Wednesday, August 31, 2011

College Football Rivalry Prizes-- Part 2

Again, I don't know what criteria exactly the Tribune used to put these in the quadrants. Some I do not agree with them.

From the CONTRIVED-CHEESY Quadrant

THE BONES-- UAB vs. Memphis A slab of ribs (Gets marks for most tasty trophy.)

PLATYPUS TROPHY-- Oregon vs. Oregon State. (I reckon a duck is close enough to a platypus. Takes the award for weirdest trophy. These guys must have too much time sitting around waiting for the rain to stop.)

BAYOU BUCKET-- Houston vs. Rice (Alright, both are close to Louisiana. The loser has to bayou a beer.)

I-94 TROPHY-- Wisconsin Eau Claire vs. Wisconsin-Stout (Sounds like a road fixation to me.)


IRON SKILLET-- SMU vs. TCU (The loser gets brained with it.)

PAUL BUNYAN'S AXE-- Minnesota vs. Wisconsin (Again, has Minnesota ever seen it?)

MILK CAN-- Boise State vs. Fresno State (The loser gets to cry over spilt milk.)

PAUL BUNYAN TROPHY-- Michigan vs. Michigan State (Big Paul will get an ego with two trophies.)

One last trophy: MID AMERICA CLASSIC-- Eastern Illinois vs. Southern Illinois (OK, they're both in Illinois, in the Midwest and Mid America.)

I'll Be Looking Some of These Up. --DaCoot

College Football Rivalry Prizes-- Part 1

From the August 7th Chicago Tribune sports section "Main Event: Prize fights.

Nothing like a good college football rivalry. And with the season poised to start tomorrow, this is a good time to run this.

Illinois State and Eastern Illinois have been playing each other for over 100 years, and now they will have the most recent of a long line of rivalry prizes, those traveling trophies that go to the winning school each year.

Theirs will be called the Mid-America Classic.

The Tribune took a look at others and even categorized them as: classy, cheesy, contrived and historic. Included were photos of each trophy.


KEG OF NAILS-- Louisville vs. Cincinnati (Nails?)

JEWELED SHILLELAGH-- Notre Dame vs. USC (OK, the Irish have shillelaghs. What does this have to do with Southern California? Perhaps they also get the Lucky Charms.)

CRAB BOWL TROPHY-- Maryland vs. Navy (OK, both are in Maryland and they have lots of crabs.

LITTLE BROWN JUG-- Michigan vs. Minnesota (OK, does Minnesota have any idea what it looks like? Sounds like a college drinkin' thing to me.)


APPLE CUP-- Washington vs. Washington State (OK, Washington is the Apple State)

FLOYD OF ROSEDALE-- Iowa vs. Minnesota This one is of a pig. (OK, rise up all ye pigdom!!)

LAND OF LINCOLN TROPHY-- Illinois vs. Northwestern (OK, Illinois is the home of you-know-who)

OLD OAKEN BUCKET-- Indiana vs. Purdue (OK, my bucket's got a hole in it and I don't care.)

Eight More to Go. --Cooter

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

From the August 24th Chicago Tribune "O Brother' ages gracefully" by Randy Lewis.

Ten years ago, one of my favorite movies-ever came out, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

It was not likely that it would ever become a success, perhaps a cult classic, but nothing more. I didn't know about it at first, but after hearing some cuts from the soundtrack, went to the theater and saw it.

Just a wacky, delightful trip back into America's 1930's depression and the escape of some prisoners and search for hair pomade.

There were all sorts of stories going on and allusions to past historic literature.

It helped push Americana music, which I am very fond of. The soundtrack ranks in the top 200 best-selling albums of all time (I have one). It is being reissued with 17 more tracks and I might just be buying one for myself. CD of course, none of that downloading stuff.

I Might Just Have to Go Pop That CD On Right Now. --Cooter

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wilmington's Bluethenthal Airport

Now called Wilmington International Airport. Named for World War I fighter pilot Arthur Bluethenthal. Used by the 3rd Air Force during World War II for training and anti-submarine warfare.

Today, I posted two entries about the airport and Bluethenthal on my RoadLog at

Hit the Wilmington label below for more information on air activity around Wilmington during World War II.

Lots of World War II History in Wilmington. --Cooter

Ten Futuristic Inventions We Should Have Now

Thanks to the August 27th List Universe. Of course, they have pictures and captions. I just list 'em. They also give movies an TV shows that these were seen in.

10. Time Machines
9. Anti-Gravity
8. Hologram TV
7. Food particlizer
6. Laser Weapons

5. Android robots
4. Teleportation
3. Invisibility
2. Flying cars
1. Personal jet packs

I Could Really Go With a Time Machine. --DaCoot

Lucille Ball Would Have Been 100

Definitely one of my favorite people on TV. I still enjoy seeing her episodes, especially with all that 1950s stuff, styles and culture. Born Aug. 6, 1911, Died April 26, 1989.

The CBS sitcom "I Love Lucy" ran from 1951 to 1957. I didn't see many, if any, shows as I was just six when they went off air. But, i have sure made up for it since then.

She also had one of the funniest movies ever, "The Long, Long Trailer" in which she co-starred with hubbie Desi Arnaz in which the newly weds spent their honeymoon in a trailer. I was finally able to see most of it on the 2010 Lincoln Highway Association's Conference Tour on the bus to where we started the cruise.

I'll need to see the end sometime.

