Saturday, December 31, 2011

Here Comes a New Blog

Starting tomorrow, all World War II entries will be on the new blog at

This one will not have as many entries and will cover all things to do with history other than World War II and the Civil War (two blogs).

I have actually learned a lot about how to set up my blogs this last week.

Like those folks at the bar in the picture, we will be joining friends at Donovan's Reef later tonight to toast in the New Year, listen to some music, and play some NTN.

A Happy New Years to You!! --DaCoot

Eleven Facts About the End of World War I-- Part 4

Continued from Dec. 17th entry.

3. LAST MAN KILLED-- History generally lists a German officer, Lt. Tomas as the final German casualty. he was killed after the 11th hour by an American unit that apparently not received word.

Last British: George Edwin Ellison, killed at 9:30 am.
Last French: Augustin Trebuchon, killed 10:15 am.
Last Canadian: George Lawrence Price, killed 10:58 am.
Last man killed before Armistice took place, American Henry Gunther at 10:59 am.

2. STAB IN THE BACK-- Most Germans believed that the Treaty of Versailles was not because of the German Army losing, but that they were betrayed by German civilian leadership. This helped Hitler's rise to power.

1. PROPHETIC PREDICTION-- AEF Commander General Pershing and Allied Commander Foch of France were unhappy about the Armistice and the Treaty of Versailles.

Pershing thought it was a mistake to stop fighting without Germany being defeated and predicted that the Allies would be fighting Germany again.

After the treaty, Foch said, "This isn't peace. It's a cease-fire for twenty years."

Twenty years later, France and Britain declared war on Germany again.

How'd He Know? --Cooter

Friday, December 30, 2011

Notable Deaths, 2011-- Part 2

FERLIN HUSKIY-- country singer. I love my country music.

DR. JACK KEVORKIAN-- right-to-die advocate. There comes a time to say enough is enough.

JERRY LIEBER-- songwriter who worked with Mike Stoller. Did these two ever write some great music.

HARRY MORGAN-- actor in "Dragnet" and ""M*A*S*H"-- Good old Col. Potter, Mildred, Zane Gray and his horse.

PINETOP PERKINS-- another old bluesman

ANDY ROONEY-- "60 Minutes" commentator who invented the word "crotchety."

BUBBA SMITH-- former football star and actor on "Police Academy" movies

AMY WINEHOUSE-- singer bringing back that 60s soul music.

DICK WINTERS-- World War II commander whose story was told in "Band of Brothers"-- The Greatest Generation

Gone But Not Forgotten. --DaCoot

Notable Deaths, 2011-- Part 1

From the Dec. 25, 2011, Chicago Tribune.

These are just a few they had on the list. I wrote about some on my Dead Page label.

These are ones that had some impact on my life.

JAMES ARNESS-- star of "Gunsmoke"-- "What's going on here?"

NICK ASHFORD-- of singer/songwriter with Ashford & Simpson-- good music.

FRANK BUCKLES-- last American veteran of World War I. I had a lot of entries on him. My two grandfathers were in that war.

CLARENCE CLEMONS-- saxophonist with Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. Could this guy blow a sax.

JEFF CONAWAY-- actor in "Taxi."

DAVID "HONEYBOY" EDWARDS-- blues musician. I love my blues unless they jam.

PETER FALK-- Star of "Colombo"-- "Just one more thing."

More to Come. --Cooter

Thursday, December 29, 2011

In North Carolina 'Cue Is a Cultural Thing, Even War

I'm from North Carolina originally and am a big fan of that eastern Carolina-style barbecue and will swear up and down that it is the best, but in actuality, must admit that I've never met a non-hot 'cue I didn't like.

From the July 3, 2011, Chicago Tribune "The war between the tastes in BBQ" by Kevin Pang. Notice the nice play in the Civil War's War Between the States?

"What's more, there exists a culture war in North Carolina, a divide as vast as the state is wide. In the eastern North Carolina style, the hog is smoked whole. meat from all parts of the pig, including crispy bits of rind, is chopped into a hash of pork textures. The sauce has a base of vinegar and peppers.

In the Piedmont version (also called western) ketchup and sugar is added to make it a sweet-sour taste. Also, instead of the whole hog, the shoulder is the favored cut.

The squabbling between eastern and western continues today.

Then, Kevin goes eating at 'cue places.

Of course, my own personal favorite place to eat 'cue is Wilber's in Goldsboro.

Let's have Some More Carolina-Style Barbecue. --Cooter

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Latest Word on Words

From the Nov. 4, 2011, Chicago Tribune by Heidi Stevens.

The new American Heritage Dictionary is out and they have added 10,000 entries after eight full-time editors, several dozen expert consultants and 200 usage experts worked roughly eleven years.

One new word is uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (let's see spell check do that one). Another is cargo pants. Also, hoodie for you fashionistas.

Also, Sphagettification: the extreme elongation or stretching of an object by tidal forces as it falls toward an extremely massive and compact astronomical body, such as a black star or neutron star. OK.


tramp stamp

Flexitarian-- One who normally maintains a vegetarian diet but occasionally makes exceptions and eats meat or fish.

Some definitions have been altered, like marriage which now is the legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife and in some jurisdictions, between two persons of the same sex, usually entailing legal obligations of each person to the other.

There will be a sixth edition, but in what form it is not yet known. The fifth is in a printed form.

By the way, that word earlier, Spellcheck has no suggestions. Cowards.

A Word Is a Word is a Word. --Cooter

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ten Things You Might Not know About December Holidays-- Part 3

8. KISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE took on a Chicago bent when, in 1975, the first mayor Daley, responding to criticism that he gave city business to a company employing his son, said, "There's a mistletoe hanging from my coattail."

9. NATIVITY SCENE St. Francis of Assisi is credited with making the Nativity scene part of Christmas. In 1223, he organized a live one to emphasize Jesus' humble beginnings.

10. "THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS" was written by Clement Clarke Moore, or was it? It was first published as "A Visit From St. Nicholas" and perhaps the author really was Henry Livingston of Poughkeepsie, NY. Moore didn't claim ownership until 1844, 19 years after it appeared anonymously in a Troy, NY, newspaper. By 1844, Livingston was dead.

Before claiming authorship, Moore had written the Troy newspaper asking if anyone remembered the poem's author. They didn't know.

Again, thanks to Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer.

That Mayor Daley Sure Had a Way With Words. --Cooter

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ten Things You Might Not Know About December Holidays-- Part 2

4. KWANZAA-- Observed Dec. 26th through Jan. 1st. A non-religious day to celebrate black culture.

5. TAD LINCOLN-- President Abraham Lincoln's youngest son, Thomas, nicknamed Tad. Christmas 1864, at age ten, he went out and invited some street urchins into White House for a meal. The cooks refused and his Dad overturned their veto.

6. DECLINING TRADITIONS-- Use of tinsel and fake snow falling off. Already declared dead are aluminum trees.

Hey, liz and I still use tinsel on the tree. It's sure easier than putting on or getting off those icicle strips.

7. WHAT IN THE WORLD IS BOXING DAY-- No one knows when or how it got name. But in many British countries it is the day after Christmas. In Canada, it has become something akin to "Black Friday" in the US. The "Box" in the day's name may refer to the Anglican Church opening donation bins to the poor the day after Christmas.

I thought it might be for the fighting matches between my brother and myself after we had had all those days off school together. Either that, or the day you box up what you don't want and take it back to get what you really want.

No Bah Humbug Here. --RoadDog

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Ten Things You Might Not Know About December Holidays-- Part 1

From the Dec. 18th Chicago Tribune by Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer, Looker-Uppers Par Supremo.

1. POINSETTIA-- The Aztecs knew it as cuetlaxochitl. It's current name comes from the first US envoy to Mexico, Joel R. Poinsett, who liked it and sent a few north to the US in the 1820s.

I have to have my poinsettia for Christmas. I kept my one from three years ago and it bloomed last year!! never had that happen before.

2. HANUKKAH-- based on the Jewish calendar and is a wandering holiday. This year, it started at sunset Dec. 20th. In 2016, it begins on Christmas Eve. In 2013, it's Thanksgiving Eve.

3. RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER-- Was born in 1939 when Montgomery Ward department store (remember Monkey Wards?) assigned copywriter Robert May to compose a Christmas poem to distribute to customers worldwide. He wrote "Rollo the Red-Nosed Reindeer" but execs didn't like it. Considered Reginald, too, before settling on Rudolph.

"Rollo the Red-Nosed Reindeer Had a Very Shiny Nose." --DaCoot

Ten Significant Events Falling on December 25th

From the Dec. 24th Listverse. Go to site for pictures and more information. I'm just listin'.

10. First Christmas 325
9. England Adopts Modern Calendar
8. Charlemagne Crowned 800
7. William the Conqueror Crowned 1066
6. Christmas Flood Disaster 1717

5. Washington Crossing the Delaware 1776
4. The Christmas Truce 1914
3. Surrender of Hong Kong 1941
2. Longest battery Powered Car Trip Ended 1985
1. Unsolved JonBenet Ramsey Murder 1995

Of Interest. --Cooter

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ten Fascinating Facts About Christmas-- Part 2

5. CHRISTMAS CRACKERS-- In the UK, not US. I had never heard of them. Perhaps Christmas cookies.

4. CHRISTMAS TREE-- Supposed from Martin Luther but trees first mentioned in 7th Century AD.

3. X-MAS-- Christians consider it disrespectful, but the letter"X" is also the Greek letter chi, the first letter in Christ's name in Greek. So it's ok to use it.

2. SANTA CLAUS-- Based on St. Nicholas, born around 270 AD in Petra, Turkey. His modern image probably based on 1823 poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" or better known as "The Night Before Christmas." Cartoonist Thomas Nast's figure from the Civil War is also the image.

1. CANDY CANES-- In the late 1880s, an Indiana candymaker wanted to find a way to express the meaning of Christmas in a symbol made of candy.

The white stands for purity, three small stripes (? I don't recall this.) for the pain he suffered on the cross and the Holy Trinity, the red stripe for his blood. The hook at the top is a shepherd's hook and Jesus is the shepherd of men. If you turn it upside down, it makes the letter "J" for you know who.

Boy, I hate the taste of them. Yuck.

So, Now You Know. --DaCoot

Ten Fascinating Facts About Christmas-- Part 1

From the Dec. 23, 2010, Listverse.

Of course, they have pictures and more information.

10. THE DATE-- Not a big thing with early Christians. The first evidence of the date was around 200 AD and was May 20th. In the 380s, Rome began celebrating it on Dec. 25th.

9. NATIVITY SCENE-- The scene and idea was invented by Saint Francis in the 13th century.

8. GIFTS-- Surprisingly, this is not a modern tradition. It came from the Romans who exchanged gifts on New Years Day. The exchange of gifts was originally shunned by the church.

7. BANNED-- An Act of Parliament in England in 1644 banned observance. It was to be a day of fast and market. groups like the Puritans condemned it, considering it a Catholic tradition.

