Friday, April 29, 2011

Dead Page: Music and Lucy


Discovered music artists Doug Sahm and Barbara Lewis and produced Freddy fender's "Before the Next Teardrop Falls." Died April 23rd. Spent 15 years in prison for sex with underage girls.

I can't say much for his private life, but I sure like what he did musically. I'm a big Doug Sahms, Freddy Fender and Barbara Lynn fan. Doug Sahms was with the Sir Douglas Qunintet "She's About a Mover." And he was a big mover in Tejano music, forming the group Texas Tornadoes with Freddy Fender, Augie Meyers and Flaco Jiminez.

Barbara Lynn had big hits with "Hello Stranger," "baby, I'm Yours" and "Make Me Your Baby."


"I Love Lucy" writer. Died April 20th. She and writing partner Bob Carroll, Jr., crafted all the episodes for the CBS TV series for the first four years and were then joined by two other writers.

I'm a big "Lucy" fan.

You've got some 'splainin' to do.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Yet Another Pearl Harbor Story

From the Dec. 6, 2008,

On Dec. 6, 1941, Arthur Zaccaria, 87, and some Army buddies were planning to go to Pearl Harbor to meet four sailors on the USS Arizona. At the time, he was 20 and in the infantry.

They ended up going to Honolulu instead that night and returned to their bunks at Schoield Barracks, 30 miles from Pearl Harbor.

The four sailors they were going to visit were among the missing the next day and presumed dead. Good thing they didn't visit and stay.

The Nassau-Suffolk (NY) Pearl Harbor Survivors Association has just 6 members left. At its peak in the 1970s, they had 38 according to Bill Halleron, 90. All too often,they get together to attend the funerals of old buddies.

Other mebers remaining:

RICHARD ABELES, 87, of Bay Shore, radioman on the USS Dale.
FRANK CASTRONOVO, 90, of Elmont, at Schofield Barracks.
ANDREW TERRONO, 90, of Mossapequa, on the USS Tennessee.
MICHAEL MONTELIONE, 89, of Farmingdale.

Halleron gave his nineteen-year-old grandson a piece of aluminum from the Japanese plane shot down by his ship, the USS Phoenix.

Heroes, All. --Cooter

Unrestored Tucker Sells for $797,500-- Part 1

From the January 30, 2011, Chicago Tribune "Unearthed Tucker" by Paul Duchene.

Tucker Automobile No. 1010 was found in a ramshackle Auburn, Washington, garage in October 2010 where it had been parked for 54 years. On Jan. 22nd, it sold for $797,500 even though it was not running.

The last two Tuckers to be sold went for over a million each. This one is very restorable. Most restorations of Tuckers cost around $250,000 to $350,000, but $400,000 is expected to make it museum quality.

It is turquoise colored and is the tenth of fifty pilot cars built by Preston Tucker in 1948 as he tried to launch a car that would have changed the US auti industry.

Designed by Alex Tremulis, the design was groundbreaking at the time. Only 60 inches high (lowest production sedan) it had a 128-inch wheelbase, one of the largest. The engine was a rear-mounted 335 cubic-inch, 200-horsepower, 6-cylinder designed from an aircraft design.

There were pop-out safety windows, padded dash, center headlight that turned with the front wheels and independent suspension. It was designed to cruise at 100 mph and get up to 30 mpg at that speed!!

Quite an Impressive Car. --DaCoot

New Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, DC

From the March 30th USA Today.

After 15 years of planning and nearly five years of construction. the MLK, Jr., National memorial will be officially open August 28, 2011, the anniversary of his "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963. It features three granite sculptures overlooking the Tidal Basin and the Jefferson Memorial.

he is the first non-president to be honored on the Mall.

Visitors will enter through the "Mountain of Despair and then go to the "Stone of Hope." This is a reference to a line from his "I Have a Dream" speech.

There will be a 3,000 square-foot bookstore, two inscription walls with King's messages.

Landscaping will have Yoshino cherry trees and 35 elm trees.

The statue of Dr. King is 28 feet 6 inches tall (dwarfing those of Jefferson (19 feet) Lincoln (19 feet). It was authorized by Congress in 1996 and sculpted in China by Lei Yi Xin.

Cost of the memorial is $120 million, mostly raised by private donations. Site covers 4 acres.

Something Else to See in DC. --Cooter

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dead Page: Teleprompter-- "Poetry Man"-- CDs

Some recent deaths of interest to me.


Holder of 18 patents and was a key member of the team that invented the teleprompter, died April 20th. Never used one himself until he was 88. What would the president have done without him?


Sang "Poetry Man" the breezy, jazzy song. Soon after its release in the 1975, she gave birth to a brain-damaged daughter and gave up her career to take care of her. Died April 26th.

Just try to get that song out of your head now. "I'm you _____ ___."


Former president and chairman of Sony Corporation, Japan. Credited with developing the CD. I love my CDs, although fighting to keep the LP. Those CDs sure are more handy than the LPs. I have thousands of them.

Love My CDs, Right Poetry Man? --Cooter

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

King Tut's Toot

From the April 17th BBC "Recreating the sound of Tutankhamen's trumpets" by Christine Finn.

When Howard Carter entered King Tut's tomb in 1922, along with all the other stiff, they found two trumpets, one silver and the other bronze. They had been left in the tomb in the Valley of the Kings 3,000 years ago.

They were at the Cairo Museum until the uprising a few months ago and the bronze one was stolen. It is one of the oldest surviving musical instruments. Fortunately, the silver one was on tour. Even better, the bronze one was recovered.

Both are fragile and rarely played. Back in 1939, the Egyptian Antiquities Service and the BBC broadcast both of the trumpets being played to an estimated 150 million listeners.

If you go to the article, you can hear the broadcast. To think that King Tut may have heard these played gives you a real sense of history.

Search King Tut's Trumpets.

Give It a Listen. --DaCoot

A Little Borders If You Please

From the Feb. 17th USA Today.