Of course, everyone has their favorite "I Love Lucy" episodes.

Mine are the chocolate candy factory, grape stomping, the mirror Harpo Marx and, best of all the "Vitametavegamin" one. I have the poster of it right where I'm typing this.

Real Funny Gal. Thanks for All the Laughter. --Cooter

Saturday, August 27, 2011

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

8. Before TOMMY BARTLETT got his famous water-skiing show in the Wisconsin Dells, he worked in Chicago radio. he was just 17 years old in 1931 when he started at WBBM-AM where he went on to host two very popular daytime programs for housewives, "Meet the Missus" and The Missus Goes to the Market."

A fun show to see except when they lost the lake when the dam broke that time.

9. In 1951, divorced dressmaker MARGARET JORGENSON of Oshkosh, left nearly $100,000 in her will to a man she met for just four hours. The two began chatting in an elevator in Chicago and then had lunch together.

After they parted, they kept up correspondence, but never met again. The will left her relatives nothing, so, of course, they sued and did win half the money.


10. Some Wisconsin places have some FUNNY NAMES like Imalone, Ubet, Embarrass, Footville and Spread Eagle. Then there is retired race car driver Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids.

Then there is Milwaukee and neighboring Palwaukee.

Another great job, guys.

Stuff You Might Not Know. --DaCoot

Recalling a Steeper Plunge

From the August 14th Chicago Tribune Chicago Flashback page by Ron Grossman.

The Tribune has definitely scored a good one with the addition of this page every so often. It takes a look back at the past.

The Wednesday, October 30, 1929, front page of the Tribune had the headline "Stock Slump Ends in Rally," putting a hopeful spin on a really bad day at the stock market. This, of course, due to the recent ups and downs of the market for silly investing folk.

On Tuesday, October 29th, 81 years ago, the Stock Market tanked, ever since called Black Tuesday. The slide actually began the week before. On Oct. 24, 1929, the Tribune reported "Billions Lost in Wild Stock Market Crash."

During the Roaring 20s, the Dow Jones had risen from 63.9 to 381.2, with a lot of it buying stocks on "margins" where stocks were bought with just a down payment.

Greed Was With Us Then, Just As It Is Today, Folks. --Cooter

Friday, August 26, 2011

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

4. WE'RE NUMBER ONE-- WISCONSIN ranks #1 among states in high school graduation with 99.1%. But it is also #1 in drunken driving. That's what having teenagers will do to you.

5. Wisconsin rightfully boasts itself as being "America's Dairyland. In the late 1960s the state went one step further and put out bright yellow license plates which locals dubbed "butter plates." Regardless of what those Californy cows think and say.

6. As a result of an insult, Wisconsin has the fantastic HOUSE ON THE ROCK in Spring Green. A Madison architect named Alex Jordan, Sr., hoped to impress Frank Lloyd Wright with his building design for a woman's dormitory. Wright didn't like it and bluntly said, "I wouldn't hire you to design a cheese crate or a chicken coop."

Jordan vowed to build his own masterpiece, which he did, and close to Wright's Taliesin house. Today, Jordan's house, with its Infinity Room, draws more than 500,000 annually, ten times what Wright's place does.

We've been to the House on the Rock and I strongly recommend it. Jordan was quite a collector of things and there is also a huge collection of his stuff on display.

7. MADISON is know as the center of political correctness, but in 2000, the University of Wisconsin admissions office pulled a real big one when they digitally added a black student to a photo of white people at a football game. The virtual spectator, Diallo Shabazz said he'd never attended a UW football game.

Insults and Egg-in-the-Face in the Cheesehead State. --DaCoot

Gasoline Tables

From the June 19th Chicago Tribune.


68% is the price of oil
7% Refining costs and profits
10% Distribution and marketing
14% Taxes and fees


The national average is $0.495

5 Highest

Connecticut $0.703
New York $0.691
Illinois $0.690
California $0.689
Hawaii $0.678

5 Lowest

New Hampshire $0.380
Arizona $0.374
New Mexico $0.372
Mississippi $0.372
Missouri $0.357

So, Route 66 has two of the highest at either terminus (Ca. and Il.) and three of the lowest (Az., NM and Mo.) along the middle.


FEDERAL-- 18.4 cents excise tax
ILLINOIS-- 19 cents excise tax, 5% sales tax
CHICAGO-- 1% sales tax, 5 cents fuel tax
COOK COUNTY/MULTI JURISDICTION-- 1& sales tax, .8% regional transit sales tax, 6 cents fuel tax, .8 cent environmental impact tax and .3% underground storage fund.

OUCH!! --Cooter

Thursday, August 25, 2011

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

From the August 14th Chicago Tribune by Mark Jacobs and Sreohan Benzkopher.

This came about because of the recall elections where the Tea Party unfortunately was not defeated enough to take away their majority. Good luck working man. The GRBs are in control.

1. Wisconsin is known as the BADGER STATE ot because of the animal, but because of miners in the 1800s who were nicknamed badgers because of their work underground.

2. Wisconsin had the DEADLIEST FIRE in American history, the Peshtigo Disaster in the Green Bay area which began on October 9, 1871, but it was overshadowed by the Great Chicago Fire taking place at the same time. About 250 died in Chicago while 1,200 lost their lives in Wisconsin and that figure very likely is twice as high.

3. The QWERTY keyboard layout was invented in Wisconsin. Christopher Sholes, a Milwaukee printer and inventor realized he could prevent his typewriter from jamming by separating the most popular keys.

