Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Remnants of Chicago's Riverview Amusement Park-- Part 1

From the June 22nd Chicago Tribune by John Owens.

The 74-acre park been gone for over 40 years now, but older Chicago-folk still talk about it, most with fond memories. Not me, I went there once and rode my first roller coaster there with buddy Rusty (his first ride on one as well).

That was our last roller coaster ride for about 16 years when I reluctantly went on the Screaming Eagle at Great America in Gurnee, Illinois. Rusty and I went on the famous Bobs. We should have gone on a smaller one, perhaps a kids' one.

Scared both of us extremely badly, and the two girls we were trying to impress in the car in front of us had a great laugh at our expense.

The article was about Russ Hencinski who used to go to the amusement as a youngster and now can see the former location of it from his classroom at Lane Tech High School. He can still see all the rides in his mind. he attended Lane Tech from 1963 to 1967 and has been teaching at his former school for thirty years.

Stay Off the Bobs!! --Cooter

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dead Page: Indian Atlas-- Perry Mason


Wrote groundbreaking book "Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History" in 1987 which has been called the most comprehensive history of the region's native population ever written. Documented the displacement of Indian communities from 1640 to 1871 due to disease and cultural destruction of whites.

FRED STEINER (1923-2011)


If I have heard the theme to "Perry Mason" once, I've heard it many times. It kind of grows on you.

he also crafted music for "Gunsmoke," "The Twilight Zone," "Star Trek, " "Have Gun--Will Travel," "Rawhide" and "Hogan's Heroes," although this apparently was music in the show and not the theme song.

All of these were TV shows I watched a lot, so he had an impact on me.

Both obituaries from the June 26th Chicago Tribune.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Al Capone's Gun

From the June 23rd Chicago Tribune.

Here in Chicagoland, practically every place standing in the 1920s was visited by Al Capone at least once in his life.

Well, last week his gun got $109,000 at Christie's Auction June 22nd.

That would be a Colt .38 revolver which, according to Colt records, was made in May 1929, just a few months after the famous St. Valentine's Day Massacre. So, he couldn't have used it there, even if he had been there.

It was expected to get between $81,000 and $113,000 and was sold by a private collector who had a personal letter from the widow of Al's brother Ralph Capone confirming that the gun had "previously belonged to and was only used by Al Capone while he was alive."

The anonymous successful buyer bid online.

Al Slept Here and Shot Here. --Cooter

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dead Page: "Just One More Thing..."

PETER FALK (1927-2011)


From the June 25th Chicago Tribune.

Gained fame wearing a crumpled raincoat, saying "just one more thing" and playing role of Lt. Columbo, died June 23rd at age 83. His acting career spanned 50 years and included TV, Broadway and over 50 films for which he received two Academy Awards early in his career. He also won five Emmys., four for Lt. Columbo.

The show began in 1971 as one of three 90-minute shows on the "NBC Sunday Mystery Movie," alternating with "McMillan and Wife" and "McCloud."

I really liked "Columbo" and the way he "trapped" the bad guys into coming clean with his unarming way. I always thought it would be really funny if they had Columbo, Monk and Gorman (from Criminal Intent) together. That would really drive the bad guys nuts.

I also liked him as the grandfather reading the story on "The Princess Bride."

He Was Some Character.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Loss of a World War II Bomber

From the June 14th Chicago Tribune.

A B-17 Flying Fortress crashed and burned near Oswego, Illinois, on June 13th. It had been in Illinois to give rides to fans and allow others to inspect it. The seven crew members and volunteers all escaped. It was headed for the Indianapolis Airport.

They reported smelling smoke after takeoff and then a T-6 Texan plane radioed that they had seen an engine on fire.

Owned by the Liberty Foundation, the 1944 plane had been restored in 2004.

Too bad this happened as there aren't too many of these left. At least no one was hurt.

One Less Bomber. --DaCoot

What's Your Favorite Insurance Commercial?-- Part 2

You've got to give those insurance companies, well some of them, credit for bringing some humor to the air waves during otherwise antagonizing commercials. This is when I do other stuff, like watch video tapes I've recorded or read or get something.

However, Aflac, Progressive, Geico and Allstate commercials are ones I watch. The duck is hilarious, there is just something about Flo, three of the Geico gang (Gecko, Cavemen and the fake Rod Sterling guy are fine), and then, there's my favorite, Mayhem.



MAYHEM: Leo Burnett ad agency introduced the award-winning commercials, featuring actor Dean Winters last summer. The stuff they make him do. Besides "Shakey," I like the BFF in the parking lot and car flag ones.

DENNIS HAYSBERT-- Allstate's reassuring father figure and that voice of his makes you really feel like you're in good hands. He also played the commander of the "Unit." Pedro Cerrano in the movie "Major League" and President David Palmer on "24."

STATE FARM-- Eddie Matos-- Doesn't do anything for me.

NATIONWIDE-- Bob Wiltfong-- Nothing here either.

METLIFE-- Snoopy-- Well everybody likes Snoopy. Creator Charles Schulz license Snoopy to the insurance company in 1985. Makes him the elder statesman of the insurance guys.

Watch Out for Old Mayhem!! --Cooter

Friday, June 24, 2011

What's Your Favorite Insurance Commercial?-- Part 1

From the March 16th Chicago Trubine "After Adlac, other mascots" by Rob Manker.

He had to have had a great time writing this story.

I gave my picks in my other blog, this date:

They had pictures of these recognizable commercial folk (dog, duck and gecko).

AFLAC-- Had a nationwide hunt to replace Gilbert Gottfried after his insensitive Twitter about Japan's problems. He had been screeching the duck's voice since 2000.

