Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Old Slave Mart in Charleston, SC

From the May28, 2009, St. Petersburg (Fl) Times "Museum offers quiet testimony to horrors of slavery" by John Frank.

The Old Slave Mart is a relatively new attraction in this city of attractions. It is the only remaining slave auction house in the country and located at 6 Chalmers St. near East Bay Street downtown.

Prominent slave auctioneer Thomas Ryan opened it July 1856 after Charleston banned the outdoor auction of slaves. It was known as Ryan's Mart.

About 40% of enslaved blacks came through Charleston, most landing on Sullivan's Island. First Lady Michelle Obama's ancestors came through Charleston. Her great-great grandfather worked on a rice plantation in Georgetown.

The museum has lots of information on the slave selling business and a first-hand account of slavery by Elijah Green, born in 1843 and recorded by the WPA in 1937. The museum itself is small as most of the compound was torn down, with just a roofed alley left.

A Sad Part of American History. --DaCoot

Yet Another List: Ten Alleged Wrongly Attributed Inventions

And who actually invented them. From the April 1, 2009 Listverse.

Wrongly credited first----actually invented it second.

1. COMPUTER DESKTOP AND GUI-- Microsoft (with Windows)---- Xerox PARC

2. AUTOMOBILE-- Henry Ford---- Karl Benz

3. X-RAY PHOTOGRAPHY-- Thomas Edison---- William Rontgen

4. MOVING PICTURES-- Thomas Edison---- Louis LePrince

5. TELESCOPE-- Gallileo---- Hans Lippershov

6. RECORDED AUDIO-- Thomas Edison---- Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville

7. LIGHTBULB-- Thomas Edison---- Sir Humphry Davy

8. RADIO-- Guglielmo Marconi---- Nikola Tesla

9. POWERED FLIGHT-- Wright Brothers---- Richard Pearse

10. INTERNET-- Al Gore----creators of ARPANET

Definitely interesting reading. What's with old Thomas?

Messing Our Minds. --Cooter

Friday, March 30, 2012

1812: Why We Went to War

From the March 4th Niagara Gazette "Why we went to war in 1812" by Dan Glynn.

The war is sometimes called "The Second War of Independence."

The Niagara Frontier was a major scene of action during the War of 1812. It was one of three targets selected by President Madison to invade Canada, then called British North America.

There was an abortive attack on Queenstown.

Also, an attack on Upper Canada (Ontario) from Detroit and Lower Canada (Montreal and Quebec) were on the American agenda.

All three attacks failed due to incompetent generals, insubordination in the ranks and lack of communications among the generals.

Was This U.S. Vs. Canada? --DaCoot

That Forgotten War, Not So Forgotten Here

I have a Google Alert set up for the War of 1812 and will be posting every so often about it.

It would appear that Canada is observing it more than the U.S. with the exception of states and towns near the Canadian border, New Orleans and Maryland. Of course, these are all places where action occurred.

March 5th 610 AM Newstalk CKTB "Honouring a War of 1812 Hero."

Major General Sir Isaac Brock was killed October 13th while leading his troops at the Battle of Queenstown. Bill 35 going through a reading to have that date honored every October 13th.

Bicentennial of the Forgotten War. --Cooter

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ten Great Chinese Inventions

From the April 18, 2009, List Universe.

1. Row planting
2. Compass
3. Seed drill
4. Iron plows
5. Deep drilling

6. Ship's rudder
7. Harness for horses
8. Porcelain
9. Toilet paper (using paper instead of water)
10. Printing (movable type)

Thanks China. Now Get Rid of Your Drywall. --Cooter

The El Reno Federal Reformatory

located in El Reno, Oklahoma, it is west of town and north of I-40. During World War II, enemy prisoners were held here and at nearby Fort Reno.

In 1934, it was the fifth largest prison constructed about two miles west of town and originally called Southwestern Federal Reformatory and housed men under the age of 35.

In the mid-1970s, it was renamed the Federal Correctional Institution of El Reno and then housed men of all ages. To this day, it is El Reno's largest employer.