Who'd a'Thought? --DaCoot

Is It Time for a New National Anthem?

OK, Christina Aguilera messed it up as many others have. Of course, we all know it's that part at the end that is really hard to hit for most of us.

If we get another one, the July 3rd Parade Magazine suggests "America the Beautiful" which extols the beauty of our country instead of a long-ago forgotten battle (I didn't forget about it).


1814-- FRANCIS SCOTT KEY pens lyrics while witnessing the British Navy's bombardment of Baltimore's Fort McHenry (we live in McHenry County). It is put to the tune of a British drinking song.

1916-- WOODROW WILSON decrees that the song be designated for official use.

1931-- US CONGRESS passes an act naming "The Star-Spangled Banner" the national anthem.

1968-- JOSE FELICIANO sings a jazzy version at the World Series.

1969-- You've got to love JIMI HENDRIX's guitar version at the Woodstock Festival.

Jose Can You See. --Cooter

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Camp Davis

I'm planning on driving about 12 miles to Holly Ridge, North Carolina, to take a look at whatever remains of the huge World War II camp which served several roles during the conflict, but primarily as an Antiaircraft Artillery School.

According to a pamphlet I bought, about the only part of it that remains is at the Camp Davis Restaurant which was part of the base's administrative headquarters.  If it is still there, we might even eat at it.

The Missiles and More Museum in Topsail Beach has a nice exhibit on Camp Davis.

We'll See.  --Cooter

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ten Biggest Breakfast Moments-- Part 2

6. GREEN EGGS AND HAM-- Sam-I-Am didn't like them at first, but came to like them. Thanks, Dr. Seuss.

7. 1961 AUDREY HEPBURN GETS IT TO GO-- It was that Breakfast at Tiffany's movie.

8. 1970s BIRTH OF THE POWER BREAKFAST-- Claimed by New York's Regency Hotel when city leaders met to save the Big Apple from bankruptcy.

9. 1970s THE CRUNCHY SET-- Granola catches on for the health food fanatics.

10. 2008 BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS-- Swimmer Michael Phelps won eight gold medals at Beijing, but made big news with his daily breakfast: three fried egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions, and mayonaise; two cups of coffee; one five-egg omelet; one bowl of grits; three slices of French toast topped with sugar; and three chocolate chip pancakes.

Now, that's what you call a belly-buster.

I Like the McDonald's $1 Breakfast Menu. --DaCoot

Ten Biggest Breakfast Moments-- Part 1

From this week's Parade Magazine. By Kathleen Fifield.

1. PILGRIM'S BREW-- Quite often, early colonists would knock back a pint of beer or hard cider which was safer to drink than water.

2. DUTCH GO DOUGHNUTS-- Netherlands immigrants to the New World introduced oliebollen (oil balls). They later became ring-shaped, partly to solve the soggy-middle problem.

3. 1902's RADICAL FLAKES-- Dr. John H. Kellogg, and his brother Will, baked up the first batch of corn flakes at their sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan.

4. 1906 PRESIDENTIAL WHOPPER-- Big President William Howard Taft, all 350 pounds of him, on a visit to Savannah, Georgia, had shrimp with hominy, potted partridge, broiled venison, waffles with maple syrup, hot rolls and a grapefruit.

5. 1940s ORANGE JUCE GOES TO WAR-- OJ was a seasonal treat until World War II, when the Florida Citrus Commission was ordered to find a way to ship the juice overseas to prevent scurvy among the troops.

They came up with a frozen concentrate which was created in a vacuum. Thus, it became year-round.

Love Those Omelets. --Cooter

Dead Page: Oldest Bataan Death March Survivor

From AP.


By End of War, Nearly Blind, Broken Back and Neck, Had Suffered Through a Dozen Diseases.

After the war, Albert Brown was told he couldn't expect to live many more years, maybe to age 50, because of all he had endured during the time he was a prisoner of the Japanese.

"Doc" Brown, a dentist, was nearly 40 in 1942 when he went on the Bataan Death March with 78,000 others along the infamous 65-mile trek. As many as 11,000 died after being denied water, food and medical care. Those who stumbled or fell were shot, stabbed or beheaded.

He remained a POW from early 1942 until mid-September 1945, living solely on rice during which he lost 80 pounds.

A Remarkable Man. One of the Greatest Generation.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blackbeard's Anchor Recovered

From the Fall East Magazine of East Carolina University.

It was at the bottom of Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina for 270 years, one of four large anchors from the famous pirate Blackbeard's ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge (QAR) was recovered in May. Right now it is undergoing restoration at the QAR Conservation Lab on West Research Campus (East Carolina).

"This is one of the biggest artifacts at the site," said Mark Wilde-Ramsing, '09, the state underwater archaeologist who directed the expedition.

The anchor weighs about 2,500 pounds, measures 11 feet long and 7 feet, 7 inches from tip to tip on the fluke. It's outside ring attached to the center shank, measures 24 inches in diameter.

Hundreds of other artifacts from the QAR are in the process of being restored. Twelve cannons are still at the wreck. Many other artifacts are on display at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

The wreck was discovered in 1996.

By the way, East Carolina's nickname is the Pirates.

Arrrghh! It's a Pirate's Life for Me. --Cooter

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

California Man Who Saved Japanese Farms During World War II Honored

From the July 28th Sacramento (Ca) Bee.