6. MISCONCEPTIONS-- The Nativity did not happen and was based on the pagan sun god Mithras.

More to Come. --DaCoot

The Dec. 7, 1941, Bears-Cardinals Football Game-- Part 2

Wallace Rosenbaum now lives in Evanston, remembers the game and season well ( a real Bears fan), "If the Bears won, they would play in the (division) championship game against the Packers. It was a very close game."

The Bears won it all that year, beating the Cardinals, the Packers to win the Western Division and then destroying the New York Giants 37-9 in the NFL Title Game.

But fans at Comiskey were not told of the Japanese attack during the game.

He and his friends first learned about it as they left and came across newsboys hawking extras outside the gates.

The new hit home because his father was in the military, but none of them knew where Pearl Harbor or Hawaii was.

With his parents permission, he enlisted in the Army at age 17 and served in the Pacific Theater.

One Little Slice of History. --Cooter

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Dec. 7, 1941, Bears-Cardinals Football Game-- Part 1

From the Dec. 11th Chicago Tribune "Flashback Update: Bears-Cardinals game went on as U.S. went to war."

After the Dec. 5th Flashback article, the Tribune writers were not able to find out how the fans attending the Dec. 7, 1941, football game between the two Chicago teams found out about the attack on Pearl Harbor.

There was nothing in the Tribune from those days to say.

But reader Wallace Rosenbaum was at the game and let them know.

He was nearly 15 that day and living on Chicago's West Side. he went to the game with four buddies, all with free tickets from the Chicago Times. And that's considering this was a big rivalry game since both teams were from Chicago (the Cardinals later moved to St. Louis and are in Atizona now).

"We took three street cars to get to Comiskey Park, said Rosenbaum. "We were sitting where they put the kids (with free tickets), way up there."

More to Come. --Cooter

HMAS Sydney: Design Flaws Led to Destruction

From the Jan. 14, 2009, Stawell (Au) Times-News.

Design flaws on the HMAS Sydney led to its destruction by making it vulnerable to shellfire from the German raider Kormoran. The lifeboats were clustered too close to the aircraft and their highly flammable fuel. Plus, when the attack started, all the senior officers were on the bridge, a major German target in the initial seconds of the battle.

The Kormoran evidently took the Sydney by surprise and were able to fire with pinpoint accuracy, immediately knocking the fore and aft turrets out of action along with the gun control tower.

Doors in some internal bulkheads were made of thin metal and plywood.

It is estimated that 70% of the crew would have been incapacitated by shells and bullets or because they were trapped below decks and overcome by smoke and fumes.

The court on inquiry was being held because there were no survivors of the Sydney's crew.

A Horrible Day in Australian History.

The Cape Fear River in History

The first mention of Cape Fear, North Carolina rook place over 400years ago by Governor John White of the Roanoke Colony which later became the Lost Colony. Back then he was nearly marooned on the Frying Pan Shoals but was able to get off.

In 1524, the Cape Fear River was called Rio Jordan and continued with that name until Verrazzano came 140 years later.

After that, the name changed with each new ruler. It became the Charles River in honor of English King Charles II, but renamed the Clarendon River because of the expansion of Charleston to the south.

After North and South Carolina were split apart, it became the River of the Cape Fear in 1933, later changed to Cape Fear River.

In 1991, Robert DeNiro made a movie called "The Cape Fear."

What's in a Name. --Cooter

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Medal of Honor's 150 Years of Valor-- Part 2

In 1861, Iowa Senator James Grimes proposed a medal to honor Navy personnel for bravery. President Lincoln signed the Medal of Honor into law Dec. 21, 1861. The following summer, another bill was signed into law providing one for the Army. Recipients were the ones who "most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action and other soldier-like qualities."

Since then, some 40 million have served the country and fewer than 3,500 have received the nation's highest honor.

However, the criteria to win one has been drastically changed since the Civil War and they are very difficult to obtain.

Two living recipients received theirs this year.

During the Civil War, the Medal of Honor was the only medal awarded. Occasionally, whole unites received them. In 1897, new standards were enacted requiring eye-witness testimony.

Shortly before the US entered World War I, Gen. Nelson Miles, himself a Civil War recipient, led an inquiry into that into those who had gotten it during the Civil War and rescinded 910 of them.

More to Come.

The Medal of Honor's 150 Years of Valor-- Part 1

From the Dec. 21st Times Battlefield Blog "The Medal of Honor: 150 Years of Valor" by Nate Rawlings.

I had mentioned this medal's signing into law in my Civil War blog, but this is a really good article on its history.

After looking at the criteria for which Civil War soldiers and sailors received it compared to today's recipient, I found there was a huge discrepancy. Back then, all it took was your commanding officer's recommendation and evidently he didn't have to go into much detail. In some instances, whole units and groups received Medals of Honor.

Today, getting the Medal of Honor (MoH) is a very involves and detailed process.

This article explains a lot.

For Valor Above and Beyond.

HMAS Choules (L-100) Ready for Service

From the December 22nd Adelaide (Aus) Herald Sun "Navy's new landing ship ready for action."

The HMAS Choules arrived in Sydney from Freemantle after being commissioned by the Royal Australian Navy December 13th. The 16,000 tons ship was acquired from Britain and is named for the last World War I veteran to have seen combat, Claude Choules who died in April at the age 110 who also served in World War II.

Its 158 member crew will be joining a task force along with the HMAS Tobruk, New Zealand Navy ship Canterbury and leased vessel Windermere to conduct humanitarian and disaster relief in the Pacific Ocean.

An Honor to Mr. Choules. --Cooter

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dead Page: Philly Cheesesteak Guy

JOEY VENTO, 71 Died Aug. 23, 2011

Founder of Geno's Steaks in South Philadelphia at 9th St. and Passyunk Avenue, across from rival Pat's King of Steaks (who claim they invented the sandwich in 1933). He started the 24-hour, seven-day restaurant in 1966. He differed from the others by offering provolone cheese instead of the usual Cheez Whiz.

According to Wikipedia, he chose the name Gino's because there already was a Joe's Steak Place in Philadelphia, then changed the "i" to "e" because of a regional fast-food chain.

They serve 4,500 Philly Cheesesteaks a day.

I went to Philadelphia on a bus tour, but didn't get the opportunity to eat at either place. Next time I will. I did have several of the sandwiches, the best at a street cart by Independence Hall.

When in Philly, Ya Gotta Have a Cheesesteak, Ya Know.

Women's Land Army Has Hen Party During World War II

From the Flashback page in the National Geographic Magazine. You can see this one, I didn't get the date, at

The photo shows three women wearing overalls walking down a road from the back and each carrying two chickens under their arms.

The caption reads: "Recruits of the Women's Land Army take poultry care in stride while training in Northamptonshire, England, in 1940. During World War II "land girls" from all over Britain were asked (and eventually conscripted) to work on farms as replacements for men who had left to fight.

By 1944 around 80,000 women had been enlisted to grow the country's food. In recent years the U.K.'s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has recognized more than 34,000 former land girls for their wartime service."

I had never heard of this group before. There is a good article in Wikipedia about it. Apparently, the organization also existed during World War I.

All for the War Effort. --Cooter

'50s Fun in Harvard

Well, that would be Harvard, Illinois, and, unfortunately, this place is not open to the public.

From the Holiday 2010 McHenry County Living Magazine by Marla Gamze-Pendergrast.

Ted and Dorothy Ahrens have turned their basement into a 1950s soda fountain with all the jukeboxes, signs radios and furniture, all done to a Coca-Cola theme, you need to take you back to those "Happy Days."

Ted Ahrens this quest probably began back in 1986 when he ate at the Sugar Bowl restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois. I have eaten there as well and that is a real, authentic trip back in time, starting from the time you enter under the old sign over the sidewalk. (Also, the entertaining Choo-Choo restaurant is around the corner where your meals are delivered on a toy train. And, the original McDonald's franchise store is a couple blocks away.)

Back in the 1950s, Harvard had three soda fountains: Davidson's Drug Store, Barrett's Confectionery and Whipple's Drug Store.

The couple tracked down a 1938 liquid carbonic soda fountain in Des Monies, Iowa.

They have family gatherings there and have church groups in for a taste of nostalgia.

Looks Like a Great Place. Wish It Was Open to the Public. --Cooter

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dropping Out of College Ain't So Bad

Steve Jobs' recent death brought attention to the fact that he was a college dropout, going against the belief that if you want to make the big dough you need to graduate college.

This article was from the Aug. 26, 2011, Chicago Tribune after his resignation from Apple.

They had a list and photos of Jobs and nine others who dropped out of college and did well:

STEVE JOBS-- co-founder of Apple Inc.
BILL GATES-- co-founder of Microsoft
MARK ZUCKERBERG-- founder of Facebook
LAWRENCE ELLISON-- founder of Oracle Corp.
MICHAEL DELL-- founder of Dell Inc.

DAVID GEFFEN-- founder of Geffen Records
RALPH LAUREN-- founder of Polo Ralph Lauren
JOHN GLENN-- first American to orbit earth, US Senator
ROBERT FROST-- won four Pulitzer Prizes for poetry

After looking at the first five, my graduating college probably is why I haven't ever made all those millions in the tech world.

Dadburn College. --DaCoot

For You Biker Folks: A Short History of Harley-Davidson

From the Dec. 8th Chicago Tribune "Legend rolls on with newer looks to lure younger riders" by John D. Stoll, Kyle Peterson and Nick Zieminski.

Being a road person, I think riding around on a motorcycle would be the absolute best way to get the "feel" of the open road. Unfortunately, as much as I would like to ride one, I am deathly afraid of them, so doubt that will ever happen.

Along with the article, there was a short chronology of major events in the history of the company.

1903 William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson make the first H-D motorcyles available to public.

1904 First dealership opens in Chicago

1920 H-D is largest motorcycle manufacturer in world. Can be bought in 67 countries.

1931 H-D and Indian are only American motorcycle manufacturers left.

1945 Almost 60,000 bikes made for military use.

1953 makers of Indian motorcycles go out of business, leaving just H-D.

1977 The iconic FXS Low Rider introduced at Daytona Beach, Fla.

1987 H-D listed on New York Stock Exchange.

1998 First H-D plant outside US opens in Brazil.

V-Room, V-Room!! Little Old Scared-Cat Me. --Cooter

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ten Notable Buildings That People Hated at First

From the Oct. 22, 2010 List Universe. I'm just listing them. has photos and explanations.

10. The Washington Monument-- Washington, DC
9. The Eiffel Tower-- Paris
8. The Flatiron Building-- NYC

7. Philip Johnson's Glass House-- New Canaan, Ct.
6. Frank O. Gehry's Home-- Santa Monica, Ca
5. Neuschwanstein-Hohenschwangau Castle
4. Guggenheim Museum-- NYC

3. Pompidou Center-- Paris
2. Walker Community Library-- Minneapolis, Mn.
1. McDonald's

Well Worth Looking Up. --DaCoot

"Submarine Killer" Remembers

From the Oct. 6, 2010 Wisconsin Rapids (Wi) Tribune.

