Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy 110th Birthday to Frank Buckles, Our Last World War I Veteran

From the Jan. 31, 2011 Richmond (Va) Times-Dispatch "Last US WW I vet approaches 110) by Bill Lohman.

An early happy birthday to the last of his kind, the last Doughboy. The last man standing of the millions (including both of my grandfathers) of men who marched off to the Great War in 1917.

He is one of only three surviving veterans of the war. The other two were in the British military: one in the RAF and the other Royal Navy.

Frank Woodward Buckley still lives on his West Virginia farm near Charles Town, with his daughter Susannah Buckles Flanagan and round-the-clock care-givers.

He is still alert and occasionally sick.

More to Come.

Short History of US Wars-- Part 2

SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR-- Declared war April 25, 18980-- Fought on water and land mainly for the control of Cuba, this war began shortly after a US battleship exploded near Havana, with tension already high between the US and Spain. Eventually, after the Spanish surrendered, the US gained control over Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines.

WORLD WAR I-- (US entered April 6, 1917)-- A note from Germany encouraging Mexico to attack America helped persuade President Wilson to enter the 3-year-old war. Europe was split into the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and others) and the Allies (Britain, France, Russia and others) and fighting began in 1914.

WORLD WAR II-- (Declared war December 8, 1941)-- The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the US into the war. Countries were divided into the Axis (primarily Germany, Italy and Japan) and the Allies (primarily Britain, the US, Soviet Union and China). Fighting occurred largely in Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

KOREAN WAR-- (Began June 25, 1950)-- Following an invasion by Communist North Korean troops into South Korea, 16 UN members, led primarily by the US, sent troops and supplies. After millions of casualties, an armistice was signed in 1953 and a Demilitarized Zone was created, dividing the two Koreas. The US still maintains a force in South Korea.

A Nice Summary. --Cooter

Friday, January 28, 2011

Rosie the Riveter

From the Canton Review.

A song was written about her called "Rosie the Riveter." Part of it went:

All the day long,
Whether rain or shine
She's part of the assembly line.
She's making history,
Working for victory
Rosie the Riveter.

According to the National Park Service, the Rosie the Riveter propaganda focused on several themes to get them to work:

** Patriotic Duty
** High Earnings
** Glamour of the Work
** Similar to Housework
** Spousal Pride

The Greatest Generation. --Cooter

Short History of US Wars-- Part 1

From the Jan. 6, 2011, Chicago Tribune.

Along with the other stuff about US wars that I have had earlier this month, the Tribune also gave a short history of US Wars which is useful.

AMERICAN REVOLUTION: (Began April 19, 1775) Tension built between Britain and its 13 colonies in the 1770s as the British government cracked down on laws and taxes. The Americans won key battles, allied with France and eventually won independence.

WAR OF 1812: (War declared June 18, 1812) The cause of this war centered on control of shipping, and there was a large group, both citizens and members of Congress, opposed from the start. A peace treaty signed in 1814 called for everything to be exactly as it was before the war.

MEXICAN WAR: (War declared May 13, 1846) This war was fought for territory, and by the end, the United States gained more than 525,000 square miles in what is now parts of California, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona. The war had its roots in fighting for control over Texas.

CIVIL WAR: (Began April 12, 1861) Before the Civil War, the nation was made up of 19 free states and 15 where slavery was allowed, the conflict at the root of the war. The war began when Southern troops attacker Fort Sumter in South Carolina and ended, essentially, with Lee's Confederate surrender in Virginia. More died from disease than combat.

Short and To the Point. --DaCoot

A Short History of Comcast

From Jan. 19,2011, USA Today

Last week, Comcast got approval to buy NBC Universal from the FCC. This will make it one huge corporation.

NBC Universal includes the USA Network Syfy, MSNBC, Oxygen, NBC, ten NBC stations, Universal Pictures and Universal Studios.

here is a short history of Comcast.

1963: Ralph Roberts buys American Cable Systems, a 1,200 subscriber cable TV operation in Tupelo, Mississippi for $500,000.

1969: Company renamed Comcast.

1972: Comcast shares traded publicly.

1988: Comcast buys 50& of Storer Communications and becomes No. 5 cable TV operator.

1997: Microsoft invests $1 billion in Comcast.

2002: Comcast buys out AT&T Broadband cable systems to become nation's largest cable TV operator.

2009: Comcast becomes the nation's largest Internet service.

How Big is Big? --Cooter

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dead Page: "Please Mr. Postman"


Co-founder and Lead Singer of the Marvelettes

Died Jan. 26, 2011. Ms. Horton was a teenager in the Detroit suburb of Inkster when she and friends former a group called the Casingyets, short for "Can't Sing Yet."

They changed their name to Marvelettes and at age 15, Gladys and her friends evidently had learned how to sing and had a #1 song across the US with "Please Mr. Postman" for Motown when she was just 15.

Horton also sand lead on the Marvelette songs "Playboy," "Beechwood 4-5789," and "Too Many Fish in the Sea."

All of these are some of my all-time favorite songs.

She was replaced as lead singer in 1965 and left the group two years later.

From AP.

Final WASP Reunion

From September 30, 2008 Air Force Link.

September 25-28, the final reunion of the Women Airforce Service Pilots was held. The youngest member is now 83.

To commemorate, they took one last flight on a C-130 Hercules flown by an all-female crew.

