Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Top Ten Animal Actors

From the Jan. 11, 2012 Listverse.

Check out the actual site as they have pictures and write ups. I'm just listing and commenting.

10. J. Fred Mugs-- Heard of him. Never saw him.
9. Bamboo Harvester-- Mr. Ed's real name. "W-i-l-b-e-r!!"
8. Hiland Dale-- Black Beauty's real name.

7. Old Yeller Don't start crying.
6. Golden Cloud-- Trigger, Roy's horsie.
5. Terry-- Toto's real name from the Wizard

4. Pal-- Lassie
3. Skippy-- from the Thin Man
2. Rin-Tin-Tin "Go Rennie!!"

1. Higgins-- star of TV and movies. "Petticoat Junction" and Benji.

What, no Lone Ranger's horse? Hi-Yo Silver...Away!! --Cooter

Monday, January 30, 2012

"Here Comes Suzy Snowflake"

Also, "Hardrock, Coco and Joe."

This was a bit of a throwback, but yesterday, at Terry Spizzirri's show at AJ's Horsin' Around Saloon in Round Lake Park, Illinois, I yelled to terry to play something to do with snow in honor of the 45th anniversary of the Great Chicago Snowfall of '67/Blizzard of '67.

That stumped him for a bit, but suddenly half the bar broke out singing "Here Comes Suzy Snowflake." Definitely an older crowd.

Now, you had to be an oldster from Chicago to remember this seasonal song as it was played during the 50s and 60s a lot during winter and Christmas. They definitely didn't use or have much in the way of special effects, and, to tell the truth was a bit corny, but it is a part of our past.

And, we sure got a lot of Suzy Snowflake and her friends back 45 years ago.

In addition, there was this great video of "Hardrock, Coco and Joe."

You can see both on YouTube.

Go away, Suzy!! --DaCoot

What's in a Name? Must Be a Chicago-Suburb Thing

Yesterday, listening to Bob Stroud play the full three hours of his Rock and Roll Roots Show with just music playing on the radio (that would be WLS and WCFL, both AM stations) and in our record collections, he kept referring to the storm as "The Great Snowstorm of '67."

I always called it the "Blizzard of '67." Liz said that in Chicago, where she was living when it happened, they called it "The Great Snowstorm of '67." Since Bob and I were living in Palatine, a suburb of Chicago, it might have been a suburb-Chicago thing.

Bob Stroud played fifty songs in the three hours of his show yesterday. You have to love those three-minute and under songs. I'll be posting some of the set list and Stroud's comments and mine on my Down Da Road I Go Blog today.

Liz and I had a nice conversation about the Blizzard or Snowstorm.

I'm sure we got off school on the Friday, but think we might have been back at school as early as Monday or Tuesday the next week. Liz said her school, Madonna High School in Chicago, was closed the entire next week.

I Hate Snow for the Most Part. Makes You Wonder Why I Contine to Live Here in the Midwest. --RoadDog

Saturday, January 28, 2012

45th Anniversary of Chicago's Blizzard of '67: Brother Bob Still Claims I Did It On Purpose

It slipped my mind, too, until Bob Stroud (not the Bob I am referring to in the headline) said that his Sunday Rock and Roll Roots Show was going to highlight the music playing on our radios when we were a bit snowbound back on January 27, 1967.

Starting at 5:02 AM on Thursday, Jam. 26th, the snow came and didn't stop until 10:10 AM on Friday, Jan. 27th. This was the biggest snowfall in Chicago's history. It also came with lots of wind (hey, Windy City) and we had drifts. Mighty big drifts and the city ground to a standstill.

Just two days earlier, temps in Chicago had been an extremely unseasonal 65 degrees. Then the temps started to drop, then the snow came.

To add insult to injury, we got four more inches Feb. 1st and four days later, another ten inches.


DID IT ON PURPOSE

This was in the days before snow blowers, when the home's boys were expected to get out there with snow shovels and clear the driveway and sidewalks. There were two of us, but the only thing was that I had broken my right ankle wrestling back in December and had a full cast. So...I couldn't help clear all that snow.

Brother Bob swore that I must have known this was coming and had broken my ankle on purpose. I just sat there watching TV with a big smile on my face as he trudged out the door, uttering what I suppose were oaths of love under his breath.

