fire broke out in the Panamanian freighter El Estero and there was an explosion. Two other ammunition ships were alongside as well as a line of railroad cars carrying munitions.

If these all blew, the same would happen to the huge fuel tanks at Bayonne, New Jersey and Staten Island. This would be a catastrophic damage and casualties.


A call for volunteers to fight the fire went out an 60 guardsmen along with Mr. Wittek immediately rushed to the pier. New York City fire boats fought the blaze until finally tugboats were able to tow the El Estero to the middle of the harbor while the Coast Guard men remained on board battling the blaze.

They were told to leave and, according to Wittek, "There was a picket boat. I went down a ladder and one of my friends said to me, 'Seymour, take my wallet. If anything happens, at least they will know I was there.'"

After four more hours, the weight of the water directed at the ship, finally sank it.

He married Ms. Cooperman seven weeks later.

Senior officers were awarded medals, but none to the enlisted men. Unfortunately, the disaster was soon mostly forgotten.

The Greatest Generation. --Cooter

Jan. 3, 2010, New York Times.

Friday, January 8, 2010

AHS Centaur

Before the Centaur was a hospital ship, it was a cattle tramp/passenger/cargo ship running along the west Australian coast and Java and Singapore after being launched in 1924.

In 1938, under the command of Captain Murray, it answered a distress call from the Japanese Kyo Maru and rescued the ship. Five years later, that same Captain Murray died when the Centaur was torpedoed.

The Centaur picked up survivors of the German raider Kormoran after its fight with the HMAS Sydney in 1941. German Captain Detmers used flares to attract attention. Injured were brought aboard, but the rest were towed. When that boat capsized, two boats were lowered and the survivors transferred to Camarvan. Captain Murray did not want to place well-trained German sailors on board his ship since it had a civilian crew.

With the outbreak of fighting in New Guinea, the Centaur Charon and Gorgon were pressed into service mostly carrying military supplies. As casualties mounted, the need for a shallower-draft vessel became apparent and the Centaur was converted in Melbourne in January 1943 with the capacity to carry 280 cot cases.

It made one voyage from Port Moresby, returning with wounded Australian and American soldiers as well as injured Japanese POWs.

It was sunk on the second voyage.

From the 2/3 AHS Centaur Association.

A Fine Thank You. --Cooter

Dead Page: Inventors End in 2009

Jan. 3, 2010, Chicago Tribune "Inventors End, not products" by Kevin Pang.

These inventors died in 2009.

JOHN HOUGHTALLING, 92-- MAGIC FINGERS VIBRATING BED-- attached a mechanical vibrator to a bed's box springs and created a devise synonymous with budget motels across America. Drop a quarter in and begin your 15 minute ride.

DAVE ARNESON, 61-- DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS-- working as a security guard in early 1970s when he and gaming buddy Gary Gygax developed the rules for the game now pursued by 20 million. Gygax died in 2008.

LES PAUL, 94-- SOLID-BODY ELECTRIC GUITAR-- also popularized overdubbing and delay effects. His invention of the solid-party electric guitar gave it its signature sound.

RENE SOMMER, 58-- COMPUTER MOUSE-- In 1985, computer engineer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology added a microchip to a rough device and the mouse was born. This was probably one of the biggest reasons for the computer's success. I know I have problems when stuck with a touch pad.

ROBERT RINES, 87-- HINGED CHOPSTICKS AND OTHER STUFF-- a patent lawyer and Loch Ness monster enthusiast, had more than 800 patents including gear that improved radar and sonar resolutions in Patriot missiles. However, the hinged chopsticks made it easy to eat Chinese food for us chopstick challenged folks.

Gone, But Their Inventions Won't Be Forgotten. --Cooter

AHS Centaur

Jan. 8, 2010 Courier Mail

Sydney resident Karen Schuler said her uncle John Frederick Schuler of Victoria vanished in World War II, leaving behind a wife and two sons. he just very well might have been on the AHS Centaur.