PROGRESSIVE-- FLO-- Played by actress and comedian Stephanie Courtney since 2008 in her "ridiculously sterile showroom. Facebook fans: 2.6 million

GEICO (actually a gang of four):
THE GECKO-- "a talking animated reptile" Facebook fans: 153,000

THE CAVEMEN-- a favorite of mine, even of their TV show got cancelled. Even then, has there ever been a TV show based on commercial characters? Facebook fans: 12,00

KASH-- "A stack of money with googly eyes! ...creepy. And it pops up when you're not expecting it, "Somebody's watching me." Facebook Fans: 1,400.

THE OVERLY SERIOUS HARD BOILED QUESTION GUY-- as Geico calls him, or THE FAKE ROD S(T)ERLING GUY as "30 Rock" called him. Facebook fans: unclear, whatever his name is.

More to Come. --Cooter

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Speeches-- Part 3

7. Talk about long-winded, Statesman HENRY CLAY of Kentucky once gave an hour-long speech in the US Senate about his dead bull named Orozimbo.

8. ADOLF HITLER gave a speech at a meeting of the German Workers Party in 1919 which gave early hints as to his powers as a political orator. As Hitler was about to leave the event, a speaker got up and argued that a piece should be split off from Germany. Outraged, Hitler railed passionately against the idea. One of the party's founders said to a companion, "He has a big mouth; we could use him." Shortly afterwards, Hitler joined the group and it changed its name to National Socialist German Workers Party, the Nazis.

9. The original TELEPROMPTER in 1950 was just a roll of butcher paper hand-cranked to advance the speech. TelePrompTer Corp., which built the first electronic version, found success after former President Herbert Hoover used it to address the Republican National Convention in 1952. In 2010, Obama was criticized for using the device too much.

10. December 7, 1941 was originally a "date which will live in world history" before President Franklin D. Roosevelt revised it to "a date which will live in infamy" before his address on the 8th.

As Always, Some REALLY Interesting Stuff. --DaCoot

Beautiful Normandy Still Bears Scars-- Part 2

Ten miles west of Arromaches is the Longue-sur-Mer Gun Battery which is four German casemates and the only original coastal artillery still in place. Here was a place where Germans kept watch on the English Channel.

In the nearby American Cemetery at St. Laurent, just above Omaha Beach, are nearly 10,000 graves of US soldiers who gave their lives to free Europe. The cemetery's visitors center has a database with the story of every US serviceman who died in Normandy.

There is a path from the center down to the beach where the highest casualty rates of the invasion occurred. During good weather, the beach is filled with people on holiday, but other times it is tranquil.

The most-heavily fortified German position on the coast was at Pointe du Hoc where the place was bombed heavily before 300 hand-picked US Army Rangers scaled the cliffs. Today, visitors can see smashed German bunkers and bomb craters. Picknicking is forbidden here as it is considered a gravesite.

Steves also recommends a trip to the Memorial Museum at Caen, the first large city liberated by the Allies.

A Definite Stop for Me If I Ever Can Afford to Go Back to Europe. --Cooter

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Beautiful Normandy Still Bears Scars-- Part 1

From the June 5th Chicago Tribune by Rick Steves.

Earlier this month we observed the 67th anniversary of D-Day. Two years ago there was a huge observance held in Normandy, France. It is unlikely that too many of the veterans will be able to mark the 70th anniversary.

The region of Normandy remains particularly fond of Americans. Steves remarked that while there, an elderly French man approached him and sang a few bars of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The Normandy sites are spread along 75 miles of coastline and it takes a full day to explore them. Steves suggest a rental car or a minivan tour. "As you travel the narrow lanes of this still-rural area, you get a taste of the boldness, complexity and hardships of the Allied undertaking."

A good place to start the tour is at the town of Arromache. Here, the Allies built a make-shift harbor and in just 12 days, positioned massive concrete platforms and built roads nearly a mile long that floated on pontoons. It was here that more than 300,000 more troops and equipment came ashore after the initial fighting. There is a small D-Day Landing museum in the town.

The sheer magnitude of this supply effort is amazing. Without new supplies, amminition and troops, the tenuous Allied toe-hold in Normandy could not have been sustained.

More to Come. --DaCoot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Speeches-- Part 2

Just a lot on interesting stuff about speeches.

4. IT'S ALL BUNK TO ME-- Rep. Felix Walker from North Carolina whose district included Buncombe County addressed Congress in 1820 over the slavery issue. His fellow lawmakers complained the speech had little to do with slavery, he said he was making "a speech for Buncombe." That's how buncombe came to mean annoying and disingenuous language-- leading to the words "bunk" and "debunk." I'm from NC and didn't know that. How Bunk of me.

5. Bet you can't tell me what the word for FEAR OF PUBLIC SPEAKING is. (Answer at end of entry.) According to Toastmasters, it is the most commonly cited fear in the US.

6. SOJOURNER TRUTH, the former slave who fought for emancipation and women's rights was known for her "Ain't I a Woman?" speech in 1851. But early accounts of the speech said nothing of her using that phrase. Later versions started showing up with it, though.

Some later accounts had her using a standard Southern slave dialect even though she grew up in New York state and first learned to speak Dutch instead of English and was said to have an accent more like that of an uneducated shite Northerner.

Slaves in New York?

Sounds Like Bunk to Me. Cooter

Answer to #5: Glossophobia. (I didn't know it.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spring Grove Saves One-Room Schoolhouse

Not only is my present hometown, Spring Grove, Illinois, in the process of turning the old Fish Hatchery into a park, but last week, a brick one-room schoolhouse was moved in order to save it. The 188 ton, 33-foot wide structure was jacked up, put on a flat bed and moved a quarter of a mile down English prairie Road to the famous Richardson Farm, home of the largest corn maze in the US.