In the Jailhouse Now. --DaCoot

The "Buck" Stops Here's Route 66 Connection

This famous sign was on the desk of Harry Truman during his presidency in the White House. It was made at the federal reformatory in El Reno, Oklahoma. That would put it on Route 66. Fred M. Canfil, then a US marshal from the Western District of Missouri and a Truman friend, saw a similar sign while visiting and asked the warden if a sign like it could be made for the president.

It was made and then shipped to the president on October 2, 1945. The 2 and a half-inch X 13-inch sign is mounted on a walnut base. It has the words, "I'm from Missouri" on the other side.

The saying comes from a slavery expression, "Pass the Buck" meaning to pass responsibility on to someone else.

That Is One Famous Sign. --Cooter

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dead Page: "Burn, Baby, Burn"-- Small World


Singer with the Trammps of the 1970s disco era. Had the big hit song "Disco Inferno" in 1976, which won a Grammy for Album of the Year and featured on hit soundtrack "Saturday Night Fever" which kicked off the national craze. The album went to #11 but the song only went to #53. It is still played at sporting events.

He was the front man of the group which was based out of Philadelphia. They also had the Beach Music hit "Hold Back the Night."

When I deejayed, this song always got people out on the dance floor.


Songwriter who wrote "It's a Small World (After All)" as featured at Disneyland and Disney World. He and his brother Richard wrote the scores for movies like "Mary Poppins" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."

Some of there songs were "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and "Chim-Chim Cher-ee. Also write "tall Paul" for Annette Funicello and "You're Sixteen" for Ringo Starr.

Now, I Can't Get That "Supercali... Song Out of My Head. --Cooter

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dead Page: Bagel Man-- Mr. Coffee-- Red Bull

Some Recent Deaths in March, 2012


Credited with introducing the bagel to Americans. Turned his father's small Connecticut company into a national one. His father immigrated from Poland in 1927 and founded Lender's Bagels in an 800 square foot bakery in New Haven, Connecticut.

Until then, bagels were mostly something Jewish families ate, but Mr. Lender took them national. He was the first to sell bagels in grocery stores in 1955 and then started freezing them to sell in other states.

I sure like a good bagel with that cream cheese and am especially fond of McDonald's steak, egg and cheese bagels.


Co-owner of company that revolutionized American coffee drinking with his Mr. Coffee drip coffee machine. Died March 12th. His North American System business hired engineers to develop it and introduced it in 1972. Within three years was the top-selling coffeemaker, replacing the percolator.

I use a machine based on the Mr. Coffee one myself. Mighty handy and easy to use. Thanks, Mr. Glazer.


From Thailand and invented Red Bull. I've never tasted it, but sure see it all over the place. It sure is expensive. I know a lot of younger folks like it with their alcoholic drinks.

These Folks Had an Impact on American Life.

That Was ONE REALLY ROUGH Hurricane

The date was Oct. 15, 1954, when what is considered the worst natural disaster ever to strike the state of North Carolina, particularly along the coast, struck. And, that would be Hurricane Hazel.

At Carolina Beach, 98 mph winds destroyed 362 cottages, including the one belonging to my grandparents on the Southern Extension. Another 663 were badly damaged. I myself (at age 3), lived through it in Goldsboro, about ninety miles from the coast and even there, much damage took place.

At Topsail Beach, to the north of Carolina Beach, 231 cottages were destroyed (but not the concrete reinforced missile towers). Only 22 cottages were left.

One Big-Bad Storm. --Cooter

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Another Attempt to Solve the Amelia Earhart Mystery-- Part 3

Previous visits to the island have recovered artifacts that might have belonged to Noonan and Earhart and it is believed they might have lived for days or even weeks after they disappeared.

Now, they have the new analysis of an October 1937 photo of the island's shoreline. A blurry object in the left hand corner of the black and white photo is consistent with a strut and wheel of a Lockheed Electra landing gear. This could narrow the search area from tens of thousands of miles to a more manageable size.