She has researched the military archives and found a hand-written "Schuler" on the margin of a list of the 270 victims on the ship.

The second phase of the search began today as the Seahorse Spirit returns to the site of the wreck to positively identify it, take still photographs, video and place a plaque. They expect this to take five days.

Mrs, Schuler's sister said she had been told that he had died in a torpedo attack on a ship, but had been given no other details.

Was He on the Centaur or Not? We'll never Know for Sure. --Cooter

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2/3 AHS Centaur Association

An organization has been formed called the 2/3 AHS Centaur Association to "provide a forum and a means of communication for anyone whose life has been affected by the sinking of the Hospital Ship Centaur on 14th May 1943, and for any person or organization with a common interest in the Centaur."

It has 300 members and the plaque mentioned in the previous entry is theirs.

They have an excellent website at:

Check it Out. --Cooter

AHS Centaur

Jan. 4, 2010, Courier Mail.

Plans call for a plaque to be placed by the wreck of the Centaur bearing messages on an enscripted CD from relatives, descendants and friends. There will also be the names of the ship's personnel, home state or country and branch of service.

This Thursday or Friday, David Mearns will begin the second phase of the expedition where a radio-controlled camera will transmit the first pictures of the ship in 66 years. The interior of the ship will not be probed, however.

It was discovered December 20, 2009, 50 kilometers off the southern tip of Moreton Island and has been declared a war grave where 268 non-combatants died May 1943.

The Queensland and federal governments paid $4 million for the expedition.

A ceremony is planned for the ship.

Long Overdue Recognition. --Cooter

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Preparing for the Centaur Dive and Memorial Service

As far as I know, I am the only person in the United States covering the story. That is unfortunate as this is a major human interest piece.

From January 6, 2010, Courier Mail.

DIVE-- a joy-stick controlled submersible robot with crab-like arms arrived in Brisbane and will shortly circle the Centaur taking pictures of the ship and its debris field and transmitting them.

Using the arms, a commemorative plaque will be placed on the ship.

Problems are expected from the swift currents eddying around the vessel and it is hoped that an expensive piece of sonar equipment that was lost will be found and recovered.

MEMORIAL SERVICE-- Members of the 2/3 AHS Centaur Association have met with the Queensland government to discuss plans for services.

Two large ceremonies are planned, but no dates have been announced yet.

Looking Forward to the Images. --Cooter

AHS Centaur

SHIPWRECK HUNTER DAVID MEARNS confirms that the wreck is that of the Centaur. At 3:30 AM, the wreck was discovered and another pass was made to confirm it. It is lying in a gully at 2059 meters deep about 30 miles east of Moreton Island and in one piece.

The Centaur's navigator had recorded the final position of the ship before it went down. Courier Mail December 20, 2009.

NURSES-- The Queensland Nurses Union said that there were eleven nurses who lost their lives in the attack. This will honor them and they will be remembered.

MILITARY GRAVESITE-- The Centaur and the area around it has been declared a military gravesite and there is an exclusive zone around it, preventing all but authorized from entering it.

Families of Centaur Crew

From the December 20, 2009 Courier Mail.

Families of Centaur crew members were interviewed after the discovery of the wreck.

KEITH CLEGG-- son of Percy Clegg, a medical theatre technician from Warwick, who died.

HELEN MILNE-- daughter of survivor Dick Medcalf who died two years ago and didn't speak about it until the 1990s. "It was haunting him all his life."

BARRY McCOSKER-- son and nephew of two survivors. His father Vince was a20-year-old ambulance driver who was on the deck when the torpedo hit and thrown into the water where he clung to wreckage until picked up by a destroyer a day and a half later.

Another survivor became his uncle when that man introduced Vince to Dorothy, his mother.

After the war, his father organized memorials for the Centaur, but was frustrated by lack of government support.