I'll be listing some songs from the WLS Silver Dollar Survey for January 27, 1967, on my Down Da Road I Go Blog.

So, If You Lived Through It (BOB) or Just Like to Hear a Lot of Great Music from 45 Years Ago, Give It a Listen. --DaCoot

The First Two USS New Yorks

From Wikipeia.

The first New York was a gondola, hurriedly-built on Lake Champlain, New York, in 1776 and participated in the Battle of Valcour Island on Oct. 11, 1776. The American fleet, under the command of Benedict Arnold was most captured or sunk, with the New York escaping. One of then, the USS Philadelphia, was sunk and raised in 1935 and is now in the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

The second USS New York was a three-masted, wooden-hulled frigate commissioned in 1800. It was one of five frigates built by the states for the Federal government by subscription.

The New York was 145-feet long, had a 38-foot beam and complement of 340 officers and enlisted, mounting 26 X 18 pounder guns and 20 X 32-pdr. carronades.

The ship served in the Caribbean and along the Barbary Coast before returning to the Washington Navy Yard where it was put in ordinary from 1803 until burned by the British when they captured the city in 1814 during the War of 1812.

And, That's Just Two of Them. --Cooter

Friday, January 27, 2012

US Ships by the Name New York-- Part 2

5th-- Armored cruiser ACR-2. Flagship of Rear Admiral William T. Sampson in the Spanish-American War. At the Battle of Santiago de Cuba. Later renamed USS Saratoga (free up name for battleship BB-34) and USS Rochester (free up name for aircraft carrier). Sunk to avoid capture by Japanese. Now an artificial reef in the Philippines.

6th-- Battleship BB-34 commissioned 1914. Served in both world wars. Survived atomic bomb testing at Bikini Island. Sunk in 1948 off Pearl Harbor as a target ship.

7th-- Nuclear submarine SSN-696 (1979-1997)

The new New York LPD-21 named for 9-11 and contains 24 tons of metal from the WTC.

The Stories of Ships. --DaCoot

US Ships By the Name New York-- Part 1

Back in 2009, the US Navy commissioned a new ship, the USS New York (LPD-21), the 8th ship to bear the name. They had to get special designation since state names now go to submarines.

This is an attack ship specially built to fight terrorism. What's even better, it also has metal recycled from the World Trade Center buildings. Kind of a payback.

Other ships bearing the name:

1st-- Armed gondola 1776, burned to prevent capture.

2nd-- 34-gun frigate built 1800. Operated Mediterranean Sea. Burned by British.

3rd-- Ship-of-the-line, laid down 1820, but never launched. Burned to prevent capture by Confederates at Norfolk Navy Yard 1861.

4th-- Screw sloop started 1863, but never launched and later sold.

More to Come. --Cooter

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"War Horse": A Look at World War II Technology

If one thing became clear due to the movie, it was the huge improvement in technology that had occurred by the First World War. At the same time, military strategists just weren't getting it.

Armies still used cavalry and loved cavalry charges, something that was nothing less than slaughter for man and beast when machine guns were encountered as in the movie. Plus, it is not a good idea to attack your enemy when they are entrenched and fortified.

Definitely never send men into No Man's Land. Then, there were the new vehicles powered by gasoline engines. Still, however, armies used horses to pull artillery.

The tanks were new as well and mightily scary-looking. I loved it when Joey, the horse, jumped over the front of the tank and galloped down its back in the one scene.

Trench warfare and gas attacks were also shown in the movie.

Well Worth Seeing. --Cooter

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Saw a Great Movie Monday-- "War Horse"

I had wanted to see this one when it first came out on Christmas Day, but figured there would be too many people with the same idea. And especially bad because for some reason so many people were off work. Doesn't anyone ever have to work anymore?

All the previews had this being right up the line for me to like it. War, adventure, animals. That's the ticket.

People stayed off work until after Jan. 1st, so didn't go. I like a mostly empty theater the best when I'm seeing a movie. Lots of seat choices and no battle for the armrest.

Then, we left on vacation on the 4th and I'm not sitting in a theater when the weather is not below freezing.

Got back home Sunday and it was already gone at the Fox Lake Theatre where I see most of my movies. It only showed at 10 PM in Round Lake Beach, too late for me.