Titanic and Bismarck finder Robert Ballard is advising this expedition. He calls the photograph "a smoking gun" to finding the pair. He admitted that finding them had intimidated him from looking.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood are giving their support for the search. Clinton said that Earhart was an inspiration for America during a difficult time, the Great Depression and that her legacy could be a model for America now.

More to Come. --Cooter

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What's in a Name?

From the October 2011 Smithsonian Magazine "What Became of the Taino?" by Robert M. Poole.

This tribal group was the first New Worlders encountered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, spread over Cuba, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the island of Hispaniola. Unfortunately, those 3-4 million were practically extinct in fifty years and Poole goes in search of their descendants,

Of particular interest were words that we use today that came from the Tainos:


Eatin' My 'Cue Before Hittin' My Hammock. --Cooter

Friday, March 23, 2012

Another Attempt to Solve the Amelia Earhart Mystery-- Part 2

Evidence that this island was the final place for the intrepid pair is "circumstantial,: but "strong." The new search lasts for ten days in July and will use advanced underwater robotic submarines and mapping equipment. Some see this as "the last great American mystery of the 20th century."

Earhart and Noonan disappeared July 2, 1937, while flying from New Guinea to Howland Island as part of their attempt to become the first female pilot to circumnavigate the earth.

Some people are convinced they crashed into the ocean and some even go so far as to say the Japanese had something to do with it (as relations between the two countries were rapidly diminishing.

The group believes that Noonan and Earhart managed to land on a reef by the small island of Nikumararo, then known as Gardner Island, and survived for a short time. High tides probably washed the plane off the reef into deeper waters which is where the search will primarily be directed.

Hoping for Success. --Cooter

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Another Attempt to Solve the Amelia Earhart Mystery-- Part 1

From the March 21st Goldsboro (NC) News Argus "New clue gives hope at solving 75-year-old Amelia Earhart mystery," AP.

People have been wondering and searching for 75 years about what happened to American aviator Amelia Earhart somewhere in the South Pacific all those years ago. But now, a new search based on new information will be carried out and would it be something if they found the remains of her plane or even her.

An existing photograph from the first search just months after her Lockheed Electra plane disappeared has had enhanced analysis and experts think they may have spotted a landing gear on the island of Nikumarora in what is now the country of Kiribati.

Historians, scientists and salvagers from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery will be back at the island in July hoping to find wreckage and remains of Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan.

More to Come. --Cooter

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Washington DC's Cherry Trees

From the March 17th Seattle Times "D.C. cherry trees have witnessed a century of American history."

Many are looking their age and have lived double their expected life expectancy in North America. These Yoshino cherry trees line a short distance along the Tidal Basin on the southwest section of the National Mall.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of their 1912 planting. Only a few dozen of the originals remain, mostly located by the new Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial.

They have survived because of genetic good luck, yearly pruning and extra summer waterings despite droughts, hurricanes, marches and even anger. Gilbert Shupe is the supervisor of an eight-man crew responsible for the trees.

In 1912, this section had only recently been filled in with muck pulled from the Potomac River. By the 1920s, these cuttings from Tokyo's Arakawa River and a gift from the Japanese government were putting on their annual dazzling spring display.

The 3,700 trees are expected to be in bloom on or about March 24th this year.

Four of them were "mysteriously" cut down three days after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.

A Pretty Piece of History. --Cooter

Monday, March 19, 2012

SMS Mowe

I've also seen it as the SMS Moewe.

From Wikipedia.

Became a very famous German surface raider during World War I. On its first voyage, it sank or captured 15 Allied ships and had placed down a minefield by Pentland Firth near Scapa Flow and several days ater the pre-dreadnaught battleship HMS King Edward VII struck one and sank. Another Mowe minefield sank two other ships.

During its second voyage of four months, during which it sank the Mount Temple, it destroyed or captured 25 ships.

On return to Germany, it was decommissioned as a raider and became an auxiliary mine layer in 1918. It was a hero ship in Germany for all its success.

As a result of the Treaty of Versailles, it went to Britain before being returned to Germany in 1933 when it became the freighter Oldenburg.

On April 7, 1945, it was torpedoed off Norway and sank.