On July 24th, 150 people gathered to celebrate the 100th birthday of Bob Fletcher, described as "A True American Hero" despite the fact he never saw combat during World War II.

However, we was shot at for being a Japanese sympathizer who quit his job to save three local Japanese-American farms whose families had been sent to internment camps.

Most of Sacramento's 3,000 Japanese-Americans were shipped off and lost everything, their farms, homes and businesses which were stolen or foreclosed.

Mr. Fletcher agreed to work three of their farms.

During the war, and especially in the western states, aiding anyone of Japanese descent was regarded essentially as being traitorous. It takes a brave person to stand up for their beliefs like that.

A True Hero.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Doolittle Raiders 2012 Reunion Set for Ohio

From the July 28th NBC News 4.

The reunion will be at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base's National Museum of the United States Air Force. As many as five survivors of the original 88 are expected tp attend the event to be held April 17-20th.

The raid itself took place April 18, 1942.

Something I Would Really Like to Attend. --DaCoot

Dead Page: The "White Mouse"

NANCY WAKE (1912-2011)


I'd never heard of her, but am still learning about the war.

Called "White Mouse" for her ability to go undetected and at one point was the Gestapo's most-wanted person, died in London at age 98.

Born in New Zealand and moved to Australia as a toddler. Worked as a journalist in Europe and married French businessman Henri Fiocca, in 1939. Trapped in France after the Germans invaded, she became a Resistance courier and later a saboteur and spy.

She was betrayed, but escaped to London, but her husband tortured and killed by the Gestapo. Later parachuted back into France and became a liaison between London and local Resistance groups.

In later years, she gave an interview saying, "In my opinion, the only good German was a dead German, and the deader the better. I'm only sorry I didn't kill more."

From Reuters.

The Greatest Generation.

The Wreck of LaSalle's Ship, La Belle-- Part 2

Jan. 1685-- After five months, LaSalle lands just west of the Mississippi River. Incertain of his location, he sails west and mistakes Matagorda Bay as the western arm of the river. The land was described as having lots of bison, fish and fowl.

Jan. 1686-- A north wind blows La Belle across the bay and she runs aground stern first and sinks.

March 1867-- LaSalle is murdered by his own men near the Trinity River in Texas.


A $1.4 million dollar cofferdam around the little La Belle was huge compared to the little shop. It consisted of two concentric octagonal walls of interlocking steel plates sunk 40 feet below the bay floor and rising to about 6 feet above the water.

Always Interested in Sunken Ships. --Cooter

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Wreck of LaSalle's Ship, La Belle-- Part 1

From the May 1992 National Geographic Magazine.

I'd heard of the explorer LaSalle and knew he sailed for France, but beyond that didn't know a lot about him.

On July 24, 1684, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle sailed from France to the New World with four ships and 300 men and women with the intention of establishing a colony and port at the mouth of the Mississippi River to establish permanent French domination of the waterway.

Earlier, he had become the first European to travel the length of the Mississippi, but he was not so successful this time, overshooting the river by 400 miles, losing his ship, the Belle, and his whole settlement.

The wreck of his 45-ton barque longue ship has been discovered in 1995 in Matagorda Bay, Texas, in 12 feet of water and excavated. Shrimpers had snagged their nets on the wreck for decades. A cofferdam was built around it and water pumped out, making it the first dry-land excavation of an offshore wreck in the Western hemisphere.

Always Interested in Discovered Shipwrecks. --Cooter

The mud in the bay has preserved the wreck more than could be hoped for.

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Fictional Faathers-- Part 3

8. Before he was HOWARD CUNNIGHAM, Tom Bosley of "Happy Days" acted with Paul Newman at the Woodstock Opera House in Woodstock, Illinois. Bosley was born in Glencoe, Il., and served in the Navy in World War II. At the end of the movie "Groundhog Day" Bill Murray said that he wanted a family. Earlier, he had tried to commit suicide from the belfry of the Woodstock Opera House, a place near us and that I've been to many times.

9. In John Irving's novel "The World According to Garp," the protagonist is conceived when his mother, a nurse, has sex with a dying patient named TECHNICAL SGT. GARP. In real life, Irving didn't know who his biological father was. he told his mother he would make something up if she didn't tell him. "Go ahead, dear," she said...and, he did.

10. "Father Knows Best" started out as a radio sitcom in 1949 as "Father Knows Best?" When it moved to TV in 1954, the producers were more confident in DAD's wisdom and dropped the question mark.

Again, Another Fine Job, Mark and Stephan. --DaCoot

Ten Things You Might No Know About Fictional Fathers-- Part 2

4. Pat Conroy's abusive character Lt. Col. "BULL" MEECHAM in his novel "The Great Santini" was based on his own fighter-pilot father, but the author said his real father was even worse. His father so hated his depiction that he changed his ways after the novel came out.

5. Dr. HEATHCLIFFE HUXTABLE, better known as Cliff, was one of the most popular TV dads ever and played by the hilarious Bill Cosby. One tip he gave was, "Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell, the name will carry." And remember this fatherly threat, "I brought you into this world and I can take you out...And make another one just like you."

6. Some oft-quoted movie lines were never spoken. "Luke, I am your father," supposedly said by DARTH VADER in "The Empire Strikes Back," was actually, "No, I am your father."

7.. Laurence Fishburne and Cuba Gooding, Jr. played father and son in 1991's "Boyz N the Hood" even though they were just six and a half years apart.