MAX CHAPMAN-- son of victim who was born two months after his father Earnest's death at age 29. He says this comes six years too late for his mother Elaine who died in 2003. her ashes would have been spread on the site "to put mum with my father."

Better Late Than Never, However. --Cooter

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Marshall, Texas, Pearl Harbor Survivor-- Part 3: Clark Sees a Mini Sub-- Part 3

Now, this next part gets very interesting in light of tonight's Nova program discussed in an earlier entry today.

Clark saw a Japanese mini submarine and that must have been the one that was found.

From the bathhouse where we last left our erstwhile survivor, James W. Clark recalled seeing "a two-man Japanese submarine close by and coming into the harbor. It released a torpedo at one of our ships which was anchored in the harbor. I was expecting a big explosion but the torpedo barely missed the ship and went up and hit the beach.

"One of our destroyers was coming out of the harbor and ran over the sub. Just as it cleared the sub, it dropped two depth charges. There were two big water spouts and I never saw any more of the sub."

Perhaps this was the last anybody has ever seen of that submarine until tonight's show?

A Nice Tie-In to the TV Show. --DaCoot

Marshall, Texas, Pearl Harbor Survivor-- Part 2

Continuing with yesterday's story by James W. Clark from December 6, 2008.

"I had one stairway to get up to the main deck. The sailors in the stairway weren't moving. I was concerned that something bad was going to happen, and shortly, someone began yelling to clear the stairway. I got up to the main deck and figured I had about 70 feet to go to be in the open.

"I started running to get out in the open, but the gangway equipment was breaking loose from the side of the ship. I had to jump up and grab a beam so it could fall under my feet.

"Then the water pushed me up under the overhead. I estimated I had between 20 to 25 feet to swim (underwater) to get in the clear. I swam and I swam. I just kept swimming until I couldn't hold my breath anymore.

"When I came up, I was in the clear, but I had black crude oil in my eyes and on my face. It's hard to wipe crude out of your eyes with saltwater.

"A liberty boat had just returned from the beach and they started picking up sailors who were in the water. I got in the boat, and I was put on the beach.

"There was a big ditch there and they told us to get in it. I did, but I realized that, if an enemy plane saw all those sailors, it would be easy strafing. There was a bathhouse close by/-near the channel which came into Pearl Harbor/ and we got in it."

Dead Page: That Pez Dispenser


Holocaust Survivor, Put the Head on the Pez

Died December 15, 2009 in Olympia, Washington and was the man who put the colorful heads on the Pez dispenser. He figured that it was not just the candy, but the container that it came in that would attract customers.

He was vice president of US operations for what is now the Pez Candy Company. In 1955, he urged the company to put character heads on the top of the already cigarette-like dispensers the company was using. It was an immediate hit and today a highly collectible and sought after item, a real major player in e-Bay.

Today, Pez Candy sells tens of thousands of them in 80 countries.

Mr. Allina was born in Prague in 1922, but grew up in Vienna. His family which was Jewish, was held in concentration camps from 1941 to 1945 and he was the sole survivor. He moved to New York City and joined Pez-Haas in 1953. Pez was invented in 1927 by Edward Haas IV.

I Love My Pez. --Cooter

Japanese Killer Sub in Pearl Harbor

Tonight on PBS' Nova, the show "Killer Subs at Pearl Harbor" will be shown and I'm definitely tuned in. This review is by Stephen James Snyder in the January 4, 2010, Techland.

Using CSI techniques, an underwater investigation will take us right back to December 7, 1941.

Five Japanese midget submarines: two-man Type A Subs 6 feet wide and 890 feet long capable of top speeds of 19 knots, double that of American submarines at the time, took part in that famous attack. Four of the five failed to reach their destinations and had since been found. The fifth was not detected until recently when it was found in the harbor's debris field.

Interviews were made by men at the battle who saw torpedoes hitting the USS Arizona and a newly declassified aerial photo shows a mini sub participating in the attack.