I must admit that I wasn't happy at all that they closed my local Borders store in McHenry, Illinois down. Last day was April 16th. That day, I also cancelled my Borders e-mail alerts as it is not likely I'll drive the thirty miles to Crystal Lake or Gurnee. Besides, like I said, I am not a happy camper about the whole thing.

Hopefully Barnes & Noble will take over the old store.

One bright spot; it will save me money.


The chain grew from an independent book store in Ann Arbor, Michigan, (yucks, UM) in 1971. (I was a sophomore at NIU and junior at UGA then.) It took its name from original owners, Tom and Louis Borders. It started to grow when they started using computers to help adjust inventories to their customers' tastes.

In 1991, the brothers sold the company to Kmart for $125 million. Kmart also owned Walden Books (I remember those bookstores from malls). Barnes & Nobles were expanding while Borders was trying to merge with Walden.

Kmart sold Borders in 1995 and the company couldn't keep pace with B&N. Then discount chains like Wal-Mart cut in, then the massive Amazon.

Another problem was three CEOs in three years. Back in February, Borders filed for bankruptcy protection and announced that 200 of its 488 stores were closing.

Let's Hope This Doesn't Lead to the Overall Demise of Bookstores. I've Already Lost Most of My Mom and Pop Record Stores. --Cooter

Monday, April 25, 2011

Singing "Take me Out to the Ball Game" at Wrigley Field

This past Saturday, the Canadian band Arcade Fire sang the 7th inning stretch at Wrigley Field in Chicago, home of the Cubs.

I hadn't heard of them until their two performances on the Grammys and was so impressed, I bought their "Suburbs" album. Who says Rock and Roll is Dead, having been killed by rap and hip-hop?

This was from the Friday Chicago Tribune which was hoping it might put some spark in the Cubs (it did, they won).

Arcade Fire joined a list of nearly 600 performers who have exhorted fans to, "Root, root, root for the Cubbies" since 1998 from the beloved (Ron Santo) to the bumbling (Ozzy Osbourne). Then there was "Must Be in the Front Row" Bob Uecker who sang to root for the Brewers.

The Cubs have been inviting celebrities to sing the song ever since the death of sportscaster Harry Caray in 1998 (has it been that long?). However, they have been turned down by Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan.

They've Never Asked DaCoot to Sing. What Gives There? --DaCoot

British King and Queen Stuff I Didn't Know

From the April 24th Parade Magazine "Walter Scott's Personality Parade.

I don't plan to watch it, a little too much ET and People for me. But I am interested in the historical aspect of Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding this Friday.

Q: Why isn't Queen Elizabeth's husband called prince and not king?

A: As husband of the queen, Prince Philip, 89, is a consort, not a king. He holds the title of Duke of Edinburgh. The spouse of a male British monarch can take the title of queen.

I always wondered why he wasn't King Philip.

Q; If something happens to Princes William and Harry, who would take the throne after their father, Prince Charles?

A: Charles' brother, Prince Andrew, 51. Followed by his daughters, Beatrice, 22, and Eugenie, 21, and his brother Prince Edward, 47.

When does Cooter get his chance? King Cooter or King Coot. Has a nice ring, doesn't it?

Q: How many dogs has Queen Elizabeth owned?

A: Since getting here first corgi as an 18th-birthday present, she has owned 30 others and currently has four. She also has three dorgis (when one of her corgis mated with Princess Margaret's dachshund).

I'll be doggone.

So, Now You Know. --Cooter

Friday, April 22, 2011

North Carolina's Fort Johnston

From the Historic Southport, North Carolina site by Dr. Michael D. Hogan.

I have already written about the fort, but will add some more information.

Today, only one structure remains of Fort Johnston.

At the start of the Revolution, British Royal Governor Martin fled here from New Bern and then to the British warship HMS Cruizer (or Cruzier). The colonists took the fort and millet stores and dismantled the cannons as they were in range of the British man-of-war.

From the March 27, 2010, Wilmington (NC) Star-News article by Amy Hotz.

Before there was a Southport, there was a Smithville, and before that, there was a Fort Johnston.

East Carolina University students have found artifacts at Fort Johnston's site dating back 260 years. In May, 2010, the Southport Branch of the North Carolina Maritime Museum moved to the fort. Improvements were made to the existing building as well as a new building and walkways.

A survey was needed, though because of the area's historical significance. "Shovel tests" every ten feet in a 30-by-30-foot area found brick and mortar, a lady's pin or broach, a Civil War bullet, bottle fragments and ceramic pieces. The earliest artifacts found at this test dated back to the early 1800s.

A Little-Known Historic Site. --Cooter

World War II Posters Revive Rally Cry--- Part 4

Leadenham continued, "The office commissioned many of the most famous commercial artists of the day. These posters were designed to have an effect on people to make them do something--Buy War Bonds!-- or think bad thoughts about the enemy or remember our values."

The Office of War Information (OWI) placed posters into five categories-- the five N's:

** The nature of our allies
** The nature of our enemy
** The need to work
** The need to sacrifice
** The need to fight.

All five categories are in the Hoover Institute's collection as well as Rader's.

Both have Norman Rockwell's famous Four Freedoms-- "Freedom of Speech," "Freedom of Worship," "Freedom from Fear" and the famous Thanksgiving table "Freedom from Want." A set of the four original 28-by-40-inch posters goes for $3000 on eBay.

The OWI series "This is the Enemy" crosses the political-correctness line. One features a Nazi hand clutching a dagger stabbing the Bible. Another features Japanese soldiers with bug-like features.

Leadenham adds, "You have to put these posters into context. You have to understand what was going on back then. We were at war."

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois, had an exhibit of war time posters several years back. I spend quite awhile at it looking and reading about them and have been interested in then ever since.

Save That Old Stuff. You Never Know When It Might make You Rich. --DaCoot

World War II Posters Reviving the Battle Cry-- Part 3

I started this entry back on April 6th.