It had been closed for 49 years and was McHenry's last operating one-roomer. Local residents remember attending classes there including all eleven of the Cooper family as well as George and Robert, owners of the Richardson Farm.

A school had been on the original site since 1846, with the brick one being built in 1929. It closed in 1962.

The original site is owned by the Thelen Corporation who operate a large local gravel and stone pit. They sold it to the Richardsons for $1. It will be put into a new park the Richardsons are planning.

Way to Go New Hometown!! --DaCoot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Speeches-- Part 1

From the Jan. 23, 2011, Chicago Tribune by Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer.

Again, great research on some mighty interesting stuff guys. I look forward to these history tidbits. This foray came about because President Obama's speech about the Arizona shootings earlier in the month.

1. SOMETIMES A LONG SPEECH CAN BE A GOOD THING-- In 1912, presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt was about to talk in Milwaukee when he was shot. The bullet went through his coat, eyeglass case and fifty pages of speech on heavy-duty paper.

This slowed down the bullet which cracked one of his ribs and wounded him only slightly. Making sure the audience saw the blood on his shirt, the bully Rough Rider gave the entire speech. Sounds like something TR would do.

2. BUGHOUSE SQUARE on Chicago's Near North Side was a place anyone could give an oration. Studs Terkel remembers one speaker called One-Arm Cholly Wendorf raising the stub of his right arm and declaring, "You know where the rest of this is? Somewhere in France. Somewhere in a trench. ...Cholly Wendorf's arm is enrichin' the soil that grows the grapes that bring you the best Cognac money can buy." Wonder if anyone gave him dough for his "gift?"

3. President Kennedy's chief speech-writer, TED SORENSON, knew his boss' speaking style so well that he sometimes impersonated the president on phone calls.

Give Me a Word. --Cooter

Monday, June 20, 2011

The First US Preservation Group

I received a flyer from George Washington's Mount Vernon asking for money. Unfortunately, property taxes and a new air conditioner says no at this time.

However, I found information in the flyer of particular interest.

Back in 1853, Louisa Bird Cunningham of South Carolina was on a trip on the Potomac when she passed Mount Vernon and found the scene distressing. The weathered paint was chipping, the piazza roof held up by masts of old ships, and lawn overgrown with weeds.

Her daughter, Ann Pamela, formed the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, the first preservation organization in America.

Ordinary people from all across the US donated money and the dream to return the house to its former glory came to be. By 1858, the remnants had been acquired.

Today, Mount Vernon's 14 original structures make up the most complete 18th-century plantation in America.

Some of the projects needing to be funded: cupola $35,000; roof $600,000, large dining room $120,000, mansion steps $36,000 and small dining room $40,000.

A Worthy Project. --Cooter

Beach Music Top 40: 2009-- Part 2

Continued from June 10th in my Down da Road I Go blog

Go to the Cashbox site and get to listen to annual Top 40s, the weekly Beach Top 40, and a great blues show each week. Well worth a listen Fessa John Hook, the font of Beach Music Knowledge. He knows his stuff.

20. FOUR LETTER WORD-- Castaways
19. DIPPIN' IN MY BUSINESS-- Subway with Belinda Owens
18. STUBBORN KIND OF FELLOW-- Tams featuring Lil Red
17. ACTIONS (SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS)-- Men of Distinction

15. MISCONSTRUE-- Maria Howell
13. MR. ZACHARY-- Taylor Manning
12. THERE'LL COME A TIME-- Jerry Wilson & the Jewels
11. PICK UP THE PHONE-- Cagle and Nash

10. 634-5709-- Tower of Power with Huey Lewis
9. LEFT WITH A BROKEN HEART-- Rhonda McDaniels
7. TEN KISSES-- Terri Gore

5. MO' BETTER-- Rev. Bubba D. Liverance
4. I DON'T WANT NOBODY-- Ike Turner
3. BUILD ME UP-- Band of Oz
2. THAT'S MY STORY (AND I'M STICKIN' TO IT)-- Chairmen of the Board
1. TOO MUCH BUTT-- Saffire

Great Beach Music. --RoadDog

LIVING NEAR CHICAGO...Parking elsewhere could cost you $2500 for damage, towing fees, parking tickets, etc..

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Boat's Birthday: Claude W. Somers, Skipjack

The 100th birthday of the genuine Chesapeake Bay skipjack Claude W. Somers is being celebrated today at the Reedville Fishermens Museum in Virginia.

The ship was built by W. Thomas Young of Parksley in 1911 at Youngs Creek, Virginia. He also built the Bernice J.

Wikipedia says the Somers is presently ported in Claiburne, Md, but the museum is in Virginia.

In 1977, it was struck by a squall near Hooper Strait Light and six crew died, including the captain-owner. In 1985, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In case you're wondering, a skipjack is a traditional Chesapeake Bay boat used for oyster dredging.

The Reedville Fishermen Museum web site says that along with the Somers, they also have the deck boat Elva C.

Happy B-Day Claude Somers. --DaCoot

Remembering Erector Sets-- Part 3

"Through creative , the toy inspired several generations of children to become architects, engineers (Dilbert?) and tinkerers during a century when America significantly expanded its infrastructure of roads, bridges, pipelines and dams."

Gilbert also had chemistry and microscope "toy" sets. In 1938, the company began manufacturing American Flyer toy trains.