While researching about the submarine, they found out some information on a little known ammunition accident and explosion that destroyed six crowded LSTs and killed 200 sailors while the Navy was preparing for the invasion of Saipan.

This incident was immediately covered up because of the need for secrecy. I know nothing of this incident so look forward to learning about it.

I'll be reporting on this tomorrow.

Doing Some Investigative Work. --Cooter

Monday, January 4, 2010

Marshall, Texas, Pearl Harbor Survivor-- Part 1

December 6, 2008 Marshall (Tx) News Messenger.

James W. Clark joined the Navy out of high school in 1937 to see the world. He trained in San Diego and was assigned to the USS Utah which had served in the Atlantic in World War I and had been extensively modernized in 1925 before being converted into a radio-controlled target ship in 1931. It later became an anti-aircraft training ship.

In May 1940, the US Pacific fleet was transferred to Pearl Harbor. On December 7, 1941, the USS Utah was on the west side of Ford Island with the light cruisers Raleigh and Detroit. "About 8 o'clock I was looking out a porthole on the starboard side of the ship to see what the weather was like. I was on the baseball team and we were going to play that day."

"I saw a plane coming toward us. I knew it was Japanese because I saw the insignia on the wing. So I yelled to my shipmates and they all rushed over so they could see it."

"Just then an aerial bomb hit the port side of the Utah and a second or so later, we received another hit. About that time, my gunnery officer came by and got me and another sailor to go down below deck with him to check out the water tight doors.

"There was a river of water coming down the port passageway and the ship began to list 35 degrees to port. So my officer said, 'We'd better get out of here."

To Be Continued. --Cooter

HMAS Sydney

Nov. 25, 2008 West Australian.

The National Archives of Australia is providing online information about the sinking of the HMAS Sydney, many of the items were once highly classified.

For twelve days after the ship was sunk the government maintained the strictest security on the story with very little released to the public. The formal announcement wasn't made until December 1, 1941.

This two week delay caused rumors and conspiracy reports that continue to this day.

You can view pictures at http://www.//

And the Story Continues. --DaCoot

Happenings Five Decades Ago

Jan. 1, 2010 Chicago Tribune

A few Chicagoland happenings from 1960.

FEBRUARY 29th-- On Leap Day, the first Playboy Club opens at 116 E. walnut St.

MAY 1st-- The "exploding scoreboard" debuts at Comiskey Park, setting off a tradition of fireworks for Sox home runs that continues to this day. By the way, the Sox still play in Comiskey as far as I'm concerned.

MAY 2nd-- After 36 years of farm news, country music and "The National Barn Dance," WLS-AM 890 changes format to rock and roll. First song was the Hollywood Argyles' "Alley Oop." My favorite of the Big Two stations I grew up with. The other was WCFL.

JULY 25-28-- The Republican national Convention in Chicago nominate Richard Nixon for president and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., for vp.

NOVEMBER 5th-- The Northwest Expressway opens, three days before the election. Three years later, its name would be changed to the John F. Kennedy Expressway, or JFK.

NOVEMBER 8th-- Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy elected president over Nixon. Many consider this victory due to vote fraud engineered by Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley and his Democratic Machine. No word, however on red-light detectors, parking meters or senatorships for sale.

WLS News On the Hour. Switch to WCFL for Five Minutes (they had theirs 5 Minutes to the Hour). --Cooter

Saturday, January 2, 2010

History's Ten Worst Mass Killings

The November 11, 2009, List Universe had a list of the ten worst Mass Killings.

10. Trans-Atlantic Chattel Slavery-- millions dead 1502-1888.

9. March of the Conquistadors-- millions of Latin American Indians 1492-1616.

8. American Westward Expansion-- American Indians 1607-1912.

7. Australian Treatment of Aborigines-- Australia's native people 1829-1975

6. Slaughter of the Armenians-- 1 to 1 and a half million April 24, 1915 to 1917.

5. Japanese Rape of China-- 20-35 million 1937-1945.

4. Nazi Killing Machine-- 1933-1945.

3. The Killing Fields-- 1.4 to 2.5 million 1975-1979

2. Hutu Slaughter of Tutsis in Rwanda-- 800,000-1 million may to July 1994.

1. Legalized Abortion-- 1973 to present.

Making a Statement. --DaCoot

Best Chicago Teams of the Decade

I may not be a fan of Chicago with its exorbitant prices, but I am a fan of the athletic teams.