Owner Vernon Rader recalls a salesman coming into his office and seeing his World War II collection, told him he had a friend with a huge collection of era posters and would he be interested in buying them.

Rader was, a deal was struck and all 346 posters arrived in a big box. Rader had originally offered to pay $30 for them, but when he saw how much postage the man had paid, upped it to $45.

"That was good money for those kinds of posters in the early '60s," Rader says.

Today, World War II posters in good shape can get from $200 to $3,000 according to Carol Leadenham, an archivist at Stanford University's Hoover Institution which possesses 100,000 propaganda posters. Finding posters in that good of a shape is uncommon.

Most of Rader's posters were produced by the Office of War Information (OWI) and all were printed between 1942 to 1945.

I wrote about several OWI photos connected to women working in factories on the home front earlier this month. See "War Production on the Home Front," parts 1-5.

More to Come. --Cooter

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wreck of the Submarine USS Flier (SS-25)

March 30, 2010, UPI.

A Toronto TV production company says it has located the wreck of the US submarine Flier which was sunk August 13, 1945.

The 1,525 ton Gato-class submarine was built in Groton, Connecticut and commissioned October 1943

Of the 86 aboard when it hit a mine, only 14 escaped. Of those, only 8 survived when they reached Palawan in the Philippines.

The ship was discovered by the father and son dive team of Mike and Warren W. Fletcher 330 feet deep. They star in the "Dive Detectives" series on The History Channel in Canada.

Always Good News When a Lost Ship is Found. --Cooter

Last Public Hanging in Lake County, 1874

From the March 16, 2010 Daily Herald.

The last public hanging in Lake County, Illinois, where I lived for 18 years, occurred Feb. 27, 1874. Christopher Rafferty of Cook County (Chicago) had killed Chicago police officer Patrick O'Meara.

On August 4, 1872, Rafferty was in a saloon on South Halstead in Chicago when he was approached by two cops and told they had a warrant for arrest for a breach of peace charge for making improper noise and disturbing. Rafferty said he's shoot id they laid hands on him.

He turned to leave when O'Meara blocked the door and Rafferty drew a pistol and shot him. he also fired two shots at Officer Scanlon, but missed. Rafferty got away, but was captured the next day.

At trial, he was found guilty and sentenced to hang. Rafferty's attorney appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court because the fact that Rafferty was drunk at the time of the shooting had not been allowed into testimony. The court rules in his favor.

A second trial was held in Waukegan. The defense attorney tried to say the warrant was invalid as the police magistrate left blank warrants on his desk that officers could fill out.

Witnesses said that O'Meara had it in for Rafferty.

There ended up being a third trial where Rafferty was found guilty despite much evidence and many witnesses to the contrary and the man met his death at the gallows.

A Case of Blind Justice? --DaCoot

Sunken Canadian Ship, Princess Kathleen, Leaking Oil

From the March 2, 2010, Epoch Times.

The Canadian steamship Princess Kathleen of the Canadian Pacific Line, sank in 1952 with 153,000 gallons of fuel aboard. That fuel has now started to leak out of the 394-foot-long, 5,900 ton ship, raising environmental concerns.

At the time of sinking, the Princess Kathleen was carrying 307 passengers when it ran aground and sank ten hours later. All passengers made it to shore in life boats and many pictures were taken.

The company had a large fleet of Princess ships as part of its attempt to develop a coastal cruise ship line in the 1820s and 1930s, serving the Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle triangle.

It was built in 1925 and during World War II was converted into a troopship.

On September 7, 1952, it was off course when it ran aground at Lena Point on Alaska's Lynn Canal at low tide. Later it was found that its radar wasn't working. Operations to remove the fuel began the following month.

Something from the Past Comes Back. --Cooter

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Shot Heard Round the World-- Part 2

By the time Sudbury's citizens reached Concord, the fight at Lexington, "The Shot Heard Round the World" had already taken place. Eight colonists were dead. The British continued their march on Concord.

At North Bridge, they clashed with the Sudbury men and others, about 450 in all. Two Sudbury men died, but the British were forced to withdraw. On their way back to Boston, close to 4,000 patriots attacked and sniped at them.

Every year, on April 19th, men from Sudbury re-enact the march to Concord after first going to the cemetery where 15 slain townspeople are buried. Five hours later, they re-enact the shots fired at North Bridge.


Afterwards, they return to Sudbury and convene at Longfellow's Wayside Inn, the oldest operating inn in America and hoist brews in pewter mugs. The inn has been offering hospitality to travelers along the Boston Post Road since 1716.

Most likely, in 1775, it was called How's Tavern when innkeeper Ezekiel How was among the militia leaders who led the force to Concord. After visiting the place in 1862, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote Tales of a Wayside Inn.

Later, Henry Ford owned it and relocated on its property a one-room schoolhouse associated with the 18th-century nursery-rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb.

Great History in Sudbury. --Cooter

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shot Heard Round the World...01776-- Part 1

Today marks the 236th anniversary of the "Shot Heard Round the World" as it has been called. It was the first time British forces and American colonists shot at each other in the field of battle.

This week's American Profile Magazine had an article "The Spirit of 01776," on the Massachusetts town of Sudbury, proud holder of Zip Code 01776. In 1963, the US Postal Service assigned the town the number 01776 under its Zoning Improvement Plan.

And they claim it is fitting because no village sent more volunteer militia, 348, to face the British at the battles of Lexington and Concord all those years ago. Each April 19th, the town honors their forebears with a 12-mile march to Concord.

Sufbury was one of the villages west of Boston, which, on the night of April 18-19, 1775, received word that British general Thomas Gage was going to march out of Boston to Concord to seize stockpiled munitions.

Paul Revere got all the publicity for the riders who warned the colonists, but Sudbury was alerted by rider Abel Prescott, Jr., of Concord.

A large group of Minutemen immediately assembled and marched to Concord. Some had rifles or pistols, but others only had pitchforks.