Father Knows Best. --Cooter

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Fictional Fathers-- Part 1

Once again, Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer do a great job finding some interesting stuff on a particular topic, this time, in honor of Father's Day back in June.

From the June 19th Chicago Tribune.

1. Among the most admired fictional fathers is ATTICUS FINCH, the lawyer from "To Kill a Mockingbird" played by Gregory Peck. He was based on author Harper Lee's father. One day on the set, Peck saw the author crying as she watched a scene and stopped to talk to her: "Oh, Gregory, you've got a little potbelly, just like my daddy."

2. Chevy Chase plays CLARK GRISWALD in the four "Vacation" movies, but his two kids are played by different actors in each film. In the fourth movie, "Vegas Vacation," Griswald declares: "You guys are growing up so fast, I hardly recognize you anymore." No wonder.

3. Gene Hackman might have been the father on "The Brady Bunch" but lacked the celebrity and Robert Reed got it.

More to Come. --Cooter

Friday, August 12, 2011


I found out today that two of our friends, Kora and Sue, had fathers who served on LSTs.

Kora said her father might have been killed except that on a really hot night in the Pacific, he and the rest of the crew decided to sleep out on the deck. The compartment where they would have been sleeping had a kamikaze plane crash into it. The ship sank.

LSTs, the Little-Known World War II Ships. --Cooter

The LST World War II Veteran-- Part 2

This elderly gentleman told me a story about his experience of the LST. The shop had a dog and one time the dog fell overboard. When the captain was informed, he broke formation and turned around to rescue the pooch.

One sailor jumped in and then this man did as well. However, the huge swells caused him not to be able to swim and he ended up being rescued as well. A line was thrown into the water and he climbed up it.

The dog was rescued as well.

Another time, they gave some chickens to some islanders who then proceeded to come out to the LST (somewhere in the 480s, LST-485, as they were not given names) in small boats, picked the crew up and they had a picnic on the beach.

His LST participated in the majority of actions in the 1944 and 1945.

I told him about the LST-325 and gave the woman accompanying him the number, LST-325) and location of it, Evansville, Indiana, a fitting place because LSTs were also built there, although not this one.

I Would Have Liked to Have Talked with Him Some More. --DaCoot

Wilmington, NC "America's World War II City"-- Part 3

I doubt that any other American city has done so much with its World War II heritage. They even have a World War II Trail you can drive.

6. Wilmington lost 248 men defending America. Two Hanover High School graduates were given the Congressional Medal of Honor and numerous others received high decorations for valor, including Navy Crosses, Distinguished Service Crosses and Distinguished Flying Crosses.

7. Wilmington's strategic position made it vulnerable to attack by German U-boats which marauded shipping off the beaches. In July 1943m a U-boat fired at the Ethan-Dow chemical plant in Wilmington, perhaps the only German attack on mainland America.

Wilmington endured the attack as well as constant civilian defense restrictions, air raid drills, black outs and dim outs.

The population more than doubled with military personnel forcing locals to cope with shortages and crowding in housing, schools, transportation, medical and social services, law enforcement and food supply.

Almost every American city faced the trials and tribulations of World War and are deserving of designation, but Wilmington takes the lead.

I Sure Hope They Get It. --Cooter

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Lewis & Clark Trail

I have been writing about the this historical route in my Road Blog at

Some day I'd like to drive this whole thing. We have been to their winter camp in Illinois where they started as well as St. Charles, Missouri where they officially started. We've also been to Fort Clatsop on the Pacific Ocean, where they ended.

This information on the other blog is coming from a cereal box.

That's One Way to Get the Kids Hooked on History. --Cooter

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Earl's Take on History

I have become a big fan of a comic strip called Pickles by Brian Crane. It features old guy, at least in his sixties, maybe older, Earl and his wife Opal. I am starting to relate way too much to him. must mean I am getting older too.

From the July 17th Chicago Tribune.

FRAME 1: Earl and a buddy are sitting on a park bench. His buddy is reading a newspaper. Earl: "Who was that guy who sat under the tree? Newton something or other."

FRAME 2: Friend: "Oh, you mean Isaac Newton?"
Earl: "Yeah, that's the one. Didn't he invent the theory of relativity?"

FRAME 3: Friend: "No, No. That was Einstein. Newton discovered gravity."
Earl: "Oh yeah. The thing with the apple."

FRAME 4: Earl: "Some guy shot the apple off his head with a bow and arrow, right?"

FRAME 5: Friend: "Nope. You're thinking of William Tell."
Earl: "Ahh..."

FRAME 6: Earl: "I'm actually pretty good at history stuff. It's just the small details that I'm a little fuzzy on."

Just Like Earl, I'm Getting a Little Fuzzy On Stuff. --RoadDog

The LST World War II Veteran-- Part 1

Yesterday, some friends and us boated over to Electric Harbor's tiki bar in Lake Villa overlooking Fox Lake for the $2 cheeseburger and fries special.

There was one guy there who looked and sounded a lot like a long-haired Mel Gibson, but that's besides the point. What would a big star like him be doing here with us regular folk?

A younger woman we took to be a daughter or granddaughter was there with an older gent who was really attacking some chicken wings and enjoying his Heinekin. He seemed to be quite alert and joking.

At one point, the bartender asked how old he was. He was 87.

I asked him if he had been in World War II and he said yes. I thanked him for doing that job. One of our Greatest Generation that we are unfortunately losing all too fast now.

He beamed and thanked me.