But, the McHenry Indoor Theater had it on at 7 PM. This is one of those movies that need to be seen on the big screen.

So, after seeing another great war movie, "Red Tails" in the afternoon, it was on to McHenry.

If a Horse Could Talk. --Cooter

Well Worth the Effort. --Cooter

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

World War I: A War of New Technology

I came across a very interesting article in the Jan. 21, 2012 Scientific American titled "Warfare in 1912: A Look in Scientific American's Archives."

Daniel C, Schlenoff went back through the records for 1912 and found these items about the new warfare technology being developed these two years before the war broke out in 1914.

1. Huge coast defense guns.
2. Coast guns that could fire and then disappear behind massive concrete walls for loading (the so-called disappearing guns).

3. Secrets and Spies: a tripod device with three mirrors ground so well that they could reflect a loght beam in an exact direction from which a signal came from. Secure communications.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Monday, January 23, 2012

Texas History on Auction

From Jan. 12, 2009, Houston Chronicle.

Two items of special interest to historians were going to auction.

One was an 8 by 10-inch broadside plea from Col. William Travis for volunteers at the Alamo, dated Match 3, 1836. However, by the time it arrived at the Texas Constitutional Convention, March 6th, it as already too late as the Alamo fell that day.

The Texas Confederate Museum of the UDC got ot in 1935 from a member whose grandfather, Abram W. Hill was likely the original recipient.

The other item was the 249-page diary of Joseph Pulsifer (1832-1836) and has copies of letters he sent and received. He was a founder of Beaumont.

Now, That's Some Real History! --Cooter

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

World War I-Era Bombs Found a Bellows Field in Honolulu

From the Jan. 12th Honolulu Star Advertiser.

Three WW I-era bombs were found at Bellows Field. These were designed to be hand-dropped from airplanes. These were part of unexploded ordnance dug up at the golf range at the air base.

One of the 25-pound Cooper bombs had its fuse intact and was exploded, the other two posed no threat.

Bellows field was established in 1917 and got its present name in 1933.

A Bit of the Past. --Cooter

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cruise Tragedy Draws Comparisons to Another-- Part 2

The Costa Concordia (CC) launched in 2006 and Titanic (launched in 1911) were both among the largest and most luxurious ships ever built.

However, as far as class differences, there was a huge gap. On the Titanic, the classes were kept apart. On the CC, even the folks in the $199 rooms roamed the vessel with those in the $4000 ones.

The Titanic was 883 feet long, the CC 952.

Both had a top speed of 23 knots.

Both ships had issues with their christenings. The Titanic was never christened. They couldn't get the bottle of champagne to break on the CC.

The Titanic carried 2,207 passengers, the CC 4,200.

The CC far outweighed the Titanic, 114,500 tons versus 46,392.

The commander of the Titanic, Captain Edward Smith, went down with his ship. The CC's commander got off his ship right away.

The Titanic's sinking brought about an increase in safety measures still in use today. I'm sure there will be new ones added after this one.

One Hundred Years Apart. --Cooter

Cruise Tragedy Draws Comparisons with Another-- Part 1

You just wouldn't think, in these digital and GPS days, that a ship that size and crewed by folks with that experience could possibly hit something as happened to the Costa Concordia off Italy this past weekend.

And, we are just shy of three months off from the 100th anniversary of one of the most famous ever shipwrecks, that being the Titanic.

I saw an interesting AP article in the Panama City, Florida, newspaper drawing some comparisons between the two tragedies, just a hundred years apart.

The Titanic was the biggest ship ever build in England, well, Belfast, Northern Ireland, at the time. The Costa Concordia (CC) still s the biggest ship ever built in Italy.

The Titanic hit and iceberg and went to the bottom. The CC hit a reef, rock or bottom and turned over on its side.

More to Come. --DaCoot

Hey, Captain of the Costa Concordia!!

Haven't you ever heard of the old saying, "The captain goes down with his ship."?

Or, at very least, the Captain should not be the first one off in an emergency.

At least, Captain Edward Smith went down with his ship.

Very Disappointing. --Cooter

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"Doc" of the USS Helena CA-75-- Part 2

"Doc," unfortunately, did not show up at Donovan's Reef last night, so I was unable to find out more about his Korean War experiences.