Will Lehner of Stevens Point, Wisconsin was on an honor flight along with 103 World War II veterans to Washington, DC, to view the World War II Memorial. He got his nickname in the opening moments of the war.

Just hours before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, Lehner's ship, the USS Ward spotted the cunning tower and periscope of a submarine and attacked it immediately. Lehner was an ammunition handler on one of the ship's guns and on their second shot, hit the mini sub where the cunning tower joins the hull.

Sadly, the message the Ward sent off did not reach the proper authorities until later in the morning when it was too late.

"Nobody believed the story for 60 years. They wanted proof, and that was at the bottom of the ocean," according to Lehner. Later, he joined a National Geographic-sponsored search for the submarine with Bob Ballard. Two years later, a University of Hawaii team found it.

First at Pearl Harbor. --Cooter

Hot Christmas Toys Through the Years-- Part 2

Maybe you had to go out and buy a hard-to-find toys for your child. Remember standing in lines or plotting how to get one?

1997 Palm Pilot $299
1998 Furby $35
1999 Razor Scooter $100
2000 Bratz Dolls $17
2002 Ipod $299

2003 Finding Nemo DVD $30
2006 WII $250
2007 Kindle $399
2008 Snuggie $15-- Ugghh!
2009 Zhu Zhu Pets $10

2010 IPAD $499
2011 Angry Birds Knock On Wood Board Game $35

I Don't Have Any of These, Santa Doesn't Love Me. --DaCoot

Hot Christmas Toys Through the Years-- Part 1

From the Dec. 5th Time Magazine "The Shopping-Bag Indicator" by Stephen Gandel.

From the Cabbage Patch Kids to Angry Birds.

In good times, it's electronic gadgets. In bad times, like now, it's lower-priced stuff.

Prices are from the year item sold.

1983 Cabbage Patch Kids $25
1984 Trivial Pursuit $30
1985 Pound Puppies $18
1986 Teddy Ruxpin $100
1987 Jenga $14

1988 Pictionary $28
1989 Game Boy $90
1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $10
1991 Plogs $3
1993 Power Rangers $10

1995 Beanie Babies $5
1996 Tickle Me Elmo $29

Did You Get One? I Did Get a Trivial Pursuit Game. Probably Why I Like NTN. --Cooter

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"Hawaii Five-O" Apologizes to Pearl Harbor Vets

This story was all over the news. World War II and Pearl Harbor veterans were upset that the crew of the TV series "Hawaii Five-0" continued filming while a ceremony was being held at the National Cemetery of the Pacific (Punch Bowl).

The series has apologized, "Any rudeness by our staff can only be attributed to haste to finish our work, not a lack of respect for men and women who have served and sacrificed for their country, and for that, too, we sincerely apologize to any that we offended."

The scene being filmed Dec. 7th had star Alex O'Loughlin visiting his fictional father's grave at the site. So, when you see it, you'll know a little background to the scene.

Someone Sure Used Some Poor Judgement. --Cooter

A Short History of the US Post Office

The Dec. 19th Time Magazine had an article about the problems facing the post office.

They also had a table of dates in its history:

1775 The Continental Congress appoints Benjamin Franklin the first Postmaster General.

1825 A new dead-letter office deals with undeliverable mail.

1847 An act of Congress leads to the issue of the first US postage stamp. It features George Washington.

1860 The Post office relies on the Pony Express to get mail to and from California.

1906 Baltimore becomes the first city to use an automobile to collect mail.

1925 Charles Lindbergh is hired to fly mail from St. Louis to Chicago-- just two years before his famous transatlantic flight.

1963 Zip Codes are introduced.

1986 The first in a series of massacres by Postal Service employees that would inspire the expression "going postal."

2007 The Post Office launches the "forever" stamp.

Signed, Sealed and Delivered, I'm Yours. --DaCoot

Eleven Facts About the End of World War I-- Part 3

6. continued. It is believed that the first British soldier killed in the war was Private John Parr, 4th Bn. Middlesex Regt. Killed Aug. 21, 1914, at age 20.

Last British soldier killed: Private George Ellison, 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers. Killed Nov. 11, 1918, age 25.

Also, the last empire soldier: Private George Price, 28th Bn Canadian Infantry, Saskatchewan Regt., Nov. 11, 1918, age 25.

5. NO END FOR WOUNDED-- Many who were wounded on Nov. 11th died after the 11th hour. Many more had horrible wounds to live with the rest of their lives.

4. NEGOTIATOR ASSASSINATED-- Mathias Erzberger, Germany's lead negotiator supported the war up until 1917, then was against it. A member of the new government, he supported the Treaty of Versailles which many Germans regarded as a stab in the back.

he was forced from office in 1920 and murdered in 1921.

Three More to Come. --Cooter

Friday, December 16, 2011

I Heard Tell: Japanese Thanks for the Atom Bomb-- Pacific Bomber

1. JAPANESE THANKS FOR THE ATOM BOMB-- Wednesday, a friend of mine was talking about a trip he'd made to the USS Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor. being a historian himself, he had lots of questions to ask of the tour guide.

Afterwards, the guide called my friend aside to tell him a story. A few weeks earlier, an elderly Japanese man and his family were on the tour. Afterwards, the man had called the guide aside and thanked the United States for dropping the atomic bombs.

Now this would absolutely be one of the last things you'd expect a Japanese person to say.

The man said he had been a kamikaze pilot and scheduled to fly a few days after the surrender. he then pointed to his family and said that if Japan had not surrendered, they would not be there.

2. PACIFIC BOMBER-- Earlier today, we were at Popeye's in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and had one of the best fish fries you'll find anywhere. On the way out, I stopped at a giant map of the world and saw two other gentlemen closely inspecting it and talking about the Marianas Islands and World War II.

The older one had been a tail gunner on an American bomber and had been on raids over Japanese cities. He said that the planes were actually hot from all the fires and destruction below during their bombing runs.

Plus, there was a certain smell that bombers got after missions, that they were never able to clean away.

Talk to Those World War II Vets. --Cooter

Eleven Facts About the End of World War I-- Part 2

8.. SIX MORE HOURS-- The Armistice was signed at 5 am Paris time with all fighting to end at 11 am. The Germans wanted an immediate cease fire, but Allies insisted on six to get the word out. Some units quit at the appointed time, others continued, especially some American officers who wanted a chance to get some additional glory and promotion.

Several thousand men were wounded or killed in those six hours.

7. FUTURE AMERICAN PRESIDENT-- Captain harry S, Truman kept his artillery battery firing until just minutes before 11 am. Some historians draw a straight line from that to his decision in 1945 to drop the atomic bombs.

6. BEGINNING AND END AT MONS-- The British Army started and ended the war at Mons. Some of the first British deaths occurred here in August 1914 when five divisions of the BEF (British Expeditionary Force). November 11, 1918, found British forces back here and the last Commonwealth soldier was killed here.

It's Not Over Till It's Over. --Cooter

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Eleven Facts About the End of the Great War-- Part 1

From the Feb. 14, 2010 List Universe. Photos and more extensive information available at the site.

11. German delegates were given a ten-hour scenic tour to get to the railroad car where the Armistice was to be signed. This was done so that they could see the incredible damage done to the French countryside.

10. Only one photograph of the signing is known to exist and appears too have been shot through a window.

9. The Armistice Rail Carriage and Site became a national monument. In June 1940, Hitler made the French surrender in the same car. In 1944, Hitler ordered the car destroyed to prevent a possible second German surrender in the site.

More to Come. --Cooter

Bits O' History: Japanese Graves Discovered-- Auschwitz Needs Money

Bits O' History: New News About Old Stuff.

1. JAPANESE GRAVES DISCOVERED-- Two huge graves containing the remains of 22,000 Japanese defenders killed at the Battle of Iwo Jima have been discovered. The bodies of another 12,000 are still missing.

2. AUSCHWITZ NEEDS MONEY-- Oct. 22, 2010-- An estimated 120 million pounds needed for repairs on the infamous concentration camp in southern Poland built on boggy ground.

Now, You Know.

USS Rigel (AD-13)

The Rigel was a destroyer tender built in 1918 as the SS Edgecombe and transferred to the US Navy in 1922.

In April 1941, it was redesignated as AR-11 and overhauled in Bremerton, Washington and then sailed to Pearl harbor for more repairs.

It was still there on December 7th during the attack and unarmed. It received slight damage and the crew later took part in rescue and salvage operations.

It later participated in Pacific operations for the rest of the war before decommissioning in 1946.

The Day of Infamy. --DaCoot

Wilmington World War II Aviators

From the Oct. 25, 2010 Wilmington Star-News "Group unveils WWII aviators at Hannah Block USO" by Amy Hotz.

Wilbur Jones of the Wilmington Homefront heritage Coalition has determined that 121 New Hanover County residents served as aviators during World War II, with 39 dying in action or accidents.

On Monday, the group unveiled an aviators memorial in the lobby of the old USO building.

Jones spoke of one who earned three Navy Crosses and another who was a Flying Ace after making 12 kills. Three others went on to become generals.

Of the 39 who died, one was a woman, Ann Kelley Watters of the Women's Airforce Service Pilots.

Percy Heath was a black aviator with the Tuskegee Airmen and later became a nationally-known jazz musician.

The War in North Carolina. --Cooter

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pearl Harbor Stories to Continue January 1st

I have more stories from Pearl Harbor's 70th anniversary, but will continue blogging them at the beginning of next year when I plan to launch a blog entirely devoted to World War II.

Right now, I am thinking of calling it "Tattooed On Your Soul," a quote I took from an entry earlier this month, December 8th, about Frank Curre and his Pearl Harbor memories.

Cooter's History Thing will then become one concerning any items I find of interest from any era of history. I imagine there will be 2-3 entries a week.

Someone Talk me Out of Starting Another Blog!! --DaCoot

Back Then: Getting Ready for the USS North Carolina

From the Wilmington (NC) Star-News Back Then column where they look at old stories.

JULY 7, 1961-- NC Governor Terry Sanford formally received the deed to 21 acres of land on Eagle Island after paying $30,000 to the Atlantic Coastline Railroad from the state's Battleship Fund (which, as a schoolchild, I contributed some dimes and quarters). This particular money, however came from a private donor.

This was to be where the battleship was to have its permanent berth.

AUGUST 3, 1961-- A large floating crane was removing debris and sand out of the USS North Carolina berthing site. The sand was being placed behind dikes as they were preparing a foundation for parking.

Plans called for the North Carolina to leave Bayonne, New Jersey September 6th and arrive at the Wilmington State Ports Authority docks September 13th and to its permanent berth Sept. 16th.

The "Showboat" Comes Home. --Cooter

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Keeping the Memory Alive

From the Dec. 7th Chicago Tribune.

Brothers Rick and Bob Miller's father, now deceased, was at Pearl Harbor that day. They have taken over the northern Illinois chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and are doing their part to keep it going and to promote education of the event.

They would have been proud of me because my students had lessons about it even though I didn't teach that part of history.