These women of the WASPs broke many gender barriers after being formed September 1942 to fill the need for stateside military aviation duties including ferrying aircraft to places and towing target for anti-aircraft training.

More than 25,000 women applied and 1,830 were selected with 1,078 completing the program.

Sadly, at the end of World War II, they were discharged without official recognition or benefits, a situation that is being changed.

The Greatest Generation. --DaCoot

A World War II Theft

The mayor of Abilene, Kansas, received an envelope in 2008 containing two $5 bills and a note from the sender only identifying himself as Bob who wanted to make amends for a crime he committed in town back during World War II.

In "either 1943 or 1944 I traveled through Abilene and went into a 5 and 10 store. While there, I picked up a 35 cent toy car. I am not proud that I walked out the door without paying for the toy and I have lived with this for well over fifty years. I wish to be forgiven for the action. I am enclosing $10 to cover costs. Return to store owner or give to a needy family."

I would call this a big case of honesty. Just couldn't live with himself.

Now, That's Honesty. --Cooter

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

That's One Pricey Coffin

From the Dec. 19, 2010 Chicago Tribune "Casket that held Lee Harvey Oswald sells at auction for $87K" by Rob Manker.

As coffins go, it is definitely not fancy, just an old pine box, but it sold at auction for $87,000 to an unidentified buyer (perhaps the individual on the knoll?)

The price went from $37,000 to the final price in the last two hours. The auction house, Nate D. Sanders Auctioneers, expected it to sell for $60,000. The story about the auction was on over 40 different Russian websites, which is not too common and makes you wonder.

Oswald was arrested Nov. 22, 1963, for the assassination of President Kennedy and shot to death two days later by Jack Ruby. Ever since then, there have been many conspiracy theories put forth.

The coffin was dug up in 1981 to verify that the body in it was Oswald's. His remains were buried in a different coffin because the original was damaged.

Nearly 30 years later, the coffin was among many Oswald-related items offered for sale by the Baumgardner Funeral Home in Fort Worth, Texas. Other items sold included the embalming table, instruments used in the embalming and a first draft of the death certificate.

Two chunks of the seat on which Kennedy was riding sold in separate auctions for more than $18,000 each.

Auction house owner Nate D. Sanders said, "People collect anything about the JFK assassination and they pay big prices for it."

After All these Years. --DaCoot

Dead Page: The Man With the Golden Ear


Rock Promoter

Time Magazine dubbed him "The Man With the Golden Ear," died Jan. 17th in Florida.

Promoter Jack Wishna said Kirshner "would take a kid off the street, bring him up to his office in the Brill Building and turn him into Neil Diamond, Carole King, James Taylor, on and on. I haven't spoken to anyone in the music business that Donny hasn't either discovered, promoted, or touched in some way."

That may be a bit overstated, but Mr. Kirshner certainly had an impact on the music business (and since I love my music, even me). He started the careers of Diamond, King and Bobby Darin and even the rock group Kansas.

In the days before MTV (back when it was about the videos), he started his "Don Kirshner's Rock Concert Show" in 1972 which gave great exposure to musicians including Billy Joel and the Police.

He'll Be Missed.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Expanding My World War II Library-- Part 1

At my age, just shy of 60, I don't need to be buying more books, but here I am, buying more books, especially when I get by a Half Price Books store (there's one in Palatine, Illinois, where I go any time I'm in the area). Plus, I buy bargain books at Borders in McHenry.

In the last several months, I have bought four books dealing all or in part with World War II.

One is Weapons of World War II by Alexander Ludeke. This one is profusely illustrated with at least three pictures on most pages along with statistics, a brief summary and covers all weapons of the major powers involved from infantry weapons, unarmored and armored weapons, artillery, special weapons, aircraft and ships.

For Germany, Ludeke covers eight anti-aircraft guns and two rail cannons, 28 German planes and 11 ships.

A good source book when you come across a type of weapon in another book and just good pleasure reading.

And, I Got It for Half Price, $7. --DaCoot

Pearl Harbor Vet

From the October 7, 2008,

Joe Whitt, 85, enlisted in the US Navy in 1941 before Pearl harbor was attacked... he heard that 17-year-olds could enlist and the 135-pound teenager hitchhiked to Cincinnati and signed up.

On Dec. 7, 1941, he was sitting in his bunk on the USS San Francisco and learning how to play a guitar. Hearing muffled explosions in the distance and suddenly came the announcement to shut all watertight doors and wondered, "Why are they doing that on a Sunday morning?"

He had a view of the whole action. "We had men in the water and the water (slick with spilled oil from sinking and damaged ships) was on fire. The men were horribly burned." he was involved with pulling men out of the water. "I never knew a body could be so heavy, and they were covered in oil and slippery. The smell of burning flesh never leaves you."

Today, he is one of four living Pearl Harbor survivors in the Cincinnati area (probably fewer now).

After the war, he vowed never to return to Pearl Harbor or any of the four battlefields he was at. However, this November, he will be going back to Pearl Harbor where he will be honorary guest and historical tour guide for the 230 members of the Lakota East High School Marching Band which will be performing at the naval base.

He is now the Ohio chairman of the Pearl harbor Survivors Association and speaks to school groups.

The Greatest Generation. --DaCoot

Comparing Chicago's Mayor Daleys

From the Dec. 26, 2010 Chicago Tribune.