I then asked if he would tell me about some of his experiences and he was happy to do just that.

During the war, he served on a LST, Landing Ship Tank. I've only recently become more familiar with these ships and am intrigued by them. Their crews referred to LSTs as "Large Slow-Moving Targets," very appropriate because of their size and slow cruising.

I've heard others say that these were the ships that won the war as they transported not only tanks and other vehicles from point to point in both the European and Pacific theaters, but also they carried ammunition, supplies and troops.

More to come.

Thank a Vet, But Especially a World War II Vet. --Cooter

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dead Page: Pearl Harbor-- "A Hundred Pounds of Clay"



Mr. Gauger, 91, was on the 31,000 ton battleship USS Pennsylvania during the attack. A child of the Great Depression, he grew up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, joining the Navy in 1939 at age 19 to help his family financially.

About the attack, he said, "My station was inside the gun room of the 14-inch weapon. It was hectic. We loaded ammo all afternoon. We took a bomb hit and lost 25 men that day. After it was over, the smell of death was in the harbor for days, probably a week."

From the August 6th El Paso (Tx) Times

GENE McDANIELS (1935-2011)

Singer and sonwriter born in Kansas City and grew up in Omaha, Nebraska.

In 1961, he had a #5 hit with "Tower of Power" and later a #3 with "A Hundred Pounds of Clay." In 1974, Roberta Flack took his song "Feel Like Making Love" all the way to #1.

Wilmington, NC "America's World War II City"-- Part 2

More reasons for the designation:

3. The North Carolina Shipbuilding Company of Wilmington, the state's largest employer at the time, constructed 243 cargo vessels.

4. Wilmington provided the Atlantic Coastline Railroad headquarters, three housing camps for German prisoners of war, a major training base for P-47 fighters, defense industries producing goods and equipment, a British patrol base and a shipping base for Lend-Lease supplies for the Allies.

5. Wilmington sent thousands of sons and daughters to fight the enemy on land, air and sea., P-51 fighters, Tuskegee Airmen, submarine skippers, bomber pilots, Army artillerymen, physicians, nurses and volunteers of all sorts.

Definitely Reason to Become the First World War II City. And, I'm Not Finished. --Cooter

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wilmington, NC "American World War II City"-- Part 1

From the August 5th Wilmington (NC) Star-News "McIntyre seeks WW II designation for Wilmington."

US Representative Mike McIntyre wants Wilmington to be designated as the first "American World War II City" because of its numerous contributions to the war effort.

As such, he has introduced legislation in the House where the bill has been referred to the House Veteran Affairs Committee.

From what I know about Wilmington's role in the war, this would be a very appropriate designation. To say the war had an impact on Wilmington would be a serious understatement. Wilmington has also probably done more to highlight that era than any other American city as well. they even have a World War II Driving Tour.

Representative McIntyre lists these contributions in his bill:

1. Wilmington was the country's unique wartime boom, and aptly and officially was named "The Defense Capital of the State."

2. Wilmington based and trained all five military services: the Air Force at Wilmington Airport, the Army at Camp Davis and Fort Fisher, the Navy at Fort Caswell, the Coast Guard at Caswell Beach and Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune, (OK, that's at Jacksonville, NC, but its close enough).

More to Come. --DaCoot

Six Flags 50 Years Later-- Part 2

Six Flags Over Texas opened in 1961 with a few attractions, but it was all Texas history and the people responded. Some 500,000 came through the turn styles the first season which lasted just 45 days.

Today, Six Flags has 5,662 acres in 19 parks in the US, Canada and Mexico. There are about 800 rides and 128 roller coasters. In 2010 Six Flags emerged from bankruptcy and even then had 24.3 million pay for the privilege.


** Six Flags claims to have had the first all-inclusive one price admission starting in 1961 when it cost $2.95 plus tax.

** It has the tallest coaster in the world and fastest in North America: The Kingda Kat in Jackson, NJ at 456 feet and 128 mph (No Thanks from Me).

** Six Flags coasters travel 25 million miles a year.

** ON a clear day, you can see the White House, the Capitol and the Washington Monument from the top of Superman: Ride of Steel, in Mitchellville, Maryland.

Six Flag Operations are located:

Vallejo, California
Austell, Georgia
Gurnee, Illinois (about 20 miles from us)
Mitchellville, Maryland
Agawam, Massachusetts
St. Louis, Missouri (right off Route 66)
Jackson, New Jersey
Lake George, New York
San Antonio, Texas
Montreal, Canada
Mexico City, Mexico

I Stay Away From these Places. Too Many Kids. Plus, I Don't Like to Wait in Lines. --Cooter

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Six Flags, 50 years Later-- Part 1

From the July 31st Chicago Tribune by Toni Salama.

Six Flags Over Texas marked its 50th anniversary August 5th and what was expected to last but for a few seasons has really been around awhile now.

In 1961, the controversy between Dallas and Fort Worth for economic supremacy was in full swing causing the small towns between them to struggle. Disneyland, out in California, had been booming for five years already. But a trip there from Texas was 1400 miles (some along Route 66)

The late Angus Wynne, Jr. saw an opportunity for a regional family amusement park with attractions themed for Texas history. He called it Six Flags because the flags of six countries had flown over the state: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederacy and the United States.

Little Arlington, half way between Dallas and Fort Worth was more than willing to get on board with the project.

It worked and now, the park is a big reason Rangers Ballpark, Cowboys Stadium and a host of hotels and commercial efforts have sprung up in the city.