Sound the Alarm. Who Is Coming? --Cooter

Jewish World War II Veterans Recall Fight-- Part 4

For Jack Heiman, 90, of Northbrook, the mission to defeat the Nazis and Hitler was more personal. He was born in Germany and saw the Nazis "tighten the noose" on Jews, especially after Kristallnacht, the 1938 attack on Jewish homes, businesses and neighborhoods throughout Germany.

In 1939, the 18-year-old fled to England. His widowed mother joined him and in 1940, they came to Chicago where he was drafted into the Army in 1943, and requested to serve in an intelligence unit in Europe, where his ability to speak German would come into use.

"I wanted to get an American uniform with a rifle on my backpack, and march back into the village that I came from. I wanted those bastards to see that I survived," Heiman said.

However, the Army shipped him to Okinawa where he spent the war in the Pacific Theater.

The Greatest Generation. --DaCoot

US Historical Stamps

I received mail from the Mystic Stamp Company from Camden, New York offering 100 mint-fresh US stamps for $5 with free s&h.

I'm not much into stamp-collecting, but like to look at them.

One was a 4-cent 1962 Project Mercury, the first US man-in-space program.

Others: 1/2 cent Franklin from the 1938 Presidential series.

Six "Overrun Countries" from 1943-1944.

A one-cent Beardless Lincoln from 1959.

Very first "Love" stamp from 1973.

One "Honoring Those Who Helped Fight Polio."

An Ohio Sesquicentennial stamp

A 3 cents "Honoring Those Who Have Served."

3-cent Red Cross "Founded-1864"

1-cent Stamp honoring Jones of the Bon Homme Richard and Barry of the Lexington Revolutionary War Naval officers and ships.

One for Bunker Hill

22-cent Statue of Liberty Liberty 1886-1986

4-cent 1960 Pony Express

Quite a Bit of History in Those Stamps. --Cooter

Monday, April 18, 2011

Last Five Surviving World War II Doolittle Raiders Reunite

From the April 17th KETH 7 TV, Omaha, Nebraska.

There is a really good video of the reunion.

Ashland, Nebraska-- All five surviving members of Doolittle's Raid met over the weekend to mark today's 69th anniversary of what their leader, Lt. Colonel James Doolittle described as a "dangerous, secret mission."

Dick Cole, 26 at the time but 95 today, said, "I remember we were just a bunch of young people that answered the call. The raiders don't like to be singled out. We were just part of the big effort. Allies to take on the enemy."

He vividly recalls the Japanese friendship medals that they attached to five of the bombs they dropped over Japan April 18, 1942.

They launched 16 B-25 Mitchell bombers from the USS Hornet. Before that, it was believed that it was impossible to have a bomber take off from an aircraft carrier.

The bombs did little actual damage, but were a big jump to US spirits and a blow to Japanese morale, coming just five months after Pearl Harbor.

True Heroes, As Were All. --DaCoot

Jewish World War II Veterans Recall Fight-- Part 3

There was an interesting photo of Courtney Shanken and his twin brother Earl taken in Manduria, Italy in 1944 after they had both finished 50 missions which allowed them to be sent home. I wonder if they went on the same plane on the missions? They were standing in front of a wall with the words:

50th Mission-- Ploesti
51st Mission-- Chicago

Said Courtney, "I just felt I was fighting for my country. We were at war and our freedoms were at stake-- this madman wanted to take over the world. Hitler wasn't just the enemy of the Jews-- he was the enemy of the United States of America."

Shanken and his brother were one of the few in their squadron to complete 50 missions. He returned home, got married, started a family and started Wipeco, a janitorial supply company in Hillside.

More to Come. --Cooter

Smithsonian Readers Pick Their Top Five Events of the Last 40 Years-- Part 2

Some other choice by readers: cell phones, homeland security, DVDs (I liked the VHS), iPods, computer on every desk, computer mouse, space shuttles, HIV, ATMs, Soviet Union collapse, international terrorism and bottled water.

4. BARACK OBAMA'S ELECTION-- "Another nail in the coffin of narrow-mindedness and a breath of fresh air." --Nan Roche, College Park, Md. (I wrestled with the decision, but finally decided he was making too many promises of change and didn't vote for him. It appears I was right.)

5. PERSONAL COMPUTER-- "It was never imagined that everyone could afford their own, let alone take it with then wherever they go." --Molly Sabatino, Geneva, Illinois. (As I sit here typing away on one. Even have a laptop. Remember those huge monstrosities that filled a whole room in the early days?).

You can pick your own Top 5 by searching Top Five US Events of the Last 40 Years/40th Anniversary. You can also see the top fives of others.

Other Than #4 (I'd Go With the Cell Phone), These Five Are Good With Me. --DaCoot

Smithsonian Readers Pick Five Most Important Events of the Last 40 Years-- Part 1

From the July/August Smithsonian Magazine.

For the magazine's 40th anniversary, they asked readers to pick their top five most important events of those 40 years. These are the top vote-getters of the first 100 to submit their choices and selected comments. My thoughts in parentheses.

1. THE INTERNET-- "The internet has not only changed the way we research things, but for better or worse has created a society of low-attention-span human beings." --Laura Shadle, St. Cloud, Florida. (I wish I didn't spend so much time on my four dumb blogs. Darn you, internet.)

2. SEPTEMBER 11TH-- The day is "forever ingrained in the national and global psyche, and the events of that day continue to impact our lives." --Donna Vinson, Walanae, Hawaii. (No kidding, I remember if every time I check in at the airport and have a few choice words to say to Osama and his ilk.)

3. FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL-- "It indicated that the world can change, and that is hopeful to our current times." --Toni Nelson, Wimberley, Texas. (I never thought it would come down. I grew up with the Cold War and never thought it would end either.)

More to Come. --Cooter

Friday, April 15, 2011

Jewish World War II Veterans Recall Fight-- Part 2

Howard Haas, 90, of Glencoe, says that one of his bombing missions took him directly over Auschwitz, but at the time he didn't know about the extent of the atrocities taking place below him. "We flew over Auschwitz, but we didn't know Auschwitz was a death camp. We just thought it was a concentration camp." Mr. Haas is the former president and CEO of Sealy Mattress Company.