The new Daley, Richard M. surpassed his father's 7,916 days in office on Dec. 26th. He is now Chicago's longest-ever serving mayor, although he will be stepping down at the end of the this term. A big reason is the hopeless financial mess facing the city now.

Richard J. first.

DAYS IN OFFICE (AS OF DEC> 26th): 7,916 --//-- 7.917

POLITICAL STYLE: Father Figure --//-- Facilitator


TO THE WINNER GOES THE SPOILS: Patronage jobs --//-- Cushy city contracts

ARBOREAL PHILOSOPHY: "What trees do they plant? --//-- planted myriad of trees and flowers

BRICKS AND MORTAR MONUMENT: O'Hare International Airport --//-- Millennium Park

FIDELITY TO BUNGALOW BELT HERITAGE: Born, lived and walked in Bridgeport --//-- Moved to South Loop condo

BIGGEST DISASTER: 1968 Democratic Convention --//-- 2016 Olympics

MEMORABLE MALAPROP: "The policeman isn't there to create disorder; he's there to preserve disorder." --//-- "people are getting hurt by shootalongs."

A Shootin', Shootin' Along. --Cooter

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fox Lake Historical Society: Grayslake and Ice Harvesting

The meeting of January 15th.

A representative of the Grayslake, Illinois, Historical Society was in attendance and gave a short talk about what they are doing.

They have just moved into a new $2 million building and run by the village which requires them to be open at least 16 hours a week. They even have an executive director who is paid $65,000 a year.

The new place is located one block off Main Street next to the old water tower. Hours are Wednesday to Saturday from noon to 4 and they have a community room.


The theme of today's meeting had to do with outside activities, especially winter, in the Fox Lake, Illinois, area in years past. We heard a presentation on ice harvesting, which was a big industry in the area in the days before refrigeration. You had to keep things cold somehow during the summer.

And, this was done by harvesting ice during the winter from Fox Lake and other bodies of water in the Chain of Lakes and Lake County area.

An Icing We Will Go. --DaCoot

Rare World War II Bomber Finds a Buyer and Is Destined for a Museum

From Dec. 7, 2010 Reuters.

The newly formed South Carolina Historical Aviation Foundation will pay $15,000 for a B-25C Mitchell bomber which was ditched in a South Carolina lake during a 1944 training exercise.

It is believed to be one of only three B-25Cs in existence. About 1600 were built by North American Aviation during the war.

The group is also restoring a historic 1929 Curtis-Wright hangar in Columbia, SC, where the plane will be on display. Among the notables to sign the hangar's logbook were FDR, Doolittle and Amelia Earhart.

In 1942, Doolittle's Raiders trained for awhile at the Columbia airport before their famous attack on Japan.

The plane spent the last twenty years in various warehouses after being pulled out of Lake Greenwood near Columbia. It crashed June 6, 1944, the same day as D-Day took place and it will cost an estimated $1 million to get it flying again.

Glad to Hear It. --Cooter

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bears-Packers Rivalry-- Part 3

Bears first --//-- Packers second.

ALL-TIME RUSHING LEADERS: Walter Payton, 110 TDs, 16,726 yards (1975-87) --//-- Ahman Green 8,322 yards (2000-2006, 09), Jim Taylor 81 TDs (1958-66)

ALL-TIME RECEIVING LEADERS: Johnny Morris, 5,059 yards (1958-67), Ken Kavanaugh, 50 TDs (1940-50) --//-- James Lofton 9,656 yards (1978-86), Don Hutton 99 TDs (1935-45)

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE-BRED QB: Jay Cutler (Vanderbilt) --//-- Bart Starr (Alabama)

NOTABLE TEAM OR TOWN NICKNAME: Monsters of the Midway --//-- Titletown

NOTABLE PLAYER NICKNAME: Devin Hester, "The Windy City Flyer" --//-- Reggie White, "The Minister of Defense"

RETIRED NUMBERS: 13, including Gale Sayers '40 --//-- 5, including Reggie White's 92

FAMOUS WEATHER PLAYOFF GAME HOSTED: "Fog Bowl" (Bears beat Philadelphia Eagles 20-12 in 1988 divisional playoff) --//-- "Ice Bowl" (Packers beat Dallas Cowboys 21-17 for 1967 NFC Title.

STAGE AND SCREEN STAR: Movie Brian's Song --//-- Broadway play Lombardi

CHANGING UNIFORMS: Jim Grabowski and Edgar Bennett won titles with Packers before joining the Bears --//-- Bobby Douglass and Jim McMahon among those who first played for the Bears

Some Mighty Interesting Stuff. --Cooter

Bears-Packers Rivalry-- Part 2

Continuing with the Jan. 20, 2011, USA Today's comparison of the two teams.

Bears first --//-- Packers second.

LAST SUPER BOWL CROWN: 1985 season --//-- 1996 season

SUPER BOWL RECORD: 1-1 (last appearance 2006 season) --//-- 2-2 (last appearance 1997 season)

NFC TITLE GAME RECORD: 2-2 --//-- 2-2

NFL TITLE GAME RECORD (Before Super Bowls): 6-4 --//-- 6-2


LAST WIN AGAINST EACH OTHER: Won 20-17 in Week 3 this season --//-- Won 10-3 in Week 17 this season

SERIES WINS against each other: 92, including their only playoff game (1941) --//-- 83

LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY: 61-7 in 1980 --//-- 49-0 in 1962

ALL-TIME PASSING LEADER: Sid Luckman, 137 TDs, 14,686 yards (1939-50) --//-- Brett Favre, 442 TDs, 61,655 yards (1992-2007)

More to Come. --DaCoot

Bears-Packers Rivalry-- Part 1

This Sunday, Da Bears meet Da Pack on the frozen Soldiers Field in Chicago to determine the NFC Champion and a trip to the Super Bowl. These are my two favorite NFL teams.