Three other local survivors were interviewed: Jack Barry, 92; Ed Block, 93; and Dean Garrett,91, each witnessed the attack from different vantage points.

Said Jack Barry, "I never thought about being a part of history. It was just part of my life. I want people to remember Pearl Harbor, that we screwed up. We weren't prepared and we should be prepared. Be alert."

A Day to Remember.

PHSA to Disband

From the December 7th Chicago Tribune.

Front page and a picture of Dean Garrett, of Freeport, Illinois, who was a 21-year-old surgical assistant stationed at Pearl Harbor that day. He recalled, "Bombs and bombs and bombs and bombs. Ships blowing up...the noise and the casualties. They were terrible."

The national Pearl Harbor Survivors Association (PHSA) will be dissolving January 1, 2012. After that, the local chapters that haven't already dissolved themselves, will have the responsibility to make sure the lessons from that day are not forgotten, will have to shoulder the burden.

The Navy estimates that some 3,000 Pearl Harbor survivors are still alive, with 50 in the Chicago area.

Never Forgetting.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Chicago Tribune Flashback to Dec. 8, 1941-- Part 4

Some of the things mentioned in the articles were of interest as well, especially considering the confusion.


"Cannonading offshore indicated a naval engagement in progress." there was no ship-to-ship engagements. This possibly might have been depth charges being dropped by navy ships on suspected Japanese submarines.

A Berlin broadcast said that the USS West Virginia was sunk and the USS Oklahoma on fire in an "engagement between the Japanese and the American and the British navies." Again, there was no British involvement and naval ships did not fire at each other.

A Panamanian short wave broadcast "stated a Japanese aircraft carrier had been sunk off the Hawaiian coast." Unfortunately, no.

Another article stated that an "estimated 194 soldiers were killed and 300 wounded in repeated bombing raids on Hawaii." Other attacks were made on the Philippines and island of Guam.

A Scary Time.

Chicago Tribune Flashback to Monday, Dec. 7, 1941-- Part 3

From the Dec. 4th Chicago Tribune.

THE EDITORIAL ran on page one this day "We All Have Only One Task."

The page one editorials for Dec. 8, 9 and 10 have to be understood in context. The Tribune is a Republican newspaper, so Democrats are fair game. The president was a Democrat and the Tribune's publisher, Col. Robert McCormick, was a fierce isolationist as well. he hated FDR's big government and New Deal. The Tribune and McCormick had been at war with FDR for years, but the attack necessitated a change of stance.

This one urged Americans to put differences behind them and unite for war. The Japanese were horrible for using diplomacy to mask a military attack and that all able-bodied men should go to arms.

It's War!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

USCGC Taney (WHEC-37)

From Wikipedia.

Back on December 5th, I wrote about Charles Sellentin who was aboard the USCGS Taney at Pearl Harbor. I'd never heard of it so looked it up.

The Taney has the honor to be the last ship floating that was at Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941. However, it was not at Pearl itself, but in nearby Honolulu Harbor. It is also one of the few ships to participate in both the European and Pacific Theaters. In addition, it served during the Vietnam War.

The ship was named after Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court Roger B. Taney.

The Taney was launched at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1936. It was 327 feet long, had a 41 foot beam and in 1941, had 16 officers, 5 warrant officers and 200 enlisted.

On December 7th, it was at Pier 7 in Honolulu Harbor and was only able to fire at stray aircraft.

The vessel was decommissioned in 1986 and today serves as museum ship.

The Coast Guard. --Cooter

Pearl Harbor's 70th Anniversary

From the Dec. 5th Denver Post.

Guy Piper was brushing his teeth in the barracks on Ford Island when the attack came. he also served in the Korean War.

Two survivors who died after living into their nineties will be interred on their battleship this week.

On December 6th, Navy and NPS divers will lower Lee Soucy's cremated remains into the USS Utah. he died last year in Plainview, Texas, at age 90. He will be joining some 50 who perished when the ship sank and 8 whose ashes have been interred since.

On December 7th, divers will place Vernon Olsen's ashes on the USS Arizona. he was one of the 334 who survived that day and died at Port Charlotte, Florida, in April at age 91.

A very Fitting Burial Place.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Aboard the USS Maryland That Day

From the Dec. 5th Denver Post by AP.

Clarence Pfundheller was on the USS Maryland Dec. 7, 1941, and in front of his locker when a fellow sailor yelled that Japanese planes were bombing. At first they didn't know whether to believe him, "We never did call him a liar but he could stretch the truth pretty good. But once you seen him, you knew he wasn't lying.

Mr. Pfundheller was 21 and manned a 5-inch antiaircraft gun and tried shooting at the low-flying planes. They had problems with all the thick black smoke, "This was the worst thing about it--yeah, your eyes--it bothered your throat too, because there was so much black smoke rolling around that a lot of times you could barely see."

He is now 91 and will be in Pearl Harbor for the 70th anniversary. He enlisted in the Navy in 1939.

The ammunition for the 5-inch gun was locked away. After they got it open, they fired the 3-foot long, 75 pound shells, but the enemy planes were too close to aim, "You could see them pumping their fists and laughing at you."

The crew of the Maryland scrambled when the USS Oklahoma, berthed next to it, capsized. "We had to cut the lines tied up to us because it was pulling us away."

He came back to Iowa after the war.

"What Happened That Day Is Tattooed On Your Soul": Pearl Harbor-- Part 2

"All those who could started picking them [bodies] up as soon as they could. We're going to get in the barges and help them and pick up bodies out in the water.

One of them come up and approached a young man in the water and as he approached him, the young man severely burned and everything, he said , 'Do not touch me.' He said, 'I got to touch you, I got to get you medical help." And, when he reached out to help the boy in, what he grabbed ahold of came right off in his hand just like that boy had been cooked on a stove."

There was a long pause, and Mr. Curre cleared his voice.

"I still have nightmares, never got over the nightmares and with God as my witness, I read the paper this morning. Right now, I can't tell you what I read. I can't remember it. But what happened on that day is tattooed on your soul.

"There is no way I can forget that. I wish to God I could."

Chilling Words.

"What Happened That Day Is Tatooed On Your Soul": Pearl Harbor-- Part 1

Front an interview on Story Corps. This organization goes around the US allowing people the opportunity to have a recording made of them talking about their history. The importance of this effort is nowhere more important and obvious than in this instance where a Pearl Harbor survivor gave his story and less than a month later, was dead.

We've got to get these stories down as soon as possible before they're lost forever.

Frank Curre was just out of high school and couldn't find a job anywhere because of the Depression. He decided to join the Navy, but at age 17 was too young. He told his mother that if she didn't sign the paper to allow him to join that he would go downtown and get a hobo to sign. She signed.

He went on board the USS Tennessee in August and headed for Pearl Harbor, "I never even heard of it."

On the day of the attack, he was in the mess cooking when he heard an explosion, then an instant later, another one.

"When I got up topside I saw the first God-awful sight I witnessed that day. That's when the bomb came down and hit the USS Arizona. That ship come 12 to 15 foot up into the air, broke in two and settled back down. If you had a bag of popcorn and you'd went out here in a breeze and threw it up in the air, that was bodies that went all over that harbor."

More to Come.

Real Sad and Even Sadder: Pearl Harbor Survivor Dies on the Anniversary of It

I came across an article from the Dec. 7th NPR "Veteran of Pearl Harbor Dies on Anniversary of Attack" by Bill Chappell.

Frank Curre, 88, died around noon, December 7, 2011, seventy years to the day he was under attack at Pearl Harbor after suffering from mesothelioma, a form of cancer for many years. He had given his story just last month at the Story Corps site on Veterans Day.

At this point, I am starting to realize that I had listened to his story many times trying to transcribe it as he had some quotes that really hit home. I had not yet posted his story, but will do so on the very next entry.

He had been living at the home of a daughter in Waco, Texas.

Hits Home Too Hard.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor and My Family

Earlier this morning, I called my mother about Pearl Harbor. She did not realize this was the 70th anniversary of it, although she lived through it.

Dec. 7, 1941, she was eleven years old, living in Goldsboro, NC, and remembers first hearing the news over the radio as her father was was diligently trying to unwind a mass of Christmas lights and not having much success. She still has two wreaths they put up every Christmas, but doesn't put them up anymore (she still lives in that house).

My dad was 13 and living in Mt. Olive, NC, and never served as the war ended before he was old enough. His brother, Delbert, did serve in the 101st Airborne and was at the Battle of the Bulge in the town of Bastogne where he lost most of the rest of his platoon. He came back from the war a changed man.

Liz's dad, Ambrose, was 27 and living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He later enlisted in the Army and became an officer in the ordnance department although he never served overseas. Liz's mother, Frances, was 24 and living in Abilene, Kansas. Her parents would probably never had met had it not been for the war. Her father was stationed in Kansas.

Liz says they heard about the war over the radio as well.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chicago Tribune Flashback to Monday, December 8, 1941-- Part 2

The reprint was shrunk to two/thirds the size of the 2011 page, and newspaper pages were considerably bigger in 1941 than they are today. That made the print about too small to read, at least with my old eyes.

The Tribune did highlight some of the articles and items on the page.

About the 15 more shopping days to Christmas: The major news event failed to knock the shopping reminder off the page, nor would it for the rest of the season. The countdown appeared every December throughout the war.

Where in the World about the Tribune announcing a color map of the new war zone to be printed the next day. Even before the US entry into the war, the Tribune had been full-color maps of war zones. Most Americans were very unfamiliar with names and places in the Pacific Ocean and Asia. The Tribune also ran a time zone chart.

RACIST SLUR IN THE HEADLINES: The shorthand "Japs" referring to the nation or an individual was commonly used in the Tribune until the late 1940s and occasionally into the 1950s. It was used often in headlines but not so much in the article.

According to Bill Yoshino, the Midwest Director of the Japanese American Citizens League, it was never an abbreviation and always carried a racist, derisive undertone.

War propaganda raised the usage to a new level rallying the nation and demonizing the Japanese.

Taking Us Back.

Chicago Tribune Flashback to Monday, December 8, 1941-- Part 1

From the Dec. 4th Chicago Tribune's reprint of the entire Dec. 8, 1941, front page.

Cost of paper 2 cents "Pay No More!"

Bold Headlines across whole top of page:


Underneath, also in big letters:


Other headlines with articles:

Nippon Troops Land in Malaya; Battle British

War Bulletins

Editorial: We All Have Only One Task

Raiders Blast Honolulu, Air and Naval Bases: Hint U.S. Battleship Sunk in Fight

Jap Raiders Bomb 2 Isles in Philippines

Private Planes in U.S. Grounded: Only Air Liners Will Be Permitted to Fly

Parliament Convenes Today; Expected to Declare War

Others Declare War

Congress Gets F.D.R. Message in Crisis Today: Report Fleet Acts to Contact Foe

Color Map of New War Zone

Political Cartoon: Man saluting a battle scarred Old Glory and words "At Your Service"

Also on the front page, a drawing of a woman holding Christmas packages and the words, "Only 15 shopping days until Christmas."