Jugle received his first Erector set as a toddler growing up in Elmhurst, Illinois, and began collecting them in the 1950s. When toy stores went out of business, Jugle and his brother would buy out all things A.C. Gilbert.

Jugle is considered to be the nation's premier A.C. Gilbert historian and has a collection of 2,4000 company documents.

There is even an annual A.C. Gilbert Heritage Society convention (something I'd sure like to attend).

Build It and They Will Come. --Cooter

Friday, June 17, 2011

Remembering Erector Sets-- Part 2

Come to think of it, my brother might have done something with my old Erector set. he might have melted it down for the war effort. He was prone to doing stuff like that. Ask him some day what he did with my old Beatle albums.

Erector sets were invented in 1911 by American toy visionary A,C. Gilbert, and revolutionized the toy construction sets with pieces enabling kids to build models as large as their budgets, or family generosity would allow. Gilbert patented his sets and cornered the toy market.

The sets were made in New Haven, Connecticut and were originally packaged in wooden boxes. The product had the first national advertising campaign for a tiy. (I have to wonder why little Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" didn't fall for an erector set? Probably because you couldn't shoot your eye out with one.)

The sets were sold for over five decades until the company went bankrupt in 1967. During that time, more than 30 million sets were sold through Sears, J.C. Penney, Montgomery Ward and independent toy stores. (Remember those great Christmas catalogs that we looked through hundreds of times and just got those faraway looks in our eyes.)

Well, I Guess You Could Hurt Yourself If You Didn't Tighten Stuff or Build It Correctly. --DaCoot

Remembering Erector Sets-- Part 1

From the December 5-11 American Profile Magazine "Erector Protector" by Vicki Cox.

This is about L. Andrew Jugle of Elmhurst, Illinois, who is one of the foremost Erector People in the country. One of his pride and joy sets of the old toy is a 1963 carousel.

Of course, the Erector Set was one of the great build-em toys of my youth along with Tinkertoys and Lincoln Logs. I liked them all, but probably the Lincoln Logs because it was more historical. They worked well with both my Blue and Gray-size soldiers and HO-scale ones.

Today, these sets have been replaced by Legos, which are also neat.

Said Jugle, "Erector sets weren't something that built just one toy; they could make thousands. There was nothing like them. Kids saw buildings and bridges being built outside their windows, and suddenly they could make the same thing."

Mr. Jugle, a retired science teacher, has a collection of more than 200 Erector sets lining the floor-to-ceiling shelves in his garage.

I'm sitting here right now and wondering whatever happened to my old Erector set? Did Mom throw it out or sell it at a garage sale? I've got a hankering to build something. I did find that the long straight erector pieces made excellent breastworks for my HO-scale soldiers. Behind some of these, my Confederate soldiers were absolutely invincible to approaching Union troops.

Mom! What Did You Do? --Cooter

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Fishing Boat Goes to War

From the June 14th Free-Lance Star, Virginia.

A table-sized model of the Chesapeake Bay fishing boat B.H.P. Hubbard, Jr. has gone on display at the Reedsville (Va.) Fisherman's Museum.

It was one of eleven fishing boats sent to France during World War II to serve as minesweepers and the only one to return home.

It was built in 1912 in Wilmington, Delaware for the Taft Fish Co. of Reedsville and later owned by the Menhaden Co..

Volunteers spent most of last winter working on it and the ship appears as it did in 1938.

From Fish to Mines. Quite a Career. --Cooter

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dead Page: Yakety Yak


Original Lead Singer of the Coasters, died June 12th. Elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

This is one of my all-time favorite R&B groups and I have quite a few of their hit compilations.

Mr. Gardner was a founding member of the group which had 14 songs on the R&B charts and eight that crossed over to pop, including "Yakety Yak" which went to #1 in 1958. Many of their hits were written by the team of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller and were humorous.

He also held the rights to the name, despite the fact there are several groups performing as the Coasters. His son has taken over as lead singer of the Coasters.

Some of their hits:

Little Egypt #23
Along Came Jones #9
Searchin' #3
Poison Ivy #7
Young Blood #8

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dead Page: Marshal Dillon


Died June 3rd. Played Marshal Dillon keeping the law in 1870s Dodge City for twenty years from 1955-1975 on TV's "Gunsmoke," the longest-running drama until NBC's "Law & Order" tied it in 2010.

His character was a man of few words but of a commanding presence.

Some of the seasons "Gunsmoke" ran, there were as many as 30 westerns, but in 1975, the show's last year, it was also the last of its kind.

Arness's twenty year run as the same character was also just recently matched by Kelsey Grammer who played Frasier Crane for 20 years on "Cheers" and "Frasier."

He was born James Aurness in Minneapolis, but dropped the "u" for show business. His younger brother was Peter Graves who starred in "Mission Impossible."

Liz and her mom watched this show regularly. I didn't because my parents didn't and we only had one TV.

SS De Klerk/Imaji Maru

The wreck of this vessel is located near the Salute and has a World War II connection as well.

It is often referred to as the Australian Wreck, while the Salute is the American Wreck. The ship, however, was never in Australian service.

The ship was built in Britain around 1890 as a typical Far East passenger-cargo ship. It was operated by the Dutch in the Far East as the SS De Klerk. During World War II, the Dutch government took it over in January 1942 to convert it into a troop transport.

Before that could happen, it was scuttled at Tandjong Priok March 2, 1942. The Japanese Navy raised it Nov. 28th, renovated it and it entered service as the Imaji Maru. Fleeing Borneo, it was sunk by the Australian Air Force September 16, 1944 (or 1945).

Many female prisoners, serving as "comfort ladies" for Japanese troops, drowned. Several divers attest that the wreck is haunted by them.