This is one great rivalry and I'm hoping for a game that goes right down to the wire, but I am not saying which I like the best for fear of a whammy.

We were out along the Mississippi River and Starved Rock, Illinois, this past week looking at bald eagles and am happy to report we saw 100 of them. We spent Wednesday night at the Ramada Motel in Bettendorf, Iowa, and they have complimentary USA Todays.

I found this article in the Jan. 20th issue of interest. It is a comparison of the two teams in a myriad of categories. Lots of football history here.

Bears first, --//-- Packers second.

FIRST PRO SEASON: 1920 --//-- 1919

ORIGINAL NAME: Decatur Staleys --//-- Acme Packers

WINNINGEST COACHES: George Halas (318 wins, 40 seasons, (Ralph Jones (.706 winning percentage, three seasons) --//-- Curly Lambeau (209 wins, 29 seasons), Vince Lombardi (.754 winning percentage, nine seasons)

TROPHY NAMED FOR A COACH: Halas Trophy for NFC Champion --//-- Lombardi Trophy for Super Bowl Champion

HALL OF FAME PLAYER TURNED COACH: Mike Ditka (1982-1992, 106-63 record) --//-- Forrest Gregg (1984-87, 25-37-1 record)

HALL OF FAMERS: 29, tops in NFL --//-- 26, second-most in NFL

OVERALL NFL TITLES: Nine --//-- Twelve

More to Come. --Cooter

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bits O' Real Old History: HMAS Sydney-- Cape Fear Light-- USS South Dakota

Some Old News About Old Stuff.

1. HMAS SYDNEY-- Alaistair Templeton was on the HMAS Sydney for three months and shipped off Oct. 17, 1941, a few weeks before it sank. He said that one of the four turrets was damaged and jammed and probably not in service in the battle.

2. CAPE FEAR LIGHT-- Stood on Bald Head Island, North Carolina. Built 1903 and demolished in 1958 to prevent confusion with the new one at Oak Island.

3. USS SOUTH DAKOTA-- I met a woman who said her grandfather served aboard the USS South Dakota. The former crew members recently had a reunion in St. Louis, but only eight showed up.

The Japanese surrender was originally supposed to be aboard the South Dakota, but Truman moved it to the Missouri because he was from that state. The South Dakota was there, though, one of eight US battleships at the ceremony. The British battleships Duke of York and King George V were also in the bay.

Just Some History. --Cooter

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dead Page: Rock and Roll Musicians Who Died in 2010-- Part 4

Continuing with Bob Stroud's Rock and Roll Roots from Jan. 2, 2011, "Gone But Not Forgotten."

BOBBY HEBB--One big hit but what a big one, "Sunny". Became a standard very quickly.

SOLOMON BURKE-- R&B legend, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. Charted a number of R&B and Pop hits in the 1960s, but never attained the commercial success of his peers like Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. was a gifted singer and songwriter. The Rolling Stones were big fans and covered his "Everybody needs Somebody to Love."

DOUG FIEGER-- Lead singer and guitarist and primary songwriter of the KNACK. Power pop at its best. Stroud closed his show with their "Good Girls Don't" and "My Sharona."

Oops, Bob forgot General Norman Johnson of the Showmen who did the classic "It Will Stand" and later fronted the Chairman of the Board with their great "Give me Just a Little More Time."

Gone, But Not Forgotten. --Cooter

Tallying the Costs of America's Wars-- Part 4

VIETNAM WAR (1964-1973)

COST: $738 billion


COST: $102 billion


COSTS: $321 billion

IRAQ (2003-2010)

COSTS: $784 billion


Even One Battle Death is TOO MANY!

Getting Down with Local History-- Part 2-- Fox Lake/Grant Township Historical Society

Along one side of the meeting room is a display titled "Military" with uniforms, photos and other information.

Of interest, there is a Morse Code Training Device in an army green case. It looks somewhat like an old reel-to-reel tape recorder, but with only one reel. I don't know anything else about it.

Of interest, there are two old Saturday Evening Post magazine covers by Norman Rockwell. From a distance, one looked like they were wearing World War I uniforms and were of an American, French and British soldier.

On closer inspection, I saw the date of the issue was Nov. 3, 1917, and called Close Harmony. Must have been shortly after American troops arrived in France after the US Declaration of War. Cost of the magazine was a whole 5 cents.

The other cover was too high to see the date but it showed a World War II-era soldier, sailor and Marine. There were a large number of American military personal marching at the bottom with a multitude of flags.

Just a Little Bit of History. --Cooter

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tallying the Costs of America's Wars-- Part 3

From the January 6, 2011, Chicago Tribune.