I do remember him saying that his ship was often involved in bombarding the North Korean shore batteries. Of course, with those big 8-inch and broadside 5-inchers, the ship was very effective.

One time, he said they were having a hard time hitting targets. Later they found that the enemy had their guns on railroads and were pulling them behind mountains when the Helena opened fire.

Another time, the Helena ended up going to Portland,Oregon, for its Rose Festival. The USS Saint Paul, a sister ship of the Helena, was originally supposed to be there, but it had had an explosion in one of its main gun turrets and they didn't want civilians seeing all the damage.

Of course, he remembers getting into a lot of trouble whenever they had shore leave.

I Sure Don't Doubt That. One of America's Greatest. --Cooter

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Doc" of the USS Helena CA-75-- Part 1

Last night at Donovan's Reef Bar here in Panama City Beach, Florida, I met one of the most interesting characters ever, 78-year-old "Doc." If I can reach that age doing just half as well as him, life would have been mighty good. What a character.

His supply of jokes, often a bit off-color, knew no end. One after another. He's been married three times and lives in Rome, Georgia.

He didn't say how he got the name "Doc," but made sure to say he was never a "Pecker-Checker" Corpsman.

He was wearing a USS Helena hat and shirt, so I got into a talk with him. I seemed to remember a World War II cruiser named the USS Helena and that it had been at Pearl Harbor, but he said his was a different ship. The original Helena (the one I was thinking of) was sunk in World War II and the CA-75 wasn't commissioned until after the war but saw considerable action bombarding enemy positions during the Korean War.

I'm sure this ship had to be one of the last US heavy, all-gun, cruisers ever built.

More to Come. --Cooter

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Oyster Bash to Save SeaLab

From the January 12th Panama City 9Fl) News Herald "Saving Sealab" by Jessica McCarthy.

"A piece of local and marine history is decaying and in desperate need of rehabilitation.

The SeaLab 1 sea floor habitat changed he limits for divers and researchers, leading saturation diving, staying on the ocean floor for days or weeks at a time."

It is today located the Man in the Sea Museum on Back Beach Road (US-98). A two-year campaign to refurbish it kicks off Jan. 20th with a $25 all-you can eat Oyster Bash. It is estimated that $250,000 will be needed to return it to good condiion.

The lab is "corroding, rusting and wearing away. he access hole, through which divers entered and left the structure also allows birds, animals and even the homeless to set up temporary residence.

They're hoping to have he whole thing completed by 2014, the 50th anniversary of its creation.

"It was built in 1964 by a team of engineers under the direction of Dr. George Bnd and a team of divers., including Bob Barth who will speak at the Bash.

I've driven by the museum several times, but never stopped in. I didn't realize how important this relic was.

Perhaps This Time. --Cooter

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mobile Mardi Gras Parade Tonight

As part of the Go-Daddy Bowl, they will be having an early Mardi Gras parade in downtown Mobile tonight. From people we've talked to last night, it is quite the big deal. I'm wondering if we are actually in the Mardi Gras season now?

Of course, Mobile maintains that the first Mardi Gras in what is today the U.S. took place here, and not in that "other city to the west."

The first recorded Mardi Gras observance here took place in 1703 at Twenty-seven Mile Bluff, Mobile's first settlement. In 1711, it was continued at the present-day site of the city and the first Mardi Gras organization, the Boeuf Gras Society formed to do it.

By 1730, a new group, the Cowbellion de Ralin was on it as well and seven years later, they introduced the idea of "throws" where members threw sugar plumbs, kisses and oranges at persons along the parade route..

Check out my Civil War blog to find out the impact of that war on the celebration.

Bon Tons Roulet? --Cooter

Friday, January 6, 2012

Canton, Mississippi

Spent last night here in Canton, so decided to write a little of its history.

It is the county seat of Madison County, named for the 4th president of the US. Most early settlers came from Virginia and the Carolinas.

The town was incorporated in 1834 with a population of 400. There are two stories as to how it got its name. One has it being on the exact other side of Earth from Canton, China. The other has the daughter of a Chinese family dying in the area and a sympathetic community naming itself in her honor.