More to Come. --Cooter

Tuskegee Airmen Plane to the Smithsonian

A PT-13 Stearman open cockpit biplane used by the airmen as a trainer has been located, bought, refurbished and turned over to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.

It was decommissioned in 1946 and for decades used for crop-dusting before being damaged in a crash.

It was purchased at auction and restored over a three-year period by former B-52 bomber pilot Matthew Quy.

It is one a just a few surviving planes with ties to Moton Field and the Tuskegee Institute where 1,000 black pilots got their wings during World War II.

A Great Part of History. --Cooter

Twelve Missing World War II Airmen Identified and Buried-- Part 3

From August 4th My Fox DC.

Charles Durgin and his brother always heard stories when they were growing up about an Uncle Fred whom they had never met. Uncle Fred was Staff Sergeant Frederick Harris, the tail gunner on a B-24 bomber nicknamed the "Shack Rat."

It disappeared during an operation in the Pacific and the family never knew what happened to him until 2003, when a crew member's ID was found in New Guinea in a site so remote that it was not until 2007 that a forensic team was able to get to it.

Yesterday, the remains of the men were buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Section 66.

Never Give Up looking for the MIAs.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Is This the First Time Cowboys Have Squared Off Against Aliens?

I thought it was, but....


There is a new set of DVDs out called, "A Big Box of Cowboys, Aliens, Robots and Death Rays" has been released, featuring eight Westerns that entered the Sci-Fi zone.

Probably the most famous is Gene Autry's 1935 "Radio Ranch" where he discovers people living under the earth.

Others in the set:

1936's "Ghost Patrol"
1932's "Tombstone Canyon"
1941's "Saddle Mountain Roundup"
1935's "Vanishing Riders"

Star Trek Vs. Cowboys. Was There Ever an Episode? --DaCoot

Every Cowboy Needs a Sidekick

Here are three notable actors who were trusty partners in many Westerns:

GEORGE "GABBY" HAYES-- Hayes was the "codger" sidekick to Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers and Billy Elliott. he also appeared in 15 John Wayne movies.

SMILEY BURNETTE-- Versatile singer-songwriter played Gene Autry's funny sidekick Frog Millhouse in 62 movies. (I wonder if this is where Millhouse's name comes from on "The Simpsons?"

PAT BUTTRAM-- Was sidekick to Autry in 40 films and 100 episodes of "The Gene Autry Show."

Hey, Where's Cisco? --Cooter

Silent Film Cowboys-- Part 2


Actually a Shakespearean actor and a big fan of the Old West. Personal friends with Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson.

Film career began in 1914 and gained his fame initially as the lead role in
The Bargain" shot on location in the Grand Canyon.

Realism was always a big part in his movies as he paid attention to the details of costumes and props. He even was cast in the role of villain.

At Paramount Pictures he made "Square Deal Sanderson" and "The Toll Gate."

He died in 1946 at the age of 81.


This is the only one of the three I'd ever heard of.

Native of Mix Run, Pennsylvania, became a star in 1910's "Ranch Life in the Great Southwest." An excellent shot, cattle wrangler and horseman, Mix made some 160 cowboy silent Saturday matinee films, always playing the man in the white hat who saved the day. His horse Tony "The Wonder Horse" also became a star.

In 1932, he returned to films in the talkie era.

Mix also opened a film-shooting set called Mixville near Glendale Avenue in the former town of Edendale (where Echo park and Silver Lake are now, I'm figuring in California). It was a 12-acre frontier town with an Indian village, fake desert and realistic miniature mountains.

In 1940, he died at age 60 in a crash on Arizona Highway 79 near Florence. "The Wonder Horse" died two years later.

Wasn't Tom Mix the one hawking that gun that Ralphie wanted so badly in "A Christmas Story?"

Hi-Ho Silver!! Awaaaay!! --DaCoot

Silent Film Cowboys-- Part 1

From the July 27th Chicago Tribune "Go West, film fans" by Susan King.

This is timely because of that "Cowboys-Aliens" movie. I haven't seen it yet, but plan to.

At the heart of any great Western is a cowboy hero and there have been many legendary ones like John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Randolph Scott, Clint Eastwood and many others.

Here is a look at three of the first Western stars, back in the days of the silent films.


Born in 1880 and is considered the first Western film star. He played three parts in "The Great Train Robbery" and then began to write, direct and act in his own films. With George kirk Spoor, he started Essanay Studios in 1907 and then appeared in some 300 short films, but it was his 148 Westerns as "Bronco Billy" that made him a star.

He died at age 90 in 1971.

Giddy-Up and Go, Horsie!! --Cooter

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Twelve Missing WW II Airmen Identified and Buried-- Part 2

The Department of Defense reports that more than 73,000 Americans still remain unaccounted for from World War II. here are 12 heroes no longer on that list:

1ST LT. JACK E. VOLZ-- 21, Indianapolis, Ind.
2ND LT. REGIS E. DIETZ-- 28, Pittsburgh, Pa.
2ND LT. EDWARD J. LAKE-- 25, Brooklyn, NY

2ND LT. MARTIN P. MURRAY-- 21, Lowell, Mass.
2ND LT. WILLIAM J. SHRYOCK-- 23, Gary, Ind.
TECH SGT. ROBERT S. WREN-- 25, Seattle, Wash.

TECH SGT. HOLLIS R. SMITH-- 22, Cove, Ark.