Enough to get You Worrying That Day.

A Pearl Harbor Survivor Remembered-- Part 2

On the USS Oklahoma, Finch Stowell became the chief fire controller and an expert on artillery.

He was sleeping below deck that fateful day. His ship was hit by three torpedoes. The loudspeaker blared "Air Raid! Air Raid! This is a real attack, real planes, real bombs."

Lights went out and men were scrambling blindly. Two more torpedoes slammed into the stricken ship and it began to list (turn) over.

Finch's widow recalls him saying, "The planes were so low, they could see the Japanese pilots waving at them just taunting them."

The Oklahoma continued to list. Stowell was outside a porthole, pulling sailors to safety, while another sailor was inside the ship pushing. Stowell remembered Petty officer 1st Class Stephen Pepe being too big to get through the porthole. The petty officer gave up and left and was never seen again.

Twelve minutes after the first torpedoes struck, te Oklahoma stopped listing with its superstructure in the harbor mud. Stowell and the others dived into the oil-covered water and were picked up by a craft. then he helped pull others out.

He was later assigned to the USS Mayford.

Just One of the Vanishing Stories. --DaCoot

A Pearl Harbor Survivor Remembered-- Part 1

And there certainly will be a lot of that as we get near tomorrow, the 70th anniversary of the "Day of Infamy."

From the Peoria (Il) Journal Star "Luciano: Pearl Harbor survivor wanted others to remember" by James Luciano.

Finch Stowell remembers the final twelve minutes of the USS Oklahoma when he and others rushed to rescue shipmates. Many died inside the ship as it capsized.

Mr. Stowell died last summer at age 91, something that is happening to more and more Pearl Harbor survivors and World War II veterans as well.

Of 60,000 survivors of the attack, only some 3,000 are alive now.

Stowell had just turned 22 four days before the attack. He had not planned on being a sailor. Raised on a farm outside Peoria, his family ad wanted him to go to college, but the Depression was on and they couldn't afford the tuition.

He couldn't find any regular job in two years after high school, so did what many did, joined the military. In Stowell's case, he enlisted in the Navy in 1939.

More to Come. --Cooter

Monday, December 5, 2011

Central Oregon's Pearl Harbor Survivors-- Part 2

Charles Sellentin was in the US Coast Guard that day on board the USS Taney in its engine room when General Quarters sounded. There had been so many drills that he figured it was just another one until someone rushed down the stairs yelling that this was no drill.

Rushing topside, he could see the Japanese planes coming in so low he could see the faces of the pilots. He went to his battle station under the bridge coordinating damage control personnel.

It usually would take the Taney four hours to get steam up, but this day that was accomplished in just one hour. It wasn't until 0400 the next morning that the captain got back on board and the ship was ordered to help the USS Ward looking for subs outside the harbor.

The Taney dropped so many depth charges on suspected targets that they had to be resupplied. Later in the war, he transferred to the USS Scott, a troopship operating in the Pacific.

Just Some More of the Stories We Will be Losing Before Long. --DaCoot

Central Oregon's Pearl Harbor Survivors-- Part 1

From KTVZ, Central Oregon's News Leader, Dec. 1st.

Two of the area's Pearl Harbor survivors, Charles Sellentin, 89, 0f LaPine and Harvey Waldron, 91, representing the US Navy and the Coast Guard are going back to the place for their first and perhaps last time along with 22 other survivors. They left this past Friday.

Each of these 24 will visit the exact spot where they were stationed on December 7, 1941. In two days we will be marking the 70th anniversary of the event as the survivors continue to grow older.

Harvey Waldron enlisted March 8, 1939 and was sent to Ford Island to serve in Utility Squadron One, a non-combat patrol group providing services to the fleet, aerial reconnaissance and passenger service. When the attack came, he was at Hangar 37.

He remembers that at 3 am, Dec. 8th, he took off in an unarmed Sikorski JRS-1 twin engine aircraft to patrol the island and look for the Japanese fleet. For the remainder of December, he served as radio operator on the plane.

Charles Sellentin Next. --Cooter

Two Days to Pearl Harbor

The Day That Will remain in Infamy will be in two days, some seventy years ago.

If I were still teaching, I imagine my students would spend this whole week studying the event. There is a Pearl Harbor survivor living in Lake County, Illinois, and I certainly would have tried to have him come out and talk. he is a living link to the event.

I would also play parts of the the "Pearl Harbor" and "Tora, Tora, Tora" movies. It is an event that should never be forgotten and it was always amazing how many of my students didn't know about it or even World War II for that matter.

Of they were in my class, they sure did.

Then, sixty years later, we were caught in another major surprise attack.

Not Forgetting.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dead Page: "When You're Out of Schlitz"

FRED FARRAN (1937-2011)

Lead Singer and Co-founder of the Arbors.

Died August 29th.

Formed the Arbors in mid-sixties with identical twin brother Ed and the brothers Tom and Scott Herrick after they graduated from the University of Michigan styling themselves after the Four Freshmen. Had hits with "Symphony for Susan" and their biggest with a remake of the Box Tops' "The Letter."

But, they were also the singers on some big commercials back then like the Jolly Green Giant ("Up in the valley of the Jolly Green Giant! Ho Ho Ho!") Virginia Slims ("You've come a long way baby, to get where you got to today!") and Schlitz Beer ("When you're out of Schlitz, you're out of beer!").

I sure remember those commercials.

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Music Festivals-- Part 3

8. Nomination for best fest name: Blistered Fingers for a bluegrass event in Maine. Nomination for worst: Kanrocksas in Kansas.

9. Milwaukee's Summerfest was nearly silenced on opening day 2006 when an electrocuted falson caused a three-hour delay. However, the University of Wisconsin Madisom Marching Band was there and they didn't need power playing an impromptu show, including Wisconsin fav, "Roll Out the Barrel."

We used to go to Summerfest every year until it got too loud and too expensive.

10. Britain's tallest teen, 6'9" Jessica Pardoe, told newspapers earlier this year that it was great to go to festivals because she could see over most everyone else.

Now You Know. --Cooter

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Music Festivals-- Part 2

4. Kris Kristofferson's appearance at the 1969 NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL was a big break for him. It was arranged by Johnny Cash who had been impressed by Kristofferson's landing in a helicopter on Cash's lawn and handing him a demo tape.

I guess that's one way to get heard. If I'd have done it, I would have been arrested.

5. LIVE AID begat FARM AID. Bob Dylan was performing at the Philadelphia stage of the huge event to benefit starving people of Ethiopia when he said he hoped some of the money would go to help the American farmer. Event organizer Bob Geldof said Dylan's request "was crass, stupid and nationalistic."

Two months later, the first FARM AID concert took place in Champaign, Illinois.

6. U2s performance at LIVE AID went a long way toward launching the Irish band to stardom. Lead singer left the stage for a two minute dance with fans that angered his bandmates so much they asked him to quit.

He didn't.

I've Never Been to a Big Festival, But Did Go looking for Woodstock in Woodstock, Illinois Back in 1969. I Didn't Find It. --DaCoot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Music Festivals-- Part 1

From the July 31st Chicago Tribune by Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer.

And with a photo of my favorite all-time band (if I have to pick one), Creedence Clearwater Revival. These ten were done because of the Lollapalooza Festival the next weekend.

1. CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL was the first big-name band signed to play at WOODSTOCK in 1969. And this is when the band was really churning out the hits.

Theu ended up with a horrible time slot and were even left out of the soundtrack album (even with its three LPs). They began their set at 1:30 am, right after the Grateful Dead. Said CCR frontman John Fogerty: "Wow, we got to follow the band that put a half a million people to sleep." With those never-ending Dead jams, I know what John means.

2. The name of the BONNAROO FESTIVAL in Manchester, Tn., comes from DR. JOHN's album "Desitively Bonnaroo," a title based on New Orleans slang.

3. The end of the FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR was celebrated at a music fest in Boston at THE PEACE JUBILEE AND INTERNATIONAL MUSICAL FESTIVAL OF 1872. Composer Johann Strauss conducted about 17,000 singers and a 1,500 piece orchestra.

Newport Folk Festival Up Next. --Cooter

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dead Page: Na Na Hey Hey



As a White Sox fan, believe me, I know this song well.

Mr. Leka died Oct. 12th.

He wrote the chorus to the song which was a #1 hit back in 1969. He also wrote and produced "Green Tambourine" for the Lemon Pipers which also went to #1 in 1967 and signed REO Speedwagon to their first contract.

I had never heard of him before, but sure knew his work.

In addition, he produced four Harry Chapin albums including 1974's Verities & Balderdash which had the #1 hit "Cat's in the Cradle."

In 1969, he was helping Gary DeCarlo fill out the "B" side of a single he was recording for Buddah Records. Leka was on keyboards and they were working on a bluesy shuffle "Kiss Him Goodbue" they'd written several years earlier. The big problem was that it was only two minutes. In order to make sure deejays wouldn't play the "B" side instead of the "A" they decided to add a chorus to stretch it to four minutes, longer than most station formats would allow.

Leka said he was at the piano going "na na na na na" something you say when you don't have lyrics. DeCarlo added the "Hey, hey."

The record company released it as the "A" side anyway and made up a fictitious group called Steam. It hit #1 and made a comeback in 1977 when Nancy Faust, the organist for the Chicago White Sox started playing it to taunt visiting players who struck out or when a relief pitcher was called in at old Comiskey Park. The song is ubiquitous now at sporting events all over the country.

Mr.Leka was born Feb. 20, 1943, in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

According to Wikipedia, the "A" side, if you're wondering, was "It's the Magic in Me." Wikipedia also said that a Georgia dj flipped it over to "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" when it took off.

A Song for My Sox.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How I Spent the Day: July 24, 1896-- Part 2

After we finished our sweet little talk, we went downstairs and cut the last of our melons Papa had sent us.

I then took a ruffle I was hem stitching for our little unborn babe and went out on the back porch in the cool and sewed awhile. David came downstairs and asked Mary Prince and my self if we did not want to go to the Academy with him.

We went- got some cool water from the pump. Just as we came back Miss Annie Biggs came in and stayed until almost dark. We ate supper and spent the rest of the evening on the back porch in the refreshing breeze.

We retired about 11 o'clock but did not go to sleep till 12 or after.

Altogether we spent a very pleasant day.

Mrs. D.M. Prince

How I Spent the Day: July 24, 1896-- Part 1

Evidently, my great grandfather got my great grandmother, Minnie Hollowell Prince, to write down what she did on the same date. No wonder he was going multiple times to the school to get stationery.

"I arose at 6:15 oclock. Cleaned up our rooms until the bell rang at 7 oclock announcing breakfast.

After breakfast I finished cleaning up.

Papa had sent me four nice melons and I sent Mrs. Millie Dunn one of them.

John brought the mail. I took my Ladies Home Journal went out on the back porch in the breeze to read did not read but a few minutes when Mrs. R.C. Josey and Mrs. A.E. Taylor came and spent quite a good while with us.