A beautiful Greek Revival courthouse stands in the center of town on a square. The current one was built in 1857.

We'll Have to Tour It Before We Leave. --Cooter

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dead Page: How Many Candles?

JOHNNY MAESTRO, 70

Died March 25, 2010.

In 1958, he had the doo-wop his "Sixteen Candles" with the Crests.

Born John Mastrangelo, he helped found the Crests, one of the first biracial groups. After them, he joined the Del Satins which merged with the Rhythm method to form Johnny maestro & the Brooklyn Bridge in 1968.

They had such big, and personal favorites of mine like "The Worst That Could Happen," "Welcome Me Love" and "You'll Never Walk Alone." The last one was revamped and became one of my Delta Sigma Phi and Northern Illinois University sober songs, "Walk on, walk on with Delta Sigma Phi and you'll never walk alone."

Thanks, Johnny. --DaCoot

Dead Page: Davy Crockett

FESS ELISHA PARKER (AUGUST 16, 1924-MARCH 18, 2010)

FRONTIERSMAN PAR EXCELLENS.

In the 1950s, he was Davy Crockett. In the 1960s, he was Daniel Boone.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas and grew up on a farm in San Angelo. Wanted to be a pilot during WW II, but at 6'6" was too tall and ended up in the USMC as a radio operator but didn't ship overseas until war was over.

Graduated Univ. of Texas in 1950 with a history degree. Studied drama at USC under GI Bill.

Walt Disney originally intended James Arness to play role of Davy Crockett, but Parker ended up with it, playing three episodes as a frontiersman, Congressman and at the Alamo. This series has been called TVs first miniseries. Huge hit with the kids (ESPECIALLY WITH ME) who went into a merchandising frenzy for coonskin caps, flintlock muskets and all things Crockett (oh, yes, fringed jackets).

Played Daniel Boone 1964-1970, one of TVs highest rated shows. he turned down the role of McCloud

Both TV shows had the best-ever theme songs.

Boy, did I ever like Davy Crockett. Back when the show was out, I got in trouble for something and was about to get a spanking from Dad, when I sobbed, "Walt Disney's not going to like this." Hey, Walt Disney was the one who had Davy Crockett. Dad started laughing so hard I avoided the spanking.

Thanks Davy. --Cooter

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Harlem Hell Fighters: A Black World War I Infantry Regiment

From the April 3, 2011, Aiken (SC) Standard.

A cleanup was going on at the Pine Lawn Cemetery in town, once called the Aiken Colored Cemetery. Former slaves, soldiers, paupers, Reconstruction leaders and black leaders were buried there over the years.

The place is now called the Pine Lawn memorial Gardens and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

One of the graves is that of Pemeli Peeples, who died October 1918. He was a member of the 369th Infantry Regiment, 93rd Division, a black regiment from New York during World War I.

Dr. Maggi Morehouse of the University of South Carolina-Aiken, knows a lot about the unit because her father was a white officer with the regiment which fought in World War I and World War II in the Pacific. They were known as the Harlem Hellfighters

During World War I, they were sent to Spartanburg, SC, but there was a riot and they were run out of town. Later, they were federalized and inducted into the US Army and sent to France to fight for the French Army where they spent 191 days in the trenches.

Peeple's death came two months before the unit was relieved after Armistice Day. It is not known how he came to be buried in Aiken unless perhaps he had relatives in the city.

An Interesting Story. --Cooter

World War I Machine Gun Found

From the March 29, 2011, Chicago Daily Herald.

Workers clearing out some stuff at the Catholic War Veterans Post 379 on Illinois Highway 159, south of Belleville made an interesting and possibly criminal discovery. They found a Lewis .30 caliber machine gun manufactured in 1917 by the Savage Arms Co. of Utica, NY.

It had originally been kept in a Quonset hut where they kept grass cutting equipment. I guess they planned to "mow" the grass down. At some time later, it was placed in a closet where ceremonial gear was kept and then they just forgot about it.

But, they really started to worry when they found that it was illegal for them to have it with a possible $250,000/ten year prison term. To say the least, it was quickly turned over to the county sheriff who sent it on to ATF.

It was given to the post in 1927 by a local banking association.

Honest Officer, I Didn't Know We Had It. --Cooter