I also found out that when the Mount Temple was sunk, it was also carrying 700 horses destined for the front lines.

Quite a History for One Ship. --DaCoot

The SS Mount Temple: Dinosaur Bones and a Titanic Connection

From Wikipedia and other sources.

The Mount Temple was built in England in 1901 for the Canadian Pacific Line and was a cargo ship of 8,790.


It responded to the Titanic's distress signals, arriving to the site at 4:10 AM, but was separated from the stricken passengers by an iceberg (and some believe it to be THE iceberg that cause the unsinkable to sink.

There is strong belief that the Mount Temple might have been the mystery ship that Titanic survivors claim they saw before the sinking. This is he ship that ignored the distress rockets. Passengers aboard the Mount temple reported they could see the Titanic that night and say the also heard two explosions aboard the Titanic before it sank.

Reportedly, the Mount Temple also turned off its sidelights. This is some story I'd never heard of before.


During World War I, a 3-inch deck gun was installed on the stern of the ship. This gun was fired at the Mowe which returned fire and killed four of the crew. It was the fourth Canadian Pacific ship sunk during the war, one of 18 the line lost altogether. It's sister ship, the Montezuma, was sunk July 25, 1917 by the German submarine UC-41.

An Interesting History. --Cooter

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Making No Bones About It: A World War I Story

From the April 13, 2010, "Dinosaur casualties of World War I."

On December 6, 1916, the Canadian merchant ship SS Mount Temple was on its way to England with a set of 75 million-year-old dinosaur skeletons from Canada. It encountered the German raider SMS Mowe which ordered the ship to stop.

Someone aboard the Mount Temple aimed its sole gun at the Mowe which considered that to be a threatening move and it opened fire, killing three and injuring others.

The Mount Temple then surrendered and the Mowe took off the crew and passengers before sinking the ship, unaware of the history on board the vessel. The people from the Canadian ship were eventually sent to Germany on another capture.

Dem Dinos Just Can't Get No Respect. --Cooter

A Short History of Pensacola, Florida: 450th Birthday

From the Feb. 23, 2009, AP.

Pensacola was celebrating its 450th birthday back then. On Feb. 19th, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain visited the town.

It is sometimes called the "Gateway to Florida's Redneck Riviera."

In the 1950s, adopted "City of Five Flags" slogan: Spain, Britain, France, Confederate and US.

St. Augustine, founded in 1565, claims to be the "Nation's Oldest City," but Pensacola's first settlement was de Luna's failed 1559 attempt to colonize the future state. A hurricane sank 8 of his 11 ships and the settlement collapsed in 1561. Spain did not return to the area until the 1600s.

In 1781, the Spanish defeated the British at Pensacola. In 1821, Andrew Jackson was there and there was Civil War action (see my Civil War blogs).

In 1913, the new airplane came which led to another slogan, "Cradle of Naval Aviation."

A Favorite Stop of Ours in the Winter Gulf Coast Trips. --DaCoot

Prsidential Retreats: Where You Go When It Gets to Be Too Much

From Feb. 13, 2009, Daniel Finkelstein Comment Center.

Discussed US presidential retreats (when not at close by Camp David)..


RONALD REAGAN-- Rancho del Cielo, California. Bought for $527,000 before becoming president.

RICHARD NIXON-- La Casa Pacifica, California. Called the Western White House by press. $1.5 million.

TEDDY ROOSEVELT-- Pine Knot, Vermont. Rustic and rough. The only plumbing was a stream. Bought for $280. Said Teddy, "I can be President and still shoot a bear before breakfast."

J.F. KENNEDY-- Hyannis Port, Cape Cod.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH-- Kennebunkport, Maine. In family for over 100 years.

FDR-- Warm Springs for his polio. Much of the New Deal written here. It was the only house he ever owned. Bought for $8738.14.

When You Need to Get Away from It All. --Cooter

Friday, March 16, 2012

Death of World War I and World War II Veteran William Stone

I am going back to news I wrote down in my notebooks, but didn't put into this blog today.

From the Jan. 30 Times (Britain) Online.