When they left Mrs. Magnum and I went to the kitchen to prepare dinner.

I ate dinner came upstairs. David and I went in Mr. Wilson's room to try to take a nap, it was so warm in our room we could not sleep.

We did not spend the hour sleeping, we spent it talking over the past year, how happy we had been. It has been the happiest year of my life. Not but one thing has happened to mar our happiness and that was the death of our dear Mother.

More to Come.

A Day in the Life: July 24, 1896-- Part 2

Then Minnie, Mary and I sat around and chatted till after five, Mrs. Mangum having gone to see Mrs. Hancock.

Minnie, Mary and I went over to the School Building and got some stationery for Ruth and Frances. Miss Annie Biggs called about 6 PM and stayed till almost dark, her call made supper late.

I did not enjoy my supper as I had a little head-ache, but it soon passed ___ and I felt very good.

*John brought the mail. I received a letter from Claude H. Wilson.

After talking awhile Minnie and I came up to our room and wrote and talked till about eleven.

Owing to a good breeze, we slept in Claude's room, but did not reach dreamland till after 12 o'clock.

Altogether, we spent a happy day, though it was intensely hot.

David M. Prince
Scotland Neck, N.C.

* John Hamums, our colored waiting boy, all around the house and school boy.

A Day in the Life: July 24, 1896-- Part 1

That would be 115 years ago. Written by my great grandfather, David Maybury Prince, after he wrote what had happened the year before. On this shorter account, he wrote about what he had done that day. A real slice of life.


Arose a little earlier than usual and cut up the grass in the front walk. This gave me a great appetite and I enjoyed breakfast. After breakfast I went over to the School Building and got some stationery to send to our home people. Mailed some letters and then made a bottom for a slop tub and then painted it.

Enjoyed some grapes Minnie bought, then ate a fine diner.

Minnie and I lay down in Claude's room, it was cooler than ours, and spent a very pleasant hour or more talking of our marriage and of the happiness and trials of the last year.

We got up and ate the last of the four melons Minnie's Father had sent her.

More to Come.

A Very Valuable Family Notebook

My mom has a photocopied notebook of letters and journal entries of my great grandfather, David Maybury Prince. I have been transcribing it in the last several blog entries.

The notebook was given to my grandmother, Gertrude Prince Hood, who made a notation on the back cover.

"Presented to Gertrude Prince Hood at the 10th anniversary Prince Reunion at Southport, N.C. July 19th 1992. By her nephew David W. Phillips, Annie May Prince Phillips' youngest son of Columbia, SC."

Upon her death, it was to go to my mother and then to me "as he is more like my Dad than any of my grandchildren."

"This the 21st day of July, 1992.
Gertrude P. Hood
Goldsboro, NC

David Prince First Anniversary, July 24, 1896-- Part 4

This brings us to-day.

Glancing over the pages of the last year, taking our marriage as the beginning, for in truth it was the beginning of life, many sunny days are seen, all happiness, only the rainy days and sadness before referred to marred our happiness. The past year has been the happiest of my life. Not one unkind word has passed between us'

Minnie has made a model little wife and if I know my own heart, I love her more to-night than I did one year ago, and at that time, I loved her with all my heart, but I suppose my heart has grown' Anyway, I know I love her more.

We are expecting a child born to us at any time, and we are happy at the thought . May God grant a blessing on the unborn loved one and the soon-to-be little Mother.

In closing this I must not forget to say that in our happiness we have not forgotten the giver of all our pleasures and may he continue His blessings and God grant that we may be as happy and love Him as well, _____, one year from tonight--through all life.

Thus was my great grandfather David Maybury Prince's account of his first year of marriage from July 24, 1895, to July 12, 1896, over 115 years ago. It is too bad that more people don't take the time to sit down at the end of a year and write about what happened to them. It would sure get their descendants in much closer contact with them.

I learned a lot about him and will write about that later.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

David Prince First Anniversary, July 24, 1896-- Part 3

While on our journey we heard Mother was worse, Lonnie met us at _____, Minnie's meeting with her people, especially her Father was almost heart rendering. Soon after we arrived, we went in to see Mother, she knew both of us and as long as I live I shall never forget the happy expression of Minnie's Mother when she saw her loved daughter.

Not many hours passed before the sad message "On earth an angel less, in heaven one more. Mother left us at 12:30. Minnie & David." was sent to our sympathizing friends at Scotland Neck. Words can't express the grief. I shall attempt it, but Minnie's grief was deep and in it thank God I tried to share her trouble. In her grief I learned to love my darling more than I ever had before and I already thought I loved her all I could.

Our return was a sad one, but soon Emma, Minnie's youngest sister, and Mary came and made our little family more cheerful.

Our return

David Prince First Anniversary, July 24, 1896-- Part 3

Monday, November 28, 2011

David Prince First Anniversary, July 24, 1896-- Part 2

Minnie went home a few days before I did(the dear little creature would have gone earlier but I was feeling unwell) and the time seemed long before I could see her for this was the first time we had been separated any length of time since our marriage.

Minnie met me at train in Goldsboro though it was as early as 7 o'clock. I know I was happier to see her than ever before in my life. A week's stay at our homes passed hurriedly and happily (I forgot to mention that while home I bought me a watch and "Lorr" and I bought a suit of furniture) and we returned home and resumed work.

Everything moved on well. We had a good school and our closing exercises were good. After the boys left it was a little dull but we all felt more free and had a good time.

But alas the rain must fall. Minnie's mom, and mine, for I loved her devotedly, was taken sick. For several days we were uneasy but prayed to God earnestly and hoped. In fact, we did not think our Mother was dangerously ill, but at last a message came calling us home. Indeed, it was a sad journey, but a hopeful one.

David Prince First Anniversary, July 24, 1896-- Part 1

This is an entry in the journal of my great-grandfather, David M. Prince, recounting his first year of marriage to his childhood sweetheart, Minnie Hollowell, my great grandmother.

It was handwritten and some of his writing is very hard to read.



Minnie and I were married one year ago to-day. The day we married was very warm indeed, perhaps to-day has not been quite so warm, but very near so.

We were married at 1:15 and left at 2 o'clock for Greensboro at which place we spent the night. I will not attempt to explain the first night, it is sufficient to say we were very bashful though we had loved each other since childhood and had been engaged seven years.

Mr. Wilson, or Claude as we call him, went with us from Goldsboro to Raleigh and Mr. R.J. Vauer, Pastor of Baptist Church got on train at Durham and went on to Greensboro with us.

We left Greensboro the morning of the 25th for Roaring Gap Hotel. Our stay of two weeks was pleasant, yes delightful.

We spent a week home (Goldsboro) and then came here, Scotland Neck. School soon opened, the time passed rapidly away and soon it was near Christmas.

More to Come.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

QAR's Biggest Cannon Raised

From the Winter 2012 East Magazine of East Carolina University.

The annual fall archaeological expedition to what is believed to be Pirate Blackbeard's ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge (QAR), found that no damage was done to the ship by Hurricane Irene in August.

On October 25th, divers recovered cannon C23, one of the largest guns on the ship.

Project Director Mark Wilde-Ramsing led a class of ECU students on the four-week dive. Using new technology, aluminum rods called sacrificial anodes were attached to the remaining cannons to change the electrochemical process that corrodes iron in saltwater. The aluminum rod corrodes, the cannon no longer does. This will reduce the amount of time required in the laboratory once the cannon is raised.

The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries research vessel Shell Point was used as the main recovery vessel along with ECU's seagoing barge for transport to the site of the QAR offshore of Fort Macon State Park in Beaufort Inlet.

Captain Jack Sparrow Would be So Proud. --Cooter

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ten Infamous Wonders of the World

From the September 16th Listverse. They have pictures and information. I'm just listing them.

10. Guatemala City Sinkhole
9. Smog over Los Angeles
8. Alcatraz

7. Guantanamo Bay
6. Trail of Tears
5. Ashes of Pompeii
4. Little Boy's Shadow at Hiroshima

3. Ground Zero, 9-11
2. Chernobyl
1. Auschwitz

Not So Nice Stuff. --Cooter

Saturday, November 19, 2011

36th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald

November 10, 1975

This one slipped by me. The last ten years I taught, every year my students would have a lesson on this ship, tied in with the Great Lakes and art.

I was reminded Thursday when one of the patrons at Donovan's Reef in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, tried to play the song on the jukebox, only to find it was not offered. Nor was it on the jukebox at Dry Dock in Antioch, Illinois, yesterday.

These new jukeboxes with the huge numbers of expensive songs available really should have Gordon Lightfoot's "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."

Worth remembering.

70th Anniversary of the Sinking of the HMAS Sydney

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Nov. 19, 1941, sinking of the Australian Navy's light cruiser HMAS Sydney with the complete loss of its 645 crew members after a battle with the German raider Komoran.

Some 2,000 are expected to attend a memorial service at Geraldton, on Australia's west coast.

The wreck was found in 2008.

there was some confusion as to whether the even was to be public ot private, but it will be open to all.

This commemoration will also have the unveiling of the Pool of Remembrance at Geraldton's Mt. Scott Memorial.

A Sad Day in Australian History.

Dead Page: A Munchkin Meets the Wizard


Died Nov. 15th. From AP.

Mr. Slover stood at 4'5" and was the lead trumpeter in the Munchkins' band along with roles as a townsman and soldiers in the 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz." One of the tiniest male Munchkins, he was busy making appearances during his later years, even at an event in Chicago as late as last week.

He was one of the seven Munchkins to attend the unveiling of their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007 along with: Margaret Pellegrini, Meinhardt Raubz, Jerry Marzen, Mickey Carroll and Ruth Deccini.

Only three now remain of the original 124 cast members.

Mr. Slover was born Karl Kosiczky in what is today the Czech Republic, the only child in his family to be dwarf-sized. His father tried all sorts of witch doctor type things to get his son to grow, including a stretching machine. At age 9, his father sold him to a traveling show in Europe and he performed with them into his twenties.

When he moved to the US, he changed his name and appeared in circuses as part of a vaudeville group called Singer Midgets whose 30 performers became the nucleus of the Munchkins.

He was the first of the three trumpeters to herald the arrival of the Munchkin mayor and remembers he was paid $50 a week, less than what Toto the dog was getting.

Oh, We're Off to See the ______.

Friday, November 18, 2011

OK, President Obama's Healthy-- Part 2

Other presidents with health issues.

John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)-- Projected an image of robust health and energy while hiding his Addison's Disease and back problems.

Richard Nixon (1969-1974)-- Fell ill with phlebitis in 1974. Scholars have debated whether Nixon suffered from depression and psychological issues.

Gerald Ford (1971-1977)-- Former college football player was later slowed by joint and knee problems.

Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)-- Suffered from joint problems. Some researchers say he showed signs of dementia and Alzheimer's toward the end of his second term and didn't recognize key staffers.

Bill Clinton (1993-2001)-- One-time fast-food devotee struggled with his high cholesterol. Now a vegetarian.