WORLD WAR I (1917-1918)

COST: $334 billion

WORLD WAR II (1941-1945)

COST: $4.1 trillion

KOREAN WAR (1950-1953)

COST: $341 billion

Just Gets More and More Expensive. --DaCoot

Getting Down with the Roots of Local History-- Part 1

This morning, I attended the Fox Lake/Grant Township (Illinois) Historical Society's monthly meeting. Local historical groups like this are the bread and butter of the American history scene. People who volunteer their time and effort to keep local history alive and in the populace's mind are the ones who keep it going, even more than the professors at colleges who write the books and sometimes teach students.

Meetings start with organization business, both old and new.

We had a moment of silence for Bud Scott, a walking encyclopedia of the Fox Lake experience who was instrumental in getting the society started and always had great stories to tell. We'll miss him.

Then, we had a big appeal for docents to open and watch the museum (currently open the first and third Sunday of every month from 1 to 4 pm). I must admit that I have been very remiss and never volunteered as Sundays are a good party day for us.

The Boy Scout 100th Anniversary display has been taken down and the new one is on the area's hunting, fishing and ice harvesting. Work is continuing on this and old photos are needed.

More to Come. --Cooter

Friday, January 14, 2011

Doolittle Raiders Highway in Florida

From the Januray 5, 2011, Northwest Florida Daily News.

On January 5th, State Route 285 north of Niceville was named the Doolittle Raiders Highway. The city of Mary Esther had already dedicated Doolittle Boulevard years ago.

It took two years to get this stretch of road named this and was largely through the efforts of Jorge Palem. His first choice was Hollywood Boulevard in Fort Walton Beach, but that didn't happen.

Doolittle's Raiders trained at Aglin Field before the attch on Japan in 1942.

A Well-Deserved Honor. Thanks Mr. Palem. --DaCoot

Dead Page: Last Doolittle's Raiders Pilot Dies


Died Jan. 10, 2011

There are still a few other men who were on the mission alive, but Mr. Bower was the last of the 16 pilots.

He volunteered for the mission and was chosen. On April 18, 1942, sixteen B25B Mitchell medium bombers took off from the deck of the USS Hornet and bombed Japan, something the Japanese didn't think was possible. Not much damage was done, but it worked wonders for American morale and caused great consternation in Japan.

They knew it would be impossible to return and land on the deck of the Hornet, so the planes continued on to China. All but one (which landed in the Soviet Union) landed in China or ditched in the sea.

Of the 80 members of Doolittle's Raiders, 11 were either captured or killed and the rest escaped and served later in the war.

On his return. Mr. Bower married Lorraine Amman in 1942. he continued to serve, eventually commanding the 428th Bombardier Squadron in Africa.

The Greatest Generation.

Dead Page: Rock and Roll Musicians Who Died in 2010-- Part 3

From Bob Stroud's Rock and Roll Roots Show from January 2, 2011.

RONNIE DIO-- Ronnie James Dio heavy metal guy died of cancer. To many, Metal's ultimate vocalist. Fronted his own band, Dio, and did a stint with Black Sabbath and Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. Stroud played "Man on the Silver Mountain" by Rainbow.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART-- Better known as this name, but real name was Don Van Vleit after suffering from MS for many years. Known for his experimental music and a good friend of Frank Zappa. Several of his albums are still considered avant garde classics. In 1966, he and his Magic Band came as close as they ever would to a hit with their cover of Bo Diddley's "Diddy Wah Diddy."

PETER QUAIFE-- the original bassist with the Kinks during their British Invasion heydays. With them until he departed in 1969. Stroud played "Tired of Waiting" and "You Really Got Me."

A Few More to Come. --Cooter

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tallying the Cost of America's Wars-- Part 2


COST: $20.1 billion

CIVIL WAR: UNION (1861-1865)

COST: $59.6 billion


COST: $9 billion

Too Many Lives, Too Much Money. --Cooter

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The American Family-- Part 2

Today, the nuclear family is all over the place what with so many single-parent households, gay adoptions and women either having fewer children or delaying childbirth.

Recession has continued as one constant indicator of American family size, however with dips in births and marriages immediately following the 1981-82, 1990-91 and 2001 recessions as well as today's downturn.


1957-- Leave it to Beaver typifies the 1950s nuclear family from a stable, middle-class home.

1970-- The main character on Mary Tyler Moore is a happily single, career-minded liberated woman.

1992-- Murphy Brown, another single, career-minded woman becomes a mother out of wedlock, causing public criticism.

2010-- Modern family depicts the exploits of a sprawling, extended-family that includes a gay couple and an adopted Asian daughter.

Watch the TV to Find Out. --DaCoot

FDR's New Deal and the Blue Ridge Parkway

On my Roadlog, I recently had an entry on the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway, something that I have never driven any great length, but would like to do the whole of it this summer if gas prices don't prevent it.

It was begun in 1935 as a way to connect the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Today, it covers 469 miles.

Most of the construction was done by private contractors, but there were several New Deal organizations like the Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps and Emergency relief Administration that participated as well.

You can find the New Deal entry on the January 10th entry at

Wow, 75 Years!! --Cooter

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The American Family-- Part 1

From Sept. 13, 2010 Time Magazine "Brief History: The American Family.

The economy of the United States has always had an impact on the American family.

The most recent downturn starting in 2008 has seen a drop in marriage and birth rates. And this number comes after the record 4.3 million births in 2007.