Even had they had the knowledge, they still wouldn't have attacked, "We couldn't have bombed Auschwitz from 22,000 feet. We would have killed more Jews than the Germans did."

Courtney Shanken, 89, of Highland Park was also at the University of Chicago and enlisted in the Army Air Corps with his twin brother Earl. He became a navigator and had 50 combat missions over Europe and was part of the Normandy diversionary force.

The Shankens bombed airplane factories, railroads and oil fields. Whenever the mission took them over German, Shanken removed his dog tags that identified him as a Jew, knowing that the Nazis would probably give him major mistreatment.

More to Come. --Cooter

War Production on the Home Front-- Part 5

Another person commented that their mother had worked in a similar place during the war in Connecticut's Naugatuck Valley. She was an inspector for clocks and gauges that went into submarines and planes.

All able-bodied women were "encouraged" to do their duty and assist in the war effort. Her grandmother cared for us kids as "her duty." Kids collected scrap metal and newspapers.

Everyone did their part.

Among the 95 photos of Alfred Palmer was one showing women preparing a P-51 Mustang for shipping at the Inglewood, California plant. However, instead of the US star on the side of the plane, there was the RAF insignia. This plane was being shipped to Britain for use in the Royal Air Force.

Allies cooperating.

Get 'Er Done!! --DaCoot

War Production on the Home Front-- Part 4

From an excellent series of photos on Shorpy, this one titled "A Woman's Work: 1942 from September 6, 2010. These pictures gave a good idea of World War II on the home front.

Taken October 2010. "Women become skilled shop technicians after careful training in the school at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant in Long Beach, California.

Planes made here include the B-17F Flying Fortress heavy bomber, A-20 assault bomber and C-47 transport."

Photo taken by Alfred Palmer for the Office of War Information. One person commented that Mr. Palmer took hundreds of photos most in black and white and supploed 95 more.

When you view the photos, which you can find at or just search the title, be sure to read the comments.

All for One, One for All. --Cooter

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jewish World War II Veterans Recall Fight-- Part 1

From the Nov. 10, 2010 Chicago Tribune "Jewish WWII vets recall fight against Nazis, Axis" by Robert Channick.

Four who had "H" for Hebrew-- on their dog tags.

"As Americans, they joined the Allied forces in defeating the Axis Powers. As Jews they fought to defeat Hitler, rescuing their European brethren from the atrocities of Nazi persecution."

An estimated 500,000 American Jews fought in American forces during the war. Four of these: Courtney Shanken, Howard Haas, Jack Heiman and Marshall Domash, spoke at Congregation Solel in Highland Park, Illinois, November 12th.

Author of the book "GI Jews," Deborah Dash Moore, says that when people think of Jews during the war, they think of victims of the Holocaust, not those who served.

Howard Haas left his freshman year at the University of Chicago in 1942 and enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He became a bombardier and in 1944 was a part of a B-24 crew stationed in Italy and bombing enemy positions throughout southern Europe, completing his required 50 missions from June to December of that year.

More to Come. --Cooter

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bits O' History: Oak Knoll Imploded-- Hitler-Mocking Dog

Bits O' History-- New History about old stuff.

1. OAK KNOLL IMPLODED-- The April 8th Napa Valley (Ca) Register reports that 800 pounds of dynamite was used to implode Oak Knoll Military Hospital. It was the last of a hundred barracks, stores and other structures on the 167-acre medical complex.

It opened during World War II for Pacific casualties and also served the wounded in the Korean and Vietnam wars. It was decommissioned in 2005 and will become a residential development.

Before it was a hospital, it was a golf course and country club.

2. HITLER-MOCKING DOG-- The Jan. 8th reported on a dog that really got the Nazis goat during World War II. They even started a campaign against Jackie's owner Tor Borg of Finland. It seems that, on command, Jackie would raise his foot in a German salute to Der Fuhrer. Some recently-found Nazi documents pertained to the case.

Now, You Know. --Cooter

Japanese Mass Graves Found on Iwo Jima

From the October 21, 2010 Toronto Star.

Two mass graves have been found on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima, site of a major World War II battle in 1945.

Japanese searchers discovered 51 remains in two areas listed on American maps from the war as being enemy cemeteries. One of these might contain as many as 2,000.

Almost all of the 22,000 Japanese soldiers on the island in the battle died.

The Japanese call it Iwoto Island.

Honor to the Enemy. --DaCoot

War Production on the Home Front-- Part 3

Continuing with some Shorpy photos.

"Drill and Tool: 1942" from August 20, 2010 photo.

"Women at work for victory, Republic Drill and Tool Company, Chicago. These young employees are operating cylindrical grinders which taper drills to a specific size.

Used in the manufacture of guns, ships and tanks, these drills demand precise and accurate grinding."

By Ann Rosener, Office of War Information.

There are about five young ladies sitting at machines in a row, all wearing some sort of safety goggles. Only one man in the back standing up. Appears to be some sort of a foreman.

One comment mentioned that Republic Drill and Tool Company was considered a very progressive company. Women made up most of the work force. They even had a beauty salon on the site and rewarded exceptional performance with free cosmerics and beauty treatments. A little sexist if you ask me.

It was a Whole War Effort. --Cooter

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Need to Mention the Firing on Fort Sumter

One hundred and fifty years ago today, Confederates at Charleston Harbor opened fire on Union Fort Sumter and the Civil War was on.

It was sad that it had to happen, but was inevitable as long as the system of slavery existed in the south. It was tried in the north, but didn't work.

It was this war that got me interested in history, and that has had a major impact on my life. It is why I am so interested in history. It is why I taught social studies for 33 years. It is why I have four blogs. This one is specifically dealing with history, especially World War II.

I also have blogs on the Civil War, old roads and old music. Between research and two-finger typing, I spend way more time on them than I should.