The December 31, 2009, Chicago Tribune had a list of best Chicago teams.

2003 CUBS

It was Dusty Baker with Kerry Woods and Mark Prior before their "hurt" days. Da Bartman.


New coach Bruce Weber took team to Illinois' first regular season Big Ten title since 1952. There was that great win against Arizona and then a heartbreaking 75-70 loss against North Carolina in the NCAA Championship game.


The team that went all the way. Paul Konerko, Mark Buehrle, Joe Crede, A. J. Pierzynski, Jermaine Dye and Manager Ozzie Guillen. Almost blew a big season league, but got hot at the right time, winning the last five regular season games and then going 11-1 in the playoffs.

Too bad they never won the clinching games at home, though.

2006 BEARS

All the way to Super Bowl XLI against the Colts. Too bad we didn't have a quarterback. Even a so-so one would have won the day. Lovey should have put Ortman in.


Five time NCAA Champions!!

Occasionally Chicago Sports Has a Winner. --Cooter

Getting Toward 1000 Entries

One thousand blog entries is a lot, and this blog is in target to pass that mark at some point in the next three months.

There were 55 entries last month and 489 for the year. In 2008 there were 389 and a whopping 17 the first year in 2007.

According to the blog page there have been 897 entries.

What started out as a general history blog has definitely become one mostly devoted to World War II and especially Pearl Harbor, the home front, as well as the sinkings of the HMAS Sydney and Australian Hospital Ship Centaur.

I also deal a lot with history in my other three blogs. is about my life and music history. is about the Civil War, primarily the naval part of it. is about old roads, travel and preservation.

Spending Way Too Much Time on This. --RoadDog

Cleopatra Rises Again

Dec. 18, 2009 Chicago Tribune "Pylon from Cleopatra's reign resurfaces." Katarina Kratovac.

A nine ton temple pylon was hoisted from the Mediterranean Sea off Alexandria, Egypt, Dec. 17th. It had been part of Cleopatra's palace and had been submerged for centuries.

This is especially of interest to me because this past June I was on a cruise ship in that harbor. Who knows, perhaps we were directly above that temple.

It once stood at the entrance of a temple of Isis and is to be the centerpiece of a planned museum showcasing the remains of ancient Alexandria which is believed to have tumbled into the sea by 4th century earthquakes.

The pylon is 7.4 feet tall and was a part of a sprawling palace from the Ptolemaic dynasty and where Queen Cleopatra wooed Roman General Marc Antony before they both committed suicide after they were defeated by Julius Caesar in 30 BC.

The Deadly Asp. --Cooter

Friday, January 1, 2010

AHS Centaur

Lots of news about the discovery of the wreck of the Australian Hospital Ship Centaur.

Gold Coast News, December 21, 2009.

Gold Coast doctor Ross Evans says he won't believe it's the centaur until he sees actual pictures as he believes it wasn't as far off shore as Mearns found it. He believes it to be in the trawling area as based on what one trawler man had found.

Courier Post, December 20, 2009.

Martin Pash, 87, one of the three remaining Centaur survivors heard about the discovery on his car radio in Melbourne.

He spent 36 hours in the ocean after the torpedoing after being sucked down into a hatch while the ship was sinking , but fought his way to the surface. On May 14, 1943, he was a 20-year-old merchant seaman. He said many were killed outright by the explosion and others drowned.

He discounts rumors that the ship was carrying ammunition.

The other two survivors won't talk about their experience.

The Greatest Generation.