The American family of the 1700s was fairly egalitarian with both husband and wife working the farm and large numbers of children were needed to help. The Industrial Revolution of the 1800s started a movement to cities and work at home became separated from away. Children became economic burdens rather than contributors. Wages began rising and the idea of the man as the breadwinner took off.

In the 1930s, the Great Depression triggered a drop in the birthrate which picked again with the onset of World War II. The long period of postwar prosperity resulted in the baby-boom generation where the 1950s were defined by the 9-to-5 fathers and stay-at-home moms.

The feminist movement of the 60s and 70s pushed more women into the workplace and led to an increase in dual-income families.

More to Come. --Cooter

Two-World War Battleship Needs Repairs-- Part 2

Bidding on construction of the dry dock is expected to begin in mid-2014 with completion by 2017. Some vessels in England have already been dry birthed as planned, but nothing ever of this size.

Commissioned in 1914, the USS Texas is the oldest of the eight remaining US battleships and the last of the Dreadnaught class, patterned after the British warship of the same name. The Texas possessed unprecedented speed and armaments for the turn of the century a hundred years ago.

During World War II, it served as the American flagship. In 1940, it was again flagship od the US Atlantic Fleet. The ship participated in the D-Day invasion and was hit by a German shell off France, resulting in casualties.

Transferred to the Pacific, it was also at the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

The Texas' ten 14-inch guns fired 1,500 pound shells 12 miles. In 1948, the Texas was decommissioned and came under control of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and annually some 100,000 visit the ship.

Good News. --DaCoot.

Two-World War Battleship Needs Repairs-- Part 1

From the Nov. 27, 2010, Houston Chronicle "Last shot at preserving Battleship Texas underway" by Michael Graczyk, AP.

Once called the "most powerful weapon on the planet" this relic of the past, the only remaining battleship to have fought in both World War I and World War II, the USS Texas is in peril.

For the last sixty years, it has been moored in the Houston Ship Canal, rusting away and in desperate need of overhaul.

An attempt is being made to place the 573-foot-long, 34,000 ton vessel in a unique dry dock, permanently removing the ship from the water.

Three years ago, Texas voters approved a $25 million bond to save the ship which has been moored since 1948 next to the San Jacinto Battlegroud, where Texas got its independence from Mexico.

Always Great When Such a Significant Part of Our Past is Saved. --Cooter

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dead Page: Rock and Roll Musicians Who Died in 2010-- Part 2

MIKE EDWARDS-- the original cellist for Electric Light Orchestra. Killed in a freak accident when a giant bale of hay rolled out of a field, down a slope and onto the van Edwards was driving on the highway. He was killed instantly. Bob Stroud played "Showdown" and "Strange Magic."

ALEX CHILTON-- Leaf vocalist of the Memphis Band Box Tops died of a heart attack at age 59. After the Box Tops, he went on to co-found Big Star in the early 70s. Not a commercial success, but had a hard corps cult following and became critics' darlings and were the inspiration for many alternative bands, including REM. Stroud played "The Letter" by the Box Tops and "September Girls" by Big Star.

JIMMY ROGERS-- A personal friend and hometown hero of Bob Stroud. Lead vocalist with the 1960s Chicago band Mauds lost his life to cancer. The Mauds were from Chicago's North Shore and made their mark emulating their R&B heroes. They had two charted hits in Chicago, both making their CD debuts on the Rock and Roll Roots CD series. Stroud played 1967's hit "Hold On, I'm Coming" a cover of Sam and Dave and 1968's "Soul Drippin'." The horn section and keyboard on "Soul Drippin'" was from an as-yet unsigned band in town calling themselves Big Thing who later changed their name to Chicago.

Still More to Come. --DaCoot

Tallying the Cost of America's Wars-- Part 1



WAR OF 1812-- (1812-1815)

COST: $1.6 billion

MEXICAN WAR-- (1846-1848)

COST: $2.4 billion

More Wars to Come. --Cooter

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Costs of America's Wars-- Part 2


In today's money I presume.

World War II-- $4.1 trillion
Afghanistan/Iraq-- 1.1 trillion
Vietnam War-- $738 billion
Korean War-- $341 billion
World War I-- $334 billion

Rough On Lives, Rough on the Old Purse. --DaCoot

The Costs of America's Wars-- Part 1

From the Jan. 6, 2011 Chicago Tribune "Tallying the cost of war: How the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq compare with other American wars in human and financial terms."

Last summer, the conflict in Afghanistan became the longest war in US history.


World War II-- 16.1 million
Vietnam-- 8.7 million
Korean War-- 5.7 million
World War I-- 4.7 million
Civil War-- 3.3 million

Afghanistan/Iraq 2,142,719


World War II-- 291,557
Civil War-- 214,938 (both Union and Confederate)
World War I-- 53,402
Vietnam War-- 47,434
Korean War-- 33,739

Afghanistan/Iraq-- 5,859

More to Come. --Cooter

Dead Page: Rock 'n Roll Musicians Who Died in 2010-- Part 1

DJ Bob Stroud's Rock and Roll Roots show this past Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011, on WDRV, the Drive in Chicago, was dedicated to those in the field who died this past year. He would say a few words about them, then play a song or two by them

ROBERT LESTER-- of the Chi-Lites, one of the great Chicago soul groups who rose to prominence in the early 1970s, charting 11 Top Ten R&B hits and had a huge crossover with "Oh, Girl" which was sung by him.