But, I really enjoy it. Especially now that we have the internet. It's like having the biggest library in the world right here in my basement. And it sure is faster to get the information than trudging around the stacks as I used to do.

No Fort Sumter and Who Knows the Course of My Life. --Cooter

War Production on the Home Front-- Part 2

This one photo sure says a lot about the US war effort.

Automobile factories were turned into ones making war machines. The most current technology was used. Women, the "Rosie the Riveters" left home to take the places of the men who were fighting the war.

However, men who remained at home were often the managers and foremen on the assembly lines.

Housing had to be provided for workers. Of course, this was the beginning of large-scale child care operations.

The term "Negro" wouldn't be used today, but was the common one back then. I couldn't help but think the caption was very flattering to Marietta Morgan, though. It was like she wasn't smart enough to figure out the operation by herself, only if a white man showed her.

Blacks also entered the work force at the factories in large numbers as well. No doubt they faced racism and segregation. I wonder if they received the same pay as white women (and wonder if white women were paid the same as white men). I doubt seriously that Ms. Morgan would have been able to buy a home in the nearby subdivision built for the workers.

One reader commented on the machine which was a "Hi-Pot" High Potential. Its purpose was to expose the potential to high voltage and low currents to see at what level it would break down.

There were some interesting comments on the racial aspect of the photo.

Well Worth a Look. --DaCoot

War Production on the Home Front-- Part 1

From October 17, 2010 Shorpy "20,000 Volts:1942" Search it for picture.

Photo taken July 1942 in Melrose Park, Illinois.

"Production of aircraft engines, Buick plant. Foreman F.I. Bowman shows Marietta Morgan how to operate this bomb-test machine used to test reconditioned spark plugs. A young Negro girl, Marietta had been a clerk at a meat market. Her lack of industrial experience, however, has been no handicap for her present war job in a large Midwest airplane plant. She's rapidly becoming a skilled and efficient machine operator."

This plant is still there, but now makes engines for International Harvester. A person commented that they live in a subdivision a half-mile away built for war-time workers at the factory.

This is a very interesting photo and caption. I doubt that it could be printed today in that context. It does bring to light many aspects of the war effort.

More to Come. --Cooter

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ten Bloodiest World War I Battles

From the

Numbers are for all casualties, both sides: killed, wounded and missing

10. Battle of Tannenberg-- 182,000
9. Battle of Arras-- 278,000
8. Battle of Gallipoli-- 473,000
7. First Battle of Marne-- 483,000
6. Serbian Campaign-- 634,000

5. Battle of Passchendale-- 848,000
4. Battle of Verdun-- 976,000
3. Battle of theSomme-- 1,219,000
2. Spring Offensive 1918-- 1,539,000
1. Hundred Days Offensive, 1918-- 1,855,000

Horrific Numbers.

USS North Carolina's 70th Anniversary-- Part 2

Dale States served on the North Carolina as a store keeper shortly after it was commissioned. "I never dreamed I'd be around here 70 years later, and I didn't expect the ship to be here either.

He served aboard less than two years and says he has too many memories of that time to count.

States remembers in 1942, while the ship was in Cuba, he almost missed the boat, "I could never walk out around the bay, so I jumped in the water, clothes and all and swam across. I caught the liberty ship. Never heard a thing about it."

During the six years the North Carolina was commissioned, more than 7,000 sailors and Marines served on her.

Sure Glad the State Saved This Ship. --DaCoot

USS North Carolina's 70th Anniversary-- Part 1

From the April 7th WWAY 3, ABC, Wilmington, NC.

A grand tour was given of the battleship USS North Carolina moored in Wilmington, North Carolina, in honor of the vessel's 70th anniversary and its 50th of its arrival in the port city.

There are 250 former crew members of the ship still living and 20 came for the celebration.

Said Ernest Kisperd, "I was assigned to the USS North Carolina right out of boot camp in Newport, Rhode Island" on December 23, 1940 and served 22 years in the Navy, 5 on the North Carolina.

He tries to drive from Missouri once a year to visit his former ship.

"Everybody I knew, they've all passed away or kind of old to travel, but every time I come visit the ship, I enjoy myself."

The Showboat!! --Cooter

Friday, April 8, 2011

SS New York, Treasure Ship

From the March 5, 2010, Daily Iberian.

Gary and Renee Hebert were diving World War II shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico when they came across the wreck of the SS New York which sank in 1846. After that, their hobby became a job after they got legal claim to it and formed the Gentlemen of Fortune Company.

Their goal is to unearth, remove debris and sand and recover as many artifacts as they can like the ship's bell, but especially the cache of rare and expensive coins.

The 365 ton, 160-feet long side wheel steamer New York (launched in 1837) carried 53 passengers and was en route from Galveston to New Orleans when it steamed smack into a hurricane and sank. Everyone survived but 17 died before rescue came from the SS Galveston.

Sunken treasure. I Can Dig It. --DaCoot

Dead Page: "Blue Jeans On"-- Internet-- Super Glue-- Old-Time Blues


Husky-voiced country songwriter-singer from Oklahoma died March 31st. He had hits with "Louisiana Saturday Night" in 1981 (which always got folks up on the dance floor and yelling when I played it while deejaying), "Stand Up" and "Big Ole Brew." His only #1 hit was 1985's "Baby Got Her Blue Jeans On."


Died March 27th and played a key role in the development of the internet. Boy, I sure love my internet. All that information right at my fingertips and that fast.


Creator of Super Glue. Cyanoucrylate was first discovered in 1942 during search for materials to make plastic gun sights for World War II. However, the stuff stuck to everything so it was rejected. Mr. Coover thought, why not glue.

Unfortunately, about the only thing I've ever been able to glue with it are my fingers. It does a real good job gluing those.


Born in 1913 in Belzoni, Mississippi and was in his 50s when he joined the Muddy Waters Band to begin his blues career. Played up until this year. More fun than a piano should have.

The Sad State of the SS United States

From the March 8, 2010, USA Today.