A Floating _____ _____. --Cooter

Monday, June 13, 2011

USS Salute (AM-294): Sinking

On June 7, 1945, the Salute was doing pre-invasion sweeps for landings at Bruneir Bay in Borneo. The next day, the ship struck a Japanese mine and buckled amidships and both the bow and stern began to sink. Two landing craft attempted to salvage attempted to keep the Salute afloat but were unable to control the flooding and the ship sank. Nine sailors died, but the rest of the crew survived.

It is at 5'8'North 115'5' E in 30 meters of water and it is a popular and challenging dive site. Many munitions are still aboard and nearby the wreck. The Malaysian Navy recently removed unexploded depth charges.

The nine sailors who lost their lives are listed on a plaque attached to the wreck by a local diving group:

Edward Banach
William Brown
Kaley Crotwell
David Lowry
Roy Ojalla
Ralph Shafer
Carl Swanson
Willard Turley
Douglas Van Dreese

And, There Is Another World War II Wreck Near the Salute. --Cooter

Dead Page: 5-8-8, 2-300, Em-pire!

ELMER HAULDREN (April 1, 1922-April 26, 2011)

The Empire Carpet Man

From Wikipedia

While looking at the May 16th Time Magazine, I came across this man's obituary. If I have seen him in those commercials once, I've seen him thousands of times. He is a part of my memory and I must admit that whenever the Empire commercial aired, I stopped and looked at it, anxiously waiting for my sing-a-long with the phone number.

Elmer Hauldren, advertising copywriter from Chicago, best-known for originating The Empire Man (we called him the Empire Carpet Guy) for Empire Today (used to be Empire Carpets).

Mr. Hauldren was born in Missouri and served as a radio operator during World War II along the Burma Road between India and China.

After the war, he went into advertising. In 1977, he was working the Empire Carpet account and couldn't find an actor the company would accept for the role of The Empire Man. The company's owner, Seymour Cohen, asked Hauldren to play the role. And he did...from 1977 until 2011, appearing in almost every commercial. There was even a limited-edition bobble-head doll of Mr. Hauldren.

You can hear a commercial at the Empire Carpet Video site. There is even a site devoted to him at

"1-800, 5-8-8. 2-300, Em-pire."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

USS SALUTE (AM-294)-- Part 2: Battle of Samar

I had never heard of the Battle of Samar, so had to do some research on that as well. Thanks Wikipedia.


The Battle of Samar took place October 25, 1944, and was a surprise attack on the American fleet which caused Admiral William Halsey some flack as he allowed his fleet to be drawn away from its job of covering the landings.

US losses was a destroyer escort sunk, 23 aircraft, 913 wounded and 1,583 killed or missing (which was why the Salute was patrolling). Japanese losses were 3 heavy cruisers sunk and three damaged, one destroyer escort damaged and an unknown number of casualties.

The battle again proved the effectiveness of air attack and destroyer torpedoes against larger vessels.


In November, the Salute carried out patrols and sweeps in the Leyte area before participating in most of the subsequent landings in the Philippines doing pre-invasion sweeps and providing anti-aircraft and anti-submarine protection for the troops on the beaches and their transports.

They encountered few mines, but had serious problems with kamikazes.

From Feb. 13-14, the Salute did pre-invasion sweeps of Manila Bay where the ship and others came under Japanese fire.

More to Come. --DaCoot

Dead Page: First to the Top of Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima

World War II veteran Ted White, 85, died Dec. 28, 2008.

On February 23, 1945, he watched the raising of the famous flag on Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima. He was part of a Marine Corps scouting team that had climbed the mountain to check on the Japanese. They deemed it safe and came down.

After that, another group went up and raised a flag which was deemed too small. The second group went up and raised the flag which became the subject of the famous Joe Rosenthal photo.

Mr. White could see both flag raisings, but the significance of the event did not become apparent to him until after the war.

he was wounded in the knee later in March and returned to the states.

The Greatest Generation.

National Museum of American History

From the Dec. 28, 2008,

The National Museum of American History Kenneth E. Behring Center in Washington, DC, reopened in November after a two-year, $85 million project.

Until Jan. 4th, the White House copy of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was on display.

The Fort McHenry flag, which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the "Star-Spangled Banner" is the centerpiece of the five-story sky lit atrium.

Other items displayed are Julia Child's kitchen, Judy Garland's ruby-red slippers, a backyard bomb shelter, an extensive display of children's lunchboxes, a 40-foot section of Route 66 and a 1903 Winton automobile, the first vehicle to drive across the United States.

The America On the Move exhibit consists of 26,000 square feet with 340 objects in 19 settings including the coming of the railroad to a California town in 1876, the role of the street car and automobile in creating suburbs and the global economy of Los Angeles in 1999.

Other items include a Chicago Transit Authority "L" Car, a 1999-ton, 92-foot long Southern Railway locomotive the 1401 and a huge Route 66 map.

Something I'm Going to Want to See. --Cooter

Friday, June 10, 2011

USS Salute (AM-294)-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Like I said in the previous post, I'd never heard of this ship before, so had to do some further research.

The USS Salute was an ocean-going minesweeper of the Admirable-class, the largest group of minesweepers built-ever for the US Navy, with 123 completed during the war. One, the USS Hazard (AM-240) remains today as a museum ship on dry land in Omaha, Nebraska.

It was laid down November 11, 1942, by Winslow Marine Railway and Shipbuilding Company in Seattle, Washington, and launched February 6, 1943. in a little less than three months. Commissioning was December 4, 1943.