JOHNNY MAESTRO-- of the Crests and Brooklyn Bridge. Lost his battle with cancer. While with the Crests had hit songs with "16 Candles," "Step By Step" and "The Angels Listened In." He had a huge hit with Jimmy Webb's classic "Worst That Could Happen" with the Brooklyn Bridge. They also had the hit "Welcome Me Love."

DALE HAWKINS-- Rock and Roll pioneer in the fifties. His swamp rock.boogie thing laid the groundwork for a style that still stands today. In the 1960s, he became a top record producer, most famously producing all the hits for the Five Americans.

Bob played Hawkins' original version of "Suzie Q" from 1957. Creedence Clearwater Revival had a big hit with it eleven years later. He also played the Five Americans' "Western Union."

I Also Liked "Zip Code" by the Five Americans. --Cooter

Thursday, January 6, 2011

No More Nancy at Comiskey Park-- Part 2

What about that song "Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye?" The song you hear at ballparks all over.

"It was in 1977, the 'South Side Hit Men,' and we were vying for first place with Kansas City, so the fans were really charged, and they were responding to everything. But when I played 'Na na Hey Hey Goodbye, they all sang. I'd never heard anything like that, and neither had the writers, evidently, and it just made such an impact that it was written about." She didn't even know the name, thinking it was called "Sha Na Na."

The song was actually by a studio group called Steam, their one and only hit which went all the way to #1. Actually, the official name is "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye."

Nancy was born in 1947 and only missed five scheduled games during her tenure, once because of the birth of her son. In the 1970s, she was part of a group of extremely popular people out at Comiskey which included announcers Harry Caray, Jimmy Piersall and my favorite, Andy the Clown.

Mercury Records credited a spike in sales of the song to Nancy.

The song essentially is a taunt to visiting clubs and played after a Sox home run, an opposing pitcher being relieved or a victory.

Well, we are sure going to miss Nancy, she was such a part of the whole Sox experience.

Gone But Not Forgotten. --Cooter

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bowl Game Facts-- Part 2

I have only ever been to one bowl game, the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida, the year Tennessee played Northwestern. Our purple colors were swallowed up by all that Vol orange. Unfortunately, the Wildcats lost, but did give a good battle until for the first quarter.

** IN 1998, THE CONTROVERSIAL Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was instituted to determine the national champion.

** THE ONLY YEAR THE SUGAR BOWL was not played in New Orleans was 2006, when the game was moved to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta after the Superdome suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina.

** IN 1947, RIVALS Louisiana State University and the University of Arkansas met in the Cotton Bowl, a game that ended in a scoreless tie.

** THE ORIGINAL NAME FOR THE ROSE BOWL was the "Tournament east-west football game" and was started to feature the best college football team from the east against the best from the west. (For many years it was the Big Ten champ against the PAC-10's best).

I sure wish they'd drop the BCS and go with a playoff series like in basketball.

I'm Not Saying Who I Want to Win the Championship Game This Monday. --DaCoot

Bowl Game Facts-- Part 1

From the Fall 2010/Winter 2011 Catch the Action paper.

Since we are finishing up all the Bowl Games between college football teams, I found this of interest.

** THE FIRST BOWL GAME was played in January of 1902 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

** ONE OF THE GAME'S MOST historical bowl games, the Orange Bowl, got its start on January 1, 1935. Bucknell beat the University of Miami 26-0.

** FROM 1946-1949, the Raisin Bowl pitted a California school against an at-large team. San Jose State University twice won the bowl.

** THE ROSE BOWL is affectionately nicknamed "The Granddaddy of 'Em All."

A Bowlin' We Go. --Cooter

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

No More Nancy at Comiskey Park-- Part 1

It just won't be the same out at Comiskey Park (I don't call it that other name) in Chicago next year with the retirement of White Sox organist Nancy Faust after 41 years.

The Chicago Tribune ran an interview with her on October 3, 2010.

She was a big part of the Sox experience going back to 1970. She definitely set the standard for ballpark organists. I remember walking over to the organ which was accessible to fans at the old Comiskey. She was always smiling and really enjoyed doing her job.

She said, during the 41 years she never missed a game until her son Eric was born. he is 27 now and took his first steps in center field.

Her mother was a professional musicians who played a lot of functions and one day she had a conflict and Nancy filled in. Sox executive Stu Holcomb called about a month before opening day in 1970 and asked if she would be interested in playing at home games. he wanted her to play an appropriate song each time a Sox player came to bat.

Before that, she had only attended two baseball games on birthday parties for a friend who loved Rocky Colavito.

More to Come on Mrs. Sox. --DaCoot

Gone in 2010-- Part 4

In addition to those folks listed in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Dec. 31, 2010, Chicago Tribune also ran their own list. I came across some more deaths of people who had an impact on my life.

TOM BOSLEY, 83-- actor "Happy Days" Good old Mr. C.

DIXIE CARTER, 70-- actress "Designing Women" A sane voice with all those nuts.

RUE McCLANAHAN, 76-- actress "Golden Girls" Senior sluttiness was never so funny.

DON MEREDITH 72-- Dallas Cowboys qb, Monday Night Football. I hate the Cowboys, but loved his comments and singing on MNF. It's time to really "Turn out the lights."

MITCH MILLER, 99-- entertainer "Sing Along with Mitch." OK, let's follow that bouncing ball.