And Then there's My Aches and Pains, But I Ain't President Either. --DaCoot

OK, President Obama's Healthy-- Part 1

From the Nov. 6th Chicago Tribune.

President Obama's annual physical at the beginning of the month was a glowing one. He's healthy, but this was not the case with some of our earlier presidents.

A short run-down on presidential health:

Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)-- Migraine headaches, suffered a stroke in 1919 that left him paralyzed and with slurred speech.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945)-- Paralyzed by polio. In 1944, hid physician told him his health would not allow a fourth term. he ran anyway and died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Dwight Eisenhower (1953-1961)-- Suffered a heart attack in 1955. Also had a minor stroke.

More to Come. --Cooter

One Hour Back-- Part 2

"The nation rallied around President Woodrow Wilson's call to patriotism (during World War I), though, and daylight savings time was adopted nationwide in 1918." There were problems even from the beginning. The first year, the time change occurred on Easter Sunday and on this important mass of the year, the Archdiocese of Chicago decreed that Mass schedule would remain on standard time for that day.

After the war, foes of "Wilson time" took the issue to Congress. A return to "slow time" became law on a veto override.

Even so, cities across the country, including Chicago, adopted their own ordinances for daylight saving time. Bit, it was confusion. City trains operated on "summer time" while interstate trains were on standard time. Confusion reigned.

It got worse over the years as other cities and towns and states adopted saving time. Making it worse was the different start-stop times.

Finally, in 1967, daylight saving time became mandatory under federal law.

Of course, there is still the problem of driving across Indiana where I tend to ignore time as much as possible. It seems even they don't know what time it is.

Love That Daylight. --DaCoot

I Must Be Getting Old

From the August 24th Chicago Tribune.

This year's incoming freshman class in college (we don't even want to think of the incoming high school freshmen) were mostly born around 1993. And there are many so-called cultural touchstones that they would not be old enough to remember. Every year, Wisconsin's Beloit College releases their Mindset List.

Here are some of the items on this year's list:

** Andre the Giant, River Phoenix, Frank Zappa and Arthur Ashe have always been dead.

** Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents.

** There have always been at least two women on the US Supreme Court, and women have always commanded US Navy ships.

** "Don't touch that dial!"...What dial?

** Refer to LBJ and they might think you're talking about LeBron James.

** O.J. Simpson has always been looking for the killers of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

** John Wayne Bobbitt has always slept with one eye open.

** McDonald's coffee has always had a warning not to spill it in your lap.

** "PC" has come to mean personal computer, not political correctness.

For full list go to

We're Not Too Old, They're Too Young. --Cooter

Thursday, November 17, 2011

One Hour Back-- Part 1

This past November 6th, it was the old Fall Back thing where we moved the clock times back an hour as we left daylight saving time. I hate when it gets dark at 4:30 pm, but at least we have light earlier in the day.

Usually, I remember to do this, but have missed stuff the next day on several occasions when I didn't.

This Daylight Saving Time has gone by many names in the past and there was quite a bit of opposition to it.

From the November 6th Chicago Tribune Chicago Flashback "2 steps forward, 1 hour back" by Stephan Benzkofer.

It has been called "fast time," "summer time," "Wilson Time," "Bolshevik Time,' "standard time," "slow time" and "God's Time."

The original arguments for it revolved around saving energy during wartime, but then became a pitched battle between urban and rural time. City folk liked the extra hour of sunlight after work, but farmers argued they couldn't switch work so easily.

Did You Remember to Switch? --Cooter

Hazards Bubble Up from Old Wrecks-- Part 5: Off Maryland and Delaware

Along with a photo of the W.L. Steed, there was a map of the waters off the Mid-Atlantic states showing some wreck sites that pose a risk.

VANRANGER-- Tanker carrying 12,700 tons of fuel oil torpedoed in 1942.

INDIA ARROW-- Tanker carrying 88,369 barrels of diesel fuel torpedoed in 1942.

JOHN MORGAN-- Collided with another vessel on its maiden voyage in 1943.

W.L. STEED-- Tanker carrying 66,000 barrels of crude oil torpedoed in 1941.

MARINE ELECTRIC-- Sank in 1983 with 3,600 barrels of fuel oil in its bunkers.

If any of these ships sank today, no doubt oil speculators would rush out to buy oil causing us regular folk to have to immediately pay higher at the pump.

Watch Out for the U-Boats! --DaCoot

Hazards Bubble Up from Old Wrecks-- Part 4: SS Jacob Luckenbach

I wonder if this has anything to do with that Texas place Willie and Waylon sang about?

The freighter SS Jacob Luckenbach, carrying military supplies had just left San Francisco in July 1953 headed for South Korea, when it ran into another ship in heavy fog and sank 17 miles off the coast in 180 feet of water and 457,000 gallons on bunker fuel on board.

In the early 1990s, residents in the area began to notice suspicious intermittent oil spills on the beaches. Over the next decade, some 51,000 shore birds were covered with oil and died. Oil and tar balls floated up on beaches.

Finally, in 2002, the culprit was found to be the Luckenbach. Cleanup and wildlife rehabilitation cost $2 million. Salvage of the 100,000 remaining gallons is expected to cost $20 million.

Something from the Past Coming Back to Get Us. --Cooter

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Even More Pearl Harbor Stories

From the Nov. 11th Orange County (Ca) Register.

Howard Bender, 90, proudly carried the white and blue Pearl Harbor Survivors flag for the last time during the Veterans Day parade. He and John Olivles, 92, Pearl Harbor Survivors Association is disbanding Dec. 31st because no one is left. Olivles was in the Army.

From the Nov. 11th Detroit 7 ABC Action News WXYZ.

Noel Stephens, 96, "They dropped a bomb about 20 feet from us. I really thought I was a goner." He plans to be at the 70th anniversary observation at Pearl Harbor in three weeks.

He was a mess steward on the USS Zane, one of the few naval positions blacks were allowed to do duty in the segregated navy.

The Greatest Generation.

Some More Pearl Harbor News

From the Aug. 3rd Columbus (Ne) Telegram.

Pearl Harbor survivor Art Gersib died at age 91. Now that are less than 15 living Pearl Harbor survivors in Nebraska. He and three friends were on their way to the mess hall for a special breakfast when they saw planes coming in low. They hit the ground right away when the firing began.

From the August 1st Grand Rapids (Mi) Fox 17.

Henru Emelander, 93, one of the last two Pearl Harbor survivors in western Michigan died. He enlisted in the Navy twice in the 1930s. The second time he was sent to salvage and repair ships at Pearl Harbor. His ship, the Vestal was tied up next to the USS Arizona when the attack came.

A very bad place to be. He had never swam a day in his his life, but quickly learned after being ordered to abandon ship.

The Greatest Generation.

Pearl Harbor Veterans

As we approach the 70th anniversary of the Day of Infamy in three weeks, many of these people are leaving us unfortunately.

From the Nov. 11th Whidby News Times.

Pearl Harbor veterans were telling their stories:

CECIL CALAVAN-- on the USS Utah and survived because he was shaving. The place he had been at was struck by a torpedo right after he left to perform this daily chore. He ended up swimming to shore.

JAMES STANSELL-- was 18 at the time. "I was scared to death but I did manage to look everywhere, and everywhere there was an explosion."

HAROLD JOHNSON-- was 17 at the time on the USS Oklahoma and had a date with a young lady that day. The worst part of the attack was afterwards "hauling oil-covered men into boats, responding to a multitude of false alarms and curling up in the mess hall to try to sleep." Obviously, no date for the young man.

Sad to Be Losing These Brave Souls.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mt. Rushmore Turns 70

From ABC News.

Can you name the four presidents on Mt. Rushmore?

The huge monument was declared complete Oct. 31, 1941, just five weeks before the US entered World War II.

** It took 14 years to build and cost $1 million.

** If the carvings were scaled to real life people, they would be 465 feet tall.

** Each head is six stories tall.

** The project displaced 800 million tons of stone.

** The noses are 20 feet long.

** Workers had to climb 506 steps each day. They sure must have been in good shape.

** Sculptor Gutzon Borglum was 60 when he started it.

** He died unexpectedly 7 months before the project was finished.

In case you can't name them all: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

Definitely Something I'd Like to See One of These Days. --Cooter

Al Zelent: USS Princeton Survivor-- Part 4

Unfortunately, when the bomb hit, the flight deck was full of torpedo planes, fully loaded and ready for take off. He remembers seeing men burned over most of their bodies. Others were crying.

The ship's commander, and later admiral, John Hoskins, lost his leg.

National Geographic magazine had an article about the Princeton in the August 1945, Vol. 88 #2.

It was really an honor to get to talk to a hero like Mr. Zelent and I sure could have spent longer, but I wanted others to get an opportunity as well.

The Greatest Generation.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hazards Bubble Up from Old Wrecks-- Part 3: USS Arizona

A priority list will be drawn up.

Some of the old wrecks are already leaking. The most notable of them is the 608-foot USS Arizona, sunk at Pearl Harbor on that fateful day back on Dec. 7, 1941 (of which we are approaching the 70th anniversary in a few weeks). It sank with a loss of 1,177 lives and 1.1 million gallons of fuel, about half of which still remains and leaks into the harbor.

I have seen the oil bubbles coming up from the hull by the Arizona Memorial. I'd estimate there are about 4-5 bubbles a minute, not enough to really damage the harbor, but if a tank ruptures and all of it escapes at once, that would have a major negative impact.

As it stands, though, those bubbles are somewhat comforting and a connection to that event from 70 years ago. The ship still lives.

At a Baltimore conference in June, David Conlin of the NPS said that new studies show that the previously intact fuel tanks are corroding, rupturing and releasing their contents. However, there is "no pressing need" for "invasive" procedures to enter the ship.

"Three hundred and sixty years from now, in the core part of the USS Arizona, the oil bunkers here will still have significant structural integrity," he said.

This is a bit confusing information. How safe are the Arizona's fuel bunkers?

I probably spent ten minutes with those bubbles when I was there. A real connection with history.

A Day of Infamy. --DaCoot

Hazards Bubble Up from Old Wrecks-- Part2

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is presently taking inventory on some 30,000 coastal wrecks off the US shore, many of them casualties of the 1942 Battle of the Atlantic. They are especially looking for those that might pose a threat to the environment.

NOAA's Lisa Symons said, "We're starting to see significant corrosion." Those that did nor blow up or break apart may still have fuel or armaments aboard.

The worst-threat list has been narrowed to 233 vessels with a final list being prepared for the end of the year. Efforts will be made to remove oil from these ships using funds from the Oil Spill liability Trust Fund which is supported by the oil industry.

Wreck spills are a threat globally, with an especially high concentration in the western Pacific (where many World War II battles took place). But the US coastline is littered with the wrecks of ships sink by German and Japanese submarines.

A Congressional appropriation of $1 million is being used for the identification project, part of which involves looking through ship manifests, naval records, sinking reports, insurance documents and survivors accounts. (Hey, even a lot can be learned through a quick Yahoo! search.)

More to Come. --Cooter

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hazards Bubble Up from Old Wrecks-- Part 1

From the July 27th Chicago Tribune by Frank D. Roylance.