Stats: 795 tons, 184.6 feet long, top speed of 15 knots, 104 crew with 9 guns and depth charges.


From April to September 1944, the Salute escorted convoys in the Pacific Ocean. On October 20th, it began a four-day sweep of mines in the main transport channel off Leyte and then provided anti-aircraft support for the landings.

From Oct. 27-31, the ship helped search for survivors from the Battle of Samar where a group of escort carriers, destroyers and destroyer escorts repulsed an attack by a larger Japanese fleet.

More to Come-- Cooter

USS Salute Survivors Meet in Oklahoma

From the June 9th Bartlesville (Ok) Examiner- Enterprise.

The survivors of the minesweeper USS Salute, sunk by a mine June 8, 1945, are having a reunion in Bartlesville this weekend. They traveled across the state and country to attend the meeting in the City of Legends, the second time the city has hosted the group. Last year they met in Oklahoma City.

This year's event was organized by Carol Randall, her father, Ted Miller, is one of the few remaining members of the group which gets smaller every year.

The first reunion was held June 8, 1986, and organized by Wayne Shafer, whose brother Ralph was killed that day in Brunei Bay, Borneo. It all started with a letter to Dear Abby inquiring about the loss of his brother and ship. Abigail Van Buren then invited all remaining crew mates to contact her, and as a result, the group had its first reunion.

I Had Never Heard of This Ship or Its Loss Before This Article. --DaCoot

Jim Thome Closes in On 600-HR Club

From the June 5th Chicago Tribune.

Another great, non-steroid, player is closing in on a milestone like Jeter. Jim Thome is within seven home runs of attaining that 600-level, which has only seven members, of whom two are steroid-users.

But, he did it the old-fashioned way. No drugs.

Thome began his career in 1991 and is in his 21st season. He played with five teams: Indians, Phillies, White Sox!!, Dodgers and Twins. I'll have to forgive him for playing with the Twins, but the Sox could have had him again after the Dodgers. Instead, we got nut case Manny.


1. Barry Bonds 762
2. Hank Aaron 755
3. Babe Ruth 714
4. Willie Mays 660
5. Alex Rodriguez 623
7. Sammy Sosa 609 (And he was with the Sox during his pre-steroid, skinny arm days.)

Jim Thome 593

Here's Pulling For Ya, Jimmy Boy!! --Cooter

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Derek Jeter Closes in on 3,000-Hit Club-- Part 2

Definitely some real major baseball history in this list and I am glad to have seen so many play at the old bark when I could still afford to go. Again, the ones with asterisks are the ones I saw in person.

16. Paul Waner 3,152
17. Robin Yount* 3,142-- One of those great True Blue Brew Club Brewers from 1982.
18. Tony Gwynn* 3,141
19. Dave Winfield* 3,110-- His foul ball against Britt Burns was the only-ever foul ball that I caught.
20. Craig Biggio 3,060-- Saw him on TV.
21. Ricky Henderson* 3,055-- I saw him break Maury Wills' stolen base record.
22. Rod Carew* 3.053
23. Lou Brock* 3,023-- Worst Cub trade-ever!!
24. Rafael Palmeiro-- 3.020-- One of those steroid boys.
25. Wade Boggs* 3,010
26. Roberto Clemente* 3,000-- You have to wonder how many he would have hit had he not died in that tragic plane crash.

Some Great Players on This List. --DaCoot

Derek Jeter Closing in on 3,000-Hit Club-- Part 1

The June 5th Chicago Tribune had an article on the Yankees' Derek Jeter closing in on a baseball milestone, 3,000 career hits. As of Saturday, he was at 2.985, so it should happen in the next two weeks.

Jeter started his major league career in 1995 and is now in his 17th season, all with the Yankees. I'll have to forgive him for that as I AM NOT a Yankee fan.

And, in these post-steroid days, he was never found to have been using. Now, that is impressive.

The Tribune also had the complete list of all the others who had 3,000+ hits. I have an asterisk after the ones I have seen play in person.

1. Pete Rose* 4,256-- Charlie Hustle
2. Ty Cobb 4,189
3. Hank Aaron* 3,771
4. Stan Musial 3,630
5. Tris Speaker 3,514
6. Cap Anson 3,435
7. Honus Wagner 3,420
8. Carl Yastrzemski* 3,419
9. Paul Molitor* 3,319-- One of those great True Blue Brew Club Brewers from '82.
10. Eddie Collins 3,315
11. Willie Mays* 3,283
12. Eddie Murray* 3,255
13. Nap Lajoie 3,242
14. Cal Ripken* 3,184
15. George Brett* 3,154

Another 13 to Come. --Cooter

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Raising Blackbeard's Anchor-- Part 1

A 3,000 pound anchor from what is believed to be Blackbeard's Queen Anne's revenge was raised from the ocean floor May 27th where it had rested since 1718.

The recovery crew had originally planned to raise another anchor, but it was found to be too attached to the ballast pile, so this one was plan two.

Evidently, pirates had every day anchors as well as ones to be used for special occasions, much like people have every day dishes and special china. Two other anchors were used for storms or emergencies like when the ship might have to slip its anchor in order to get underway faster.

The one that was raised measured 11.4 feet long and had 7.7 foot arms.

Arrggh! Where's Me Anchor. --Cooter

Raising Blackbeard's Anchor-- Part 2

This size anchor was typical of that of a ship the Queen Anne's Revenge size.

The wreck was discovered in 1996 and 250,000 artifacts have been taken from the ship. Starting June 11th, the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort will display many of them, hoping to attract tourists. Pirates have been getting a lot of attention lately because of Captain Jack Sparrow and the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. The one out right now "On Stranger Tides features Blackbeard and the Queen Anne's Revenge.