As You Can See, I Like My TV. --Cooter

Monday, January 3, 2011

Gone in 2010-- Part 3

More of last year's deaths. Definitely not all of them, but these are some that had more of an impact on me.


JEFFERSON THOMAS, 67-- one of 9 black students to integrate Little Rock, Arkansas' Central High School.



JOSEPH STEIN, 98-- Turned a Yiddish short story into "Fiddler on the Roof."


SPARKY ANDERSON, 76-- Baseball manager of those great 70s Cincinnati Reds teams.


RON SANTO, 70-- My favorite Chicago Cub.

LESLIE NIELSEN, 84-- "And don't call me Shirley!" actor in "Airplane" and "Naked Gun" movies.

BOB FELLER, 92-- Hall of Fame Cleveland Indian pitcher.

Some Really greats. --DaCoot

Gone in 2010-- Part 2


ART LINKLETTER, 97-- TV-- "Kids Say the Darndest Things"

DENNIS HOPPER, 74-- Actor "Rebel Without a Cause" and "easy Rider"-- a great road trip and soundtrack.


JOHN WOODEN, 99-- college basketball coach of the UCLA Dynasty.

JACK HARRISON, 97-- a survivor of World War II's "Great Escape"

JIMMY DEAN, 81-- "Big Bad John" and sausage entrepreneur.

EDITH SHAIN, 91-- The nurse in the famous World War II VJ Day photo.


GEORGE STEINBRENNER, 80-- Rebuilt the Yankees. I DON'T LIKE the Yankees.

DAVID WARREN, 85-- inventor of the airplane "black box" flight data recorder.

THEO ALBRECHT, 86-- co-founder of the Aldi grocery stores where I do a lot of shopping.

Finishing Up Tomorrow. --Cooter

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Top Ten New Year's Traditions and Superstitions-- Part 2

5. FIRST FOOTER-- referring to the first person to set foot in your house New Year's Day. (We won't have anybody coming into this house today, other than when I went out to get the newspaper earlier today. We are going over to a friend's house to watch some Bowl games later. I think some others will beat us over there so we'll be second or third footers.)

4. NOTHING SHOULD LEAVE THE HOUSE-- (We're leaving it later.)

3. LAY LOW AND DO NOTHING-- For some, that is a necessity after the night before. But as Liz and I get older, that isn't such a problem. The big problem is staying up until midnight New Year's Eve.)

2. EAT, EAT1-- Food that is supposed to have good things if you eat it today:

GRAPES-- eat one for each month
PORK-- pigs root forward, a good omen
BLACK-EYED PEAS-- you'll get a buck for each one
LENTILS-- resemble coins
GREENS-- resemble money

(We'll be eating the Black-eyed peas and summer sausage.)

1. WHAT YOU DO NEW YEAR'S DAY, YOU WILL DO ALL YEAR-- (We'll be drinkin', eatin' and enjoying friends. I can live with that."

So, Now You Know. --DaCoot

Top Ten New Year's Traditions and Superstitions-- Part 1

Thanks Uncle Bo. From

For more information and pictures, go to the site.

10. FIREWORKS-- also cheering, singing and noisemakers to scare away evil spirits. (We sure had lots and lots of fireworks around here this morning, plus there was a great display over Chicago's Lake Michigan.)

9. MAKING RESOLUTIONS-- The biggies: paying off debt, losing weight, exercising more and stopping smoking. (I resolve not to spend as much time on these dumb blogs.) (Tight!)

8. PAYING OFF DEBT-- Actually should be done before today so you can start off the year out of debt.

7. KISSING AT MIDNIGHT-- Definitely a rough time to be single. It's a symbol of love which will last all year.

6. SINGING "AULD LAND SYNE"-- A Scottish poem from the 1700s, literally translated "old long since."

Five More to Come. --Cooter

Gone in 2010-- Part 1

From the Jan. 1, 2010, Chicago Sun-Times. They listed quite a few more, but I just picked the ones that had an impact on me. Many of these were discussed in my Dead Page entries. Hit the Dead Page label at bottom.


TSUTOMU YAMAGUCHI, 93-- survivor of both World War II atomic blasts. (WWII)

MIEP GIES, 100-- Dutch office secretary who helped hide Anne Frank's family during German Occupation of Amsterdam. She also saved Anne's diary. (WWII)

GLEN W. BELL, 86-- Founder of Taco Bell. (Love those tacos, especially the Baja Fish taco and those $2 value meals.)


PETER GRAVES, 83-- actor in "Airplane!" and TV show Mission Impossible. (What a great pilot!)

MORRIS JEPPSON, 87-- weapons test officer on Enola Gay and helped arm the atomic bomb at Hiroshima. Mr. Yamaguchi and Mr. Jeppson's lives crossed. (WWII)

More to Come. --DaCoot

And, a Happy 1-1-11

It's January 1, 2011, which means it is 1-1-11. I wonder how long it will take me to start writing 2011 on my checks?

This is the youngest of my four blogs. My very first blog entry was Dec. 14, 2007, and I amassed 17 entries for the year. This blog started off as part of the Down Da Road blog, but eventually I had to spin it off when I was having so many history entries.

Of course, now, this one is probably 80% or more World War II.

This is the 1389th entry.

My other blogs:

ROADS: http://roaddog'

As We Lose the Greatest Generation. --Cooter