World War Ii was on and on the evening of Feb. 2, 1942, the W.L. Steed, an unarmed tanker was cruising along the Atlantic Ocean, about 90 miles off Ocean City, Maryland with 66,000 barrels of crude oil, when a German U-boat torpedoed it.

The ship was soon ablaze and sank with only a few of the 38 crew members surviving.

Shortly after the US entered the war after Pearl Harbor, the Germans moved part of their submarine pack to off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the country. By te time they shifted most of the U-boats in July to focus on convoys crossing the Atlantic, they had sunk 397 ships in US coastal waters.

Many Americans today don't even know about this war off American shores.

This wartime legacy has become an environmental concern because of concern about fuel bunkers and cargoes starting to leak after all those years under water.

I have already written about the SS Montebello (see Oct. 3rd entry) sunk by a Japanese submarine off the coast of California and the fear that its cargo of oil poses a threat. Fortunately, expeditions to the ship have found no trace of the oil that it once carried.

A Problem from the Past. --DaCoot

USMC Birthday Breakfast-- Part 1

I just got back from an early morning meet with all sorts of Marines, seven going back to World War II, at the Fox Lake, Illinois, American Legion. The event was the 28th Annual Tom Grosvenor Marine Corps Breakfast Toys for Tots.

The breakfast consisted of S-O-S and scrambled eggs and plenty of coffee (many of the Marines didn't take it black like you might expect a Marine to take it). Last week at the Legion, I had mentioned to one of the people at the bar about the breakfast and that SOS. He said he'd have to be there because he absolutely loves SOS. Many don't. I like it.

If you're wondering what SOS is, I'll tell later.

The breakfast started back on November 10, 1983 at Hoff's Kitchen in Grayslake, Illinois with 13 former Marines meeting.

The tradition goes back to 1970 when brothers Tom and Ken Grosvenor would call each other on Nov. 10th to wish each other a happy Marine Corps birthday. Tom had served in the Corps during the Vietnam War in the DaNang area in 1969-1970.

More to Come. --Cooter

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11: It's a Historical Thing

Doesn't happen often, just once in a lifetime, and it's here today, the 11th month, 11th day of the 11th year. I don't expect to be around for the next one.

And, it occurs on Veterans Day, formerly Armistice Day, set up to honor the World War I veterans back then, but now to honor all our veterans.

World War I, The War To End All Wars, ended this date back in 1918; the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Unfortunately, it was not the last war.

I imagine there will be a lot of marriages today (easier for the husband to remember it) just as there has been every year since the turn of the century: 1-1-01, 2-2-02 and so forth.

A Big Thank You to Our Veterans. --Cooter

Thursday, November 10, 2011

USMC Birthday

A big 236th birthday congratulations to the United States Marine Corps. This date, Nov. 10, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the creation of an armed force to be used aboard ships and on land called the Marines.

I'll be attending the Marine Corps birthday breakfast at the Fox Lake American Legion this Saturday morning. It will also be the kickoff for the annual Toys for Tots program.

Ooh-Rah That! --Cooter

Kristallnacht: November 9-10, 1938

The night the Holocaust began.

From an ad in the Nov. 9th Chicago Tribune by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

It reads: "Throughout Germany and Austria, the Nazis unleashed a wave of terror against the people of the Jewish faith.

More than 30,000 Jewish people were forced into concentration camps and countless others were beaten or killed.

Thousands of Jewish homes, businesses and places of worship were burned and destroyed.


The beginning of a horrible chapter of human history. And things just got worse.

Not Forgetting. --DaCoot

A Monument for Ida B. Wells?-- Part 2

Here's hoping that the monument will be erected.

After being ejected from the train in 1884, Ms. Wells began a life-long crusade to bring equality for her people. She stopped teaching and began publishing a Memphis newspaper, the Free Speech and Headlight. She brought to public knowledge the lynching of blacks in the South.

In 1894 she came to Chicago and married Ferdinand Barnett, a black attorney. They raised four children in a fashionable brownstone on what is now Martin Luther King Drive.

This became home base for campaigns against segregation. She was a founder of the local NAACP and an ally of suffragist Susan B. Anthony. Wells died in 1931.

The monument will stand in the middle of a new economically and racially diverse housing development on the site of the old Ida B. Wells Homes.

They expect the monument to cost $300,000.

Quite a Woman. --Cooter

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Monument for Ida B. Wells?-- Part 1

I must admit that until a few years ago, the only thing I knew about the name Ida B. Wells is that it was a really horrible Chicago Public Housing project with lots of crime and broken families. Turns out, Ida B. Wells was one really remarkable person, who overcame her race and sex to accomplish much in her time.

From the Nov. 9th Chicago Tribune "Supporters propose monument to Ida B. Wells" by Ron Grossman.

The housing project has since been knocked down, but now there is a group that wants a monument to the woman who fought for racial justice and women's rights.

Seventy years before the more famous Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat in a segregated Montgomer, Alabama, Wells was dragged off a train for declining segregated seating on The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.

She is honored at the civil rights museum in Memphis, but now there is nothing in her adopted home town of Chicago to honor her.

The effort for a memorial began while her namesake housing project was being taken down, but wasn't making any progress until they made contact with Michelle Duster, a great-granddaughter, who has published books on Wells.

More to Come On Ida B. Wells' Life. --Cooter

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chevrolet Turns 100

From the Jack Phelan Chevrolet ad in the November 6th Chicago Tribune.

One of my favorite auto brands, now that Pontiac is gone, is Chevrolet which celebrated the 100th anniversary of its debut this past Thursday, Nov. 3rd.

The ad ran a Chevy Timeline along with one for the auto dealer which opened its doors in Lyons, Illinois, back in 1970.

Right now, I have two Chevy Malibus (2003 and 2011) and have had Chevies off and on throughout the years.

1911-- The Chevrolet brand debuts.
1935-- The Chevy Suburban is introduced.
1950-- Chevy becomes first maker to offer automatic shifting.
1953-- The Chevy Corvette is introduced. (Something I've always wanted, but that will probably never come to pass.)
1975-- Chevy introduces a T-car first, the Chevette. (For some reason, I used to get Corvette confused with Chevette. Hard to believe I did this.))
1979-- Front wheel drive compacts are introduced.
2002-- Corvette celebrates its 50th anniversary.
2011-- The Chevy Volt introduced.
2012-- The Chevy Sonic is introduced.

Happy B-Day, Chevy, Or As My Mother-in-Law Used to Call It, Chivrolet. --Cooter

Al Zelent: USS Princeton Survivor

According to Mr. Zelent, the Princeton was one of the "Nine Sisters." These were nine cruisers that were converted into aircraft carriers during World War II.

The Japanese plane that dropped the bomb which caused his ship to sink, came in with a return flight of planes coming to the Princeton, which is how it slipped in through the anti-aircraft defenses.

The Princeton did not sink from the bomb itself, but rather from a series of explosions of the aircraft bombs and fuel that doomed the ship and damaged nearby vessels attempting to keep it afloat.

He was scared. When he saw his best friend from Hamilton, Ohio, jump into the ocean from the flight deck, he thought he was seeing his friend for the last time. He was greatly relieved to see that his friend was picked up by the same destroyer that saved him. His first words to his friend were, "I never thought I'd see you again, Earl." They kept in touch after the war, even after Earl moved to California. Unfortunately, Earl died several years ago.

Mr. Zelent still has the life preserver he wore after jumping overboard (and had it at the Meet-A-Vet). He was not afraid for himself, but worried about how hard his death might be on his mother.

More to Come. --Cooter

Monday, November 7, 2011

Al Zelent: USS Princeton Survivor-- Part 2

Al Zelent today keeps the newsletter of the Princeton going out. Of the 1500 aboard when the ship sank, around 100 died. If the survivors, today he sends out 182 mailings of the newsletter and figures that at least half go to widows. He estimates about 88 crew still alive. Mr. Zelent is 88 now and was 21 when the ship sank. It is sad to see how fast this Greatest Generation is dying, but they are getting very old.

He was born and raised in Chicago and raised his family in Deerfield where he is a member of the Deerfield American Legion.

Another friend from the Deerfield Post was there who was aboard the USS Franklin, an aircraft carrier hit by a kamikaze.

There is a book about the his ship's sinking "Carrier Down: The Sinking of the USS Princeton (CVL 23)." He donated two copies to the Great Lakes Naval Library.

In 2006, the survivors had a reunion in San Diego, the home port of the newest USS Princeton. A memorial service was held and they were able to tour the ship and had lunch aboard. That had to be some meeting between the new crew and old crew of the Princetons.

More Yet to Come. --DaCoot

Al Zelent: USS Princeton Survivor-- Part 1

This past Saturday, I attended the 2nd Annual Fox Lake American Legion Meet-A-Vet event.

I spoke at length with Mr. Al Zelent, who was aboard the aircraft carrier USS Princeton CVL 23, when it was sunk by Japanese bombs at the Battle of the Philippines.

The Princeton was one of the famed "Nine Sisters" which were cruisers converted into aircraft carriers.

He enlisted in the Navy in September 1943 and received his training at Great Lakes Naval Training Center. he was assigned to the Princeton and participated in seven major battles in the Pacific, until his ship was sunk by a Japanese bomb. He and other sailors spent several hours in the water before they were rescued by destroyers.

Then, it was to Pearl Harbor for 30 days of survival leave and then to San Diego where he served until the end of the war.

More to Come. --Cooter

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Back Then: Dean Smith Arrives

From the August 2nd Wilmington (NC) Star News Back Then Column.

The August 3, 1961, paper was full of stories about the departure of head North Carolina basketball coach Frank McGuire and his replacement, one Dean Smith, at age 30.

Frank McGuire had led the 1957 Tarheel squad to an NCAA Championship with a perfect 32-0 record. McGuire was leaving to take over coaching duties at the Philadelphia Warriors of the NBA.

After awhile, Dean Smith obviously made folks forget about McGuire.

If He Was a College Dean, Would You Address Him as Dean Dean Smith? --Cooter

Hugh Morton Helps Bring the USS North Carolina Home

From the September 20th Wilmington (NC) Star News.

Hugh Morton was born Feb. 19, 1921, in Wilmington, NC, and attended college at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

he was president of the North Carolina Azalea Festival in Wilmington in 1948 and was the first chairman of the Battleship Commission in 1961.

He inherited NC's Grandfather Mountain from his grandfather, Hugh McCrae, in 1952. he soon extended a road to the top of it and built the Mile-High Swinging Bridge. It was Mr. Morton who made Grandfather Mountain into a successful tourist attraction.

He died June 1, 2006.

According to the June 12, 2006, Wautauga (NC) Democrat, at the memorial service for Morton, Dr. William Friday said, "He knew the battleship North Carolina would be a major attraction. He knew that by involving thousands of children on that project...they would learn the struggles of World War II and the role that this great battleship played, being our most decorated combat ship in the Pacific."

Hugh Morton, A Man of Vision. --DaCoot