In 1717, Blackbeard captured a French slave ship and mad eit his flagship, renaming it the Queen Anne's Revenge. Blackbeard was his pirate name. His real one was either Edward Teach or Thatch.

Blackbeard settled in Bath, NC, after receiving the Royal Governor's pardon but was killed at Ocracoke Inlet in November 1718, five months after the Queen Anne's Revenge sank.

The site is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Arrgh! There's Me Anchor!! --DaCoot

Monday, June 6, 2011

D-Day Anniversary: 67 Years Ago

"Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark on the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you..."

The beginning of US General Dwight D. Eisenhower's order of the day for June 6, 1944. The invasion of Normandy would be the largest military operation the world had yet seen.

As he met with the men of the 101st Airborne Division before they boarded their planes, Eisenhower reminded them that the allies would accept "nothing less than full victory."

But, I have seen his announcement that he had had prepared to make had the invasion failed. Glad he didn't have to make THAT announcement.

The Longest Day. --DaCoot

Whatever happened to Jackie Kennedy's Pink Hat-- Part 3

Sometime in the next six months, a box containing the suit, blouse, handbag, shoes and stockings arrived at the National Archives headquarters with a note on the stationary of Janet Auchincloss, Jackie Kennedy's mother with the words, "Jackie's suit and bag worn Nov. 22, 1963."

The box was the one originally sent by the dressmaker addressed to "Mrs. Johm F. Kennedy, The White House. Archivists put it in stack area 6W3, where it remained for more than 30 years.

It was sort of a secret that they had it, which led to a little embarrassment when Parade Magazine called in 1996 with a reader question about the hat.

In the mid-1990s, the suit was moved to a new archives building. In 2003, a deed of gift was secured from Caroline Kennedy, by then the sole surviving heir which stipulated the suit not be displayed for the life of the deed--100 years.

As far as the hat is concerned Clint Hill gave it to Mary Gallagher, Jackie's personal secretary. When contacted by phone. she refused to discuss the hat.

Hat, Hat. Who's Got Da Hat? --Cooter

Saturday, June 4, 2011

"The Vast Wasteland" Fifty Years On

From the March 17th Chicago Tribune by Melissa Harris.

The date was May 9, 1961, President Kennedy's 35-year-old FCC Chairman, Newton Minnow gave a speech about television that has become engrained in America's conscious when he said TV was a "vast wasteland."

Minnow says he did not put the words in the speech, but rather that famous journalist and speechwriter Bartlow Martin did.

The ship on the TV show "Gilligan's Island", the SS Minnow, was named after him. I didn't know that.

Harris interviews Minnow and asked if the wasteland is vaster today. "I would say it's more nuanced." When he gave the speech, there was no UHF or cable TV with greater variety of alternatives. So "that's why I think it's much better today."

Minnow joked about how his daughters want "On to a Vaster Wasteland" inscribed on his tombstone.

The thing he was proudest of during his tenure with the FCC was the launch of the first communications satellite. President Kennedy questioned him about it, and Minnow said, "Mr. President, communications staellites are more important than sending a man into space."

Kennedy said, "Well, why is that?"

Minnow replied, "Well, communications satellites will send ideas into space, and ideas last much longer than people."

An Interesting Man. --Cooter

Whatever Happened to Jackie Kennedy's Rose-Pink Hat?-- Part 2

Somewhere in the hospital, the hat came off. Mary Gallagher, the first lady's personal secretary was handed the pillbox hat and noticed strands of Jackie's hair beneath the hat pin and could imagine her yanking it off.

Staff and handlers wanted Jackie to "clean up her appearance" but were refused. "No. let them see what they've done," she reportedly said.

"The suit was never cleaned and never will be." It is somewhere in the climate-controlled National Archives and Records Adminstration's Maryland complex.

Aides managed to secure Kennedy's belongings back to the White House by nightfall. The hat seemed to hopscotch from Dallas to Washington. Jackie Kennedy accompanied the coffin to Bethesda Naval Hospital for the autopsy while the hat made its way to the White House.

A White House policeman was instructed to give the hat to Clint Hill, but mistakenly gave it to Robert Foster, the agent assigned to protect the Kennedy children.

Mrs. Kennedy returned to the White House early on November 23rd, took off the suit and bathed. Her maid, Providencia Paredes said she put the clothing in a bag and hid it.

Hat, Hat, Who's Got the Hat--DaCoot

Movies That Shiver Our Timbers

From the May 20th Chicago Tribune by Barry Koltnow.

Barry's a big fan of pirate movies and wants to know why there is only one pirate movie out this summer. This especially with all the money the Pirates of the Caribbean series has raked in "which should have inspired a glut of pirate movies..."

Pirate movies have been a Hollywood staple since the silent film era, but had fallen on hard times until the POC revived them.

Here are his Top Ten Best-Ever Pirate Movies:

10. The Black Swan (1942)
9. The Pirates of the Penzance (1983)
8. The Pirate (1948)
7. Peter Pan (1953)
6. Treasure Island (1934)

5. The Buccaneer (1958)
4. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) (OK, not a true pirate movie, but mutiny is sort of a pirate thing.)
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
2. Captain Blood (1935)
1. The Sea Hawk (1940)

The last two with Errol Flynn who is certainly a more manly pirate than Captain Jack.

Love Those Pirate Movies. --Cooter

Friday, June 3, 2011

Whatever Happened to Jackie Kennedy's Rose-Pink Hat?-- Part 1

From the January 28, 2011, Chicago Tribune "Kennedy hat is lost piece of history" by Faye Flore.