And, another ship slowly rusting away in Philadelphia. The SS United States, America's greatest ocean liner, from before the days of the floating hotels, is in danger of being scrapped.

Norwegian Cruise Lines currently owns it and set a deadline back then set a deadline for someone to buy it by April or it would meet the scrap heap.

Today, the one-time pride of America sits gutted and rusting, it's last voyage in 1969 and docked in Philadelphia since 1996. Dockage and maintenance costs $800,000 a year. Despite the fact it is on the National Register of Historic Places, that offers little protection.

It will take $3 million to save it and maintain it for two years.

It was built and launched in 1952 at the cost of $70 million, of which the government paid two-thirds of it for use as a troop ferry if needed.

It was incredibly sleek and a symbol of America's post-war supremacy. On its maiden voyage, it went from New York to England in three days, 10 hours and 40 minutes, breaking the Queen Mary's speed record which had stood for 14 years. Because of the possibility it would be used as a troopship, its top speed was classified.

Here's Hoping the Ship Is Saved. It Sure Looks More Like a Ship Than These Modern Monstrosities. --Cooter

Thursday, April 7, 2011

41st Anniversary of Kent State Coming Up

Last year was its 40th, on May 4th. I didn't get around to writing about it.

When President Nixon announced that we had sent troops into Cambodia this sparked big protests in the US, especially on college campuses. One such demonstration took place on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio.

The Ohio National Guard was called in to keep order. The protest went on from 11 am to 1:30 pm when the troops fired on the students, killing four and wounding others.

Today, you can take a walking tour of the sites and a visitors center is planned.

A big commemoration was planned last year and a recess at the time of the shooting.

Of course, this set off violent reactions at campuses all across the United States, including where I was a freshman at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, although the worst for us didn't come for two weeks.

Better Late Than Never. --DaCoot

California Group Wants the USS Olympia

From the April 6th Vallejo (Ca) Times-Herald.

A Bay area organization is putting forth an effort to acquire the Spanish-American warship USS Olympia and put it on display at Mare Island in San Francisco Bay.

I have written about the dire situation facing the Olympia these days. Huge amounts of money are needed to keep the ship from sinking at its berth along the Delaware River in Philadelphia. The Independence Seaport Museum does not have the funds and has said the ship might end up being scuttled at sea or scrapped which would be a crying shame.

To imagine a ship launched in 1892 surviving this long only to be thrown away. And, it was from the bridge of this ship that Commodore Dewey issued his famous order "You may fire when ready, Gridley" at the 1898 Battle of Manila.

In 1921, it was also the ship that transported the body of the World War I US "unknown soldier" back from France.

From March 30th to April 1st, a summit was held in Philadelphia to determine the vessel's future. The Naval Historical Center, NAVSEA PMS 33, Historic Navy Ships Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation, World Monuments Association and others attended.

They agreed to set up a $5 million fund to repair the ship

The Mare Island Association wants to bring it to the island and hope to raise $12 million by 2012 to cover site preparation at the dry dock, acquisition and towing.

The ship has a connection to Mare Island, which was a Navy shipyard. It was built at San Francisco's Union Ironworks Company and launched in 1892. Afterwards, it fitted out at Mare Island before leaving for the Asiatic Station where it fought during the Spanish-American War.

Maybe there's hope for the old ship after all.

Don't Give Up the Ship!! --Cooter

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

World War II Posters Reviving the Battle Cry-- Part 2

Looking at the types of World War II posters:

**REMINDERS OF REVENGE-- a huge fist shakes above the words "Avenge December 7." The words loom over a depiction of the USS Arizona exploding.

**DEMONIC DEPICTIONS OF THE ENEMY-- And in today's light would be considered horribly politically incorrect.

**SCENES OF THE WAR'S AFTERMATH-- A sailor leans on his crutches to say: "Take it from me, brother--WE'VE STILL GOT A BIG JOB TO DO!" The sailor has but one leg.

The US government made these posters to hang in public places like post offices, barbershops and factories.

Owner Vernon Rader, of Mount Auburn, Ohio, served during World War II in the Army's Transportation Corps and saw action in 20 overseas crossings. After the war, he went to the University of Cincinnati then worked 40 years at Procter & Gamble.

More to Come. --Cooter

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

World War II Posters Reviving the Battle Cry-- Part 1

From the March 30th USA Today by Cliff Radell of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

346 Unspoiled Pieces of Propaganda Art, Some By Norman Rockwell, Head to Auction to Fetch War's Spoils.

A very interesting article to me as I am quite fond of Depression and World War II posters.

The war has been over a long-time and its warriors a quickly vanishing breed, but somehow 346 posters sat in a box for all those years and look just as good as the day they were printed.

Vernon Rader owns them and soon they will be up for auction at the Humler & Nolan Auction House in Cincinnati.

These posters can be categorized:

WARNINGS-- Loose lips sink ships. A sailors lifeless body washes up on shore as a ship sinks on the horizon and the words "a careless word...A NEEDLESS LOSS."

SALES PITCHES TO BUY WAR BONDS0-- A farmer in his field of wheat and "Our good earth...Keep it ours, BUY WAR BONDS."

More to Come. --DaCoot

Chicago's First Blues Brothers: Joe and Charlie McCoy-- Part 2

If you like the Blues like I do, check out the website.

Because the McCoys recorded before World War II, they did not benefit from the electric amplification that launched the careers of Muddy waters, Howling Wolf, Willie Dixon and others.

Recording in Memphis, the brothers formed a group called the Harlem Hamfats which was musically freewheeling and adventuresome, playing music infused with New Orleans horns, piano, ragtime string instruments.

In Chicago, they recorded at the Decca studios at 666 S. Lake Shore Drive. The Hamfats are considered Chicago's first blues band.

Their hits were numerous and many even racy like Oh Red!" and "Let's Get Drunk and Truck."