STAFF SGT. CLAUSE A. RAY-- 24, Coffeyville, Kan.
STAFF SGT. CLAUDE G. TYLER-- 24, Landover Md.

This list gives a good indication of the age and location of bomber crews.

Heroes All.

Twelve Missing WW II Airmen Identified and Buried-- Part 1

From the July 28th KOMO News, Seattle, Washington "Seattle man among 12 missing WWII airmen identified."

Robert S. Wren was part of the crew of a B-24D Liberator that took off from an airfield near Port Moresby, New Guinea, October 27, 1943, on a reconnaissance mission. They were part of a larger Allied air attack on Japanese-held Rabaut, New Britain. Their mission was to go to the nearby shipping lanes in the Bismarck Sea.

However, bad weather struck and the plane was radioed to land at a friendly airstrip. The plane's last radio transmission did not give its location, and that was the last the Americans ever heard of the plane.

In the following weeks, multiple searches were made for it, but nothing came of it. The Liberator and its crew were classified as unrecoverable and that was that.

Many planes during the war were lost in this area.

In 2003, a Joint POW/MIA team received word of a crash site in papua-New Guinea as they were investigating another case. A man turned in an id card from one of the crew members and told the team there were remains at the site.

Poor weather prevented attempts to get to the site and it wasn't until early 2007. DNA tests were run on the crew and it turned out that this was the missing plane. Remains representing the crew will be interred in a single casket at Arlington National Cemetery today with full military honors.

Eight of the crew members have already been buried individually while three others will be buried elsewhere today.

The list of heroes will be printed in the next entry.

Always Glad When Our War Dead Are Brought Home.

Still Looking for the Bonhomme Richard

From the July 29th Naval History Blog.

I'm glad they are looking for the wreck of this famous US ship, although I doubt there would be much left after all these years.

For the last two weeks, a US Naval group has been combing over several hundred nautical miles of frigid North Sea waters for the legendary vessel, John Paul Jones' ship in the famous "I have not yet begun to fight" battle with the HMS Serapis.

The weather and seas have been horrible.

The unit is using remotely operated vehicles and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles which are towed behind the search ship. This is also a training opportunity for naval divers.

Here's Hoping for Some Success. --Cooter

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

World War II Bombing Raids Affected British Weather

From the July 8th I-G Daily by Emma Woolacott.

Contrails from World War II bombers changed English weather, making it colder where the planes were operating.

Research by Professor Rob Mackenzie at the University of Birmingham examined levels of Aircraft Induced Cloudiness (AIC) caused by massive Allied bombing missions.

From 1943 to 1945, the US Army Air Force had huge numbers of aircraft based in East Anglia, the Midlands and West Country. When they took off, the skies would turn white from the contrails of the huge formations. Over the long term, the weather was warmer, but short term, colder as the clouds prevented the sunlight from reaching earth.

Something You Don't Think About. But Makes Sense This Would Happen. --DaCoot

World War II Shipwrecks Could Threaten US Coast-- Part 2

Continued from Friday July 29th.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is taking inventory on more than 30,000 coastal wrecks, including many from the 1942 Battle of the Atlantic and the rest of the war. They want to identify those that pose the biggest threats.

Those vessels not completely destroyed in attacks have intact fuel tanks, and many, like the Steed, sank with holds filled with crude oil, diesel fuel and explosives.

They have narrowed the worst threat list to 233 wrecks and hope to have a final list by the end of the year.

Four of the worst wrecks are located within 50 miles of Baltimore, including"

** John Morgan, a Liberty ship built in 1943 by Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyards in Baltimore. On its maiden voyage, June 1943, it collided with another vessel off Cape Henry and sank with a cargo of fighter planes, tanks, arms and ammunition. Sixty-seven crew members and guards died.

More to Come. --Cooter

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dead Page: The Horse With No Name

DAN PEEK (1950-2011)

Founding Member of the Group America

Member of the soft-rock trio America who hit the charts many times in the 1970s with hits like:

A Horse With No Name
Ventura Highway
Sister Golden Hair
Tin Man
Daisy Jane
Lonely People

All songs that played a part in my life.

Died July 24th in Farmington, Missouri, outside of St. Louis.

he and band members Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnel scored six Top Tens.

He was born Nov. 1, 1950, in Panama City, Florida. His father was in the military and moved often where he met the other two in England.

Great Music. Thanks.

See-Through Sensation: That Ghost Pontiac

I have written a blog about the 1939 Plexiglas Pontiac sedan on my RoadLog Blog.

This car is coming up for auction this week and has an interesting history and a definite tie-in with World War II.

Like to See It. --Cooter

Monday, August 1, 2011

Palwaukee Airport

The third (or 4th) Chicago airport (if you're counting the late Meigs Field at the lakefront.

This is where the three World War II aircraft were on the 23rd, when we were going to visit them. I have since heard from someone who was there that they closed the whole thing down because of the flooding in Chicago's Northwest suburbs, so am glad I didn't go to it. But we did drive down to Palatine.

In 1925, it consisted of 40 acres and was called Gauthier's Flying Field. In 1928, it was renamed Palwaukee Airport after the two roads that form the eastern and southern borders of it.

Illinois Highway 21 is Milwaukee Avenue. US-45, River Road in this stretch, also goes by the airport. The "Pal" in the name comes from Palatine Road.

The name was changed to the Chicago Executive Airport and it ranks as the third busiest in Illinois.

Next Time. --Cooter