When people think back to the events of Nov. 22, 1963, the assassination of President Kennedy, a myriad of images play on our heads, but a big one is the rose-pink and pillbox hat worn by Jacqueline Kennedy.

Back in January, an expanded collection was put on display to coincide with the 50th anniversary of JFK's inauguration. However, missing from it is that bloodstained pink suit. It is stored away in a vault in Maryland and banned from public display for 100 years.

The pillbox hat, however, is lost. It was last known to be in the hands of her personal secretary who won't discuss its whereabouts.

"The pink was unforgettable--the color of roses, azaleas, watermelon. Kennedy himself asked her to wear it. It was trimmed in navy blue, with a blue blouse, blue pumps, handbag and the trademark pillbox hat, secured with a pin."

Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent assigned to protect the first lady remembers the left side of the suit's skirt wet with her husband's blood where she was cradling his head.

More to Come. --Cooter

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Problem with Those World War II Bombs

From the October 24, 2010, Telegraph of the United Kingdom "Thousands evacuated in France for Second World War bomb disposal" by Peter Allen.

Sixty-five years after the unconditional surrender of Germany, 10,000 people in Rennes, France, had to be evacuated from the city when a 500-pound RAF bomb was found.

Maurice Leclerk, 81, said, "I remember the bombing raid during the war when hundreds were killed. The fact that the bombs are still disrupting our lives all these years later is truly incredible."

Farther east in France, 4,500 were evacuated in Woippy, a suburb of Metz while experts worked on devices around a former Wehrmacht supply center which is now being converted into a bus station. It was bombed so many times, its basement and foundation is littered with ordnance of the RAF and US AAC.


All of this cleanup is being handled by France's Department of Mine Clearance which recovers about 1,ooo tons of unexploded munitions a year.

Since 1945, about 650 of its staff have been killed handling the ordnance. The most recent was 1998 on the former World War I battlefield of Vimy Ridge.

There is a regular "Iron Harvest" of unexploded ordnance in northern France.

And. much of it is still live. Members of the department have to be especially careful of shells containing chemical warfare agents like mustard gas.

Lots of Left-over Stuff from Two World Wars in France and Germany. --Cooter

Back to the Revolution: The Hunt for the Bonhomme Richard...Part 2: US Navy Underwater Archaeological Branch

Continued from May 17th.

In the last four years, three expeditions have been mounted to find the wreck of John Paul Jones' ship. TV shows "Deep Sea Detectives" on the History Channel" and "Treasure Quest" on the Disney Channel have paid for them.

Locating sunken ships has always been something people have been involved in. In 1995, the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley was found. The wreck of the CSS Alabama has been found and cannons as well as a toilet bowl raised from it.

One downside to all this interest in shipwrecks is the threat to preservation. People dive on the accessible ones and steal items. Plus, it can be dangerous.

Once an artifact has been preserved, Bob Neyland and the Underwater Archaeology Branch try to find a home for it either in a museum or research facility. Of 9,000 objects owned by the Navy, 7,000 are on loan to museums and universities.

The Underwater Branch also monitors auction sites like eBay.

In September Neyland went on a Navy Survey ship to look for a blockade-runner. They spent ten days using underwater robots and sonar. A british group recently claimed they'd found it, but Neyland has studied dates and the location and doesn't believe they have found it.

I Would Even Be Willing to Come Out of Retirement to Do Something Like This. --DaCoot

Missed the 1500th Post By This Much

Oops. Ran over mention of my 1500th post on this blog by a bit over a hundred.

I just noticed on my Blogger Dashboard that this blog now has 1621 posts, 1622 wuth this one. I like to mention every 500 I have.

This one started out when I noticed I was getting too many history based posts in my Down Da Road I Go Blog, so I decided to spin it off.

This blog consists of history stuff I find of interest. However, it has morphed into one primarily about World War II. Major items I covered were the discovery of two Australian ships sunk during World War II, the HMAS Sydney and AHS Centaur. I also cover a lot about the US home front and war effort, and, Pearl Harbor, something I've always been interested in.

With the passing of the last World War veterans, I have posted many times about it.

I am also now at 2064 entries on my Down Da Road I Go Blog.

Spending Way Too Much Time on These Blogs. --Cooter

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Back to the Elephants

From Wikipedia.

Probably the most famous elephant ever was Jumbo, born in 1861 in the French Sudan in Africa. His name came from a variation of Swahili words jumbo meaning hello and jumbe meaning chief. And he was a BIG elephant. His name is today commonly used to describe something very large.

Eventually, Jumbo stood at 10.7 feet and an estimated 13.1 feet at the time of his death..

He was at a British zoo before being sold to Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1882 for $10,000 and was a show stopper for many years.

After his death in St. Thomas, Ontario when he was hit by a locomotive, his body was put on display before it was destroyed by fire in 1975. His ashes were placed in a 14 ounce box of Peter Pan Crunch Peanut Butter.

Another elephant named Jumbo was used by John Hoyle to cross the Alps following Hannibal's trek in 1957.

One Big Elephant. --DaCoot

All Gave Some, Some Gave All-- Part 2

Continuing with the list of McHenry County, Illinois, residents who died while in the service during World War I.

Clark Hall
Frank Helwig
W.J. Henshaw
Paul C. Hoffman
Ray A. Howard
John Janowski
Richard Japp
Ernst Kalbow
Edward Kileen
August Klaman
Charles Knutson
Walter Lind
Robert Martin
Claude McComb
Henry F. Miller
William J. Metzen
Joseph Meyers
Jack Mitchell
Albert Moritz

One Last Entry to Come. --Cooter