The McCoys were also songwriters and session musicians, often for Joe's wife, Memphis Minnie. He and his wife co-wrote "When the Levee Breaks." Forty-three years later, Led Zeppelin altered the tune and it became one of their signature songs. In 2006, Bob Dylan altered it again in his song "The Levee's Gonna Break."

Here's Hoping They Got the Deserved Markers. --Cooter

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chicago's First Blues Brothers: Joe & Charlie McCoy-- Part 1

From the October 1, 2010, Chicago Tribune by Mark Guarino.

These two were self-taught and considered by many to be Chicago's first blues band. They were commercial hit-makers who influenced Louis Prima, Chuck Berry and Led Zeppelin. Their music ranged from country blues to zippier, often bawdy commercial blues that gained them fame back then.

Charlie and Joe McCoy migrated from Memphis to Chicago's South Side in the early 1930s and were penniless when they died in the 1950s. Their final resting places are unmarked in Alsop's Restvale Cemetery.

Back in October, a benefit was held at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music to raise money for markers.

Steve Salter, one of the organizers, runs a website ( that documents the graves of blues musicians. he was one of the first to notice that the McCoy brothers had no markers. Last year he visited Restvale where at least 22 other bluesmen are buried, including: Muddy Waters, J.B. Hutto and Hound Dog Taylor. Numbers were assigned to the brothers, but no markers placed.

More to Come. --DaCoot

World's Most Expensive Stuff

From Yahoo Today.

LEVIS-- $60,000 for an 1890 Levi 501.

HOME-- $1 to $2 billion for house in South Mumbai

BOOK-- $11.4 million John Audubon "Birds in America from 1830.

TOY-- $200,000 for a GI Joe prototype

BASEBALL CARD-- $2.35 million for a 1909 Honus Wagner

COMIC BOOK-- $1.5 million for Action Comics #1 featuring Superman

PAINTING-- $140 million for No.5 by Jackson Pollack

DOLL-- $263,000 for a 1914 French doll

TOOTH-- $19,140 for Napoleon's upper right canine tooth

That'sa Lotta' Dough. --Cooter

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Some More on the German Occupation of the British Channel Islands

The Channel islands are located near the French coast at the east end of the English Channel.

German forces began occupation in July 1940 and it continued until May 9, 1945, the day after the official German surrender in Berlin. During occupation, the Germans built massive fortifications facing toward Britain, many bunkers and observation towers still exist and some have been turned into museums.

Nearly 2,000 Channel inhabitants were deported. Those who were Jewish were sent to concentration camps.

So strong were the German defenses, that the islands were bypassed on D-Day and no attempt made to attack them afterwards. The food supply to the German occupiers was cut off and starvation loomed. This, unfortunately was also bad for the civilian population.

A little-Known Aspect of the War. --DaCoot

German Guns Recovered

From the Feb. 9, 2010 BBC.

During World War II, German forces occupied the British Channel Islands and fortified them as part of their vaunted Atlantic Wall.

After the war, these fortifications were taken down and many of the cannons dumped at the bottom of Grosnez Point in Jersey.

Twenty-six were placed there, but some have been recovered and put on display. One is at Guernsey in Plienmont and another is at Occupation Point. Plans call for another one of the six ton guns to be raised.

I Didn't Know the Germans Occupied Part of Britain During the War. --Cooter

Friday, April 1, 2011

Some More on Doolittle's Raid

Doolittle's group left Eglin Air Base on March 25, 1942, and flew to McClellan Field in Sacramento. The Hornet loaded the B-25s on April 1st.

There were originally 24 planes in Doolittle's group, but two suffered damage before leaving and of the remaining 22, only 16 were chosen for the daring attack.

Willow Field may have been the Chico Army Airfield.

Chico has another Doolittle connection. Ted Lawson was the pilot of one of the B-25s and lived in Chico for several years before his death in 1992. He wrote the book "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo."

More Stuff I Didn't Know. --DaCoot

Doolittle Raiders in Chico 69 Years Ago This Week

From the March 30th Chico (Ca) Enterprise-Record.

The first US offensive punch in World War II came five months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. On April 18, 1942, sixteen B-25 medium bombers took off from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet and flew to Japan and dropped their bombs doing minimum damage but having a significant impact on both the morale of America and Japan.

After extensive training at Eglin Air base in Florida, the planes were flown to Sacramento, California, before going to San Francisco to be loaded onto the Hornet.

Bob Fish, a trustee of the Hornet Museum in Almeda, Ca., found records that show the planes flew from Sacramento to Willow Airfield by Chico for final mechanical checks and short field practice flights in the days before putting to sea. After all, they couldn't do this on board the ship.

Not much mention is made of this in history books.

Something I Didn't Know. --Cooter

It's Baseball Time Again!!

Yesterday, I watched the Brewer-Reds game at Donovan's Reef in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. The Brewers are my third favorite team behind #1 White Sox and #2 Cubs.

Sorry to say, a perfectly nice 6-3 Brewer win in the bottom of the 9th was ruined by a walk-off homer. Those losses are sure hard to take, but I did like the Brewers better back in the 80s when they were in the American League. Their '82 World series team is my fifth all-time favorite team.

True Blue Brew Crew as they used to say.

I like the new Miller Field, but didn't see anything wrong with the old County Stadium. But, I do like the roof at Miller which can be open or closed. Watching baseball in the cold is not much fun.

I can remember a lot of games out at the old Comiskey Park back in '83 when I spent large parts of the game in the heated bathrooms back in April and May. Just way too cold to watch a game.

And, the Cubs have their season opener at Wrigley today. I back the Cubbies if they're not playing the Sox. Who knows, with Quade, maybe this will be the year I put my Cub hat on for the first-time ever. Well, wait a minute, I did wear it for Ron Santo's funeral.

The deal is, I'll wear the hat if the Cubs ever get to the World Series, but I may have to amend that to playoffs.

The White Sox open against the Indians in Cleveland today.

I Ain't No Yuppy!! --RoadDog


Q. What guarantees may a mortgage company insist on?
A. If you are buying a house they will insist that you are well endowed.