Mr. Stone served in the British Navy during both World Wars and died Jan. 10, 2009, seeing action only during the Second World War as he was in training when the first one ended. He enlisted in the Navy at age 18 and served 27 years.

He was buried in Oxfordshire churchyard with The Last Post being played and a bell tolled 108 times, one for each year of his life. He was the last surviving Briton to serve in both wars.

In the 1820s, he served aboard the HMS Hood.

During World War II, he was aboard a minesweeper that made five trips across the English Channel and rescued 1000 men from Dunkirk, calling that the most scared he ever was in action. He later served in the Arctic Convoys, did minesweeping at Murmansk and the Mediterranean, and was torpedoed twice.

Mr. Stone was a chief petty officer on the HMS Newfoundland when it was torpedoed by U-407 during the invasion of Sicily.

On November 11, 2008, he marked the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I woth fellow veterans Henry Allingham and Harry Patch at London's cenotaph.

At the same time as his funeral, there was another one going on in Devon for Travis Maclean, 22, killed while on patrol in Afghanistan.

The End of an Era Approaching.

Ten Fascinating Meetings in History

From Listverse January 21, 2009 by Blogball.

10. CHARLES ROLLS and FREDERICK ROYCE-- 1904-- Rolls was later killed when his Wright (as in Wright Brothers) biplane crashed.

9. DEXTER KING and JAMES EARL RAY-- 1997-- The son of Martin Luther King and his father's convicted killer.

8. EDGAR ALLAN POE and CHARLES DICKENS-- 1842 in Philadelphia.

7. THOMAS STAFFORD and ALEXEI LEONOV-- July 15, 1975 in Outer Space aboard the SU Soyuz.

6. POPE JOHN PAUL II and MEHMET ALI AGCA-- 1983. Aca shot the Pope.


4. HENRY STANLEY and DAVID LIVINGSTON-- Nov. 10, 1871. "Dr. Livingston, I presume."

3. DOUGLAS MaCARTHUR and EMPEROR HIROHITO-- September 27, 1945

2. ULYSSES GRANT and ROBERT E. LEE-- April 9, 1865 at the surrender.

1. NEILS BOHR and WERNER HEISENBERG-- 1922. Nuclear fission.

As always, go to the site for pictures and much more information.

The Pres. and the King. --DaCoot

Ten Great Atlantic Liners

From the Dec. 30, 2008 Listverse. Of course, photos and more information at the excellent site.

10. RMS QUEEN MARY II-- 2003

9. SS REX-- 1932-- Italy-- Sunk 1944 to prevent Germans from blocking Trieste Harbor.

8. SS FRANCE/SS NORWAY-- 1961. Scrapped 2008.

7. RMS QUEEN MARY-- 1934-- Today in Long Beach, Ca.

6. SS BREMER-- 1929, German. Scrapped 1945.

5. RMS MAURETANIA-- 1906-- Sister of Lusitania. Scrapped 1935.

4. SS NORMANDIE-- 1932. French. Laid up at New York Harbor after French fleet captured. US seized her. Renamed USS Lafayette. Caught fire while being refitted as troop transport. Capsized. Scrapped 1946.

3. SS UNITED STATES-- 1952. Fastest liner. Top speed a state secret. Rusting away in Philadelphia.

2. RMS OLYMPIC-- 1911-- Outlasted sisters Titanic and Britannic. Sank U-103. Scrapped 1937.

1. RMS QUEEN ELIZABETH II-- 1969. Retired 2008. Will be floating hotel in Dubai. (Wonder where they get all that money to build those huge buildings and do stuff like this.)

I guess this ought to be called liners that didn't sink or something like that. You'd have to figure Titanic and Lusitania would be on the list.

Looking at these ocean liners, they sure looked like ships in the past, not big floating hotels like today's liners.

Going on the Boat!!! --Cooter

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Battle of Ogdensburg Re-enactment

From the Columbus (Ind) Republic.

Over 100 re-enactors were expected for the two-day commemoration of the War of 1812 battle that took place Feb. 22, 1813, at the Fort La Presentation Site on the New York side of the border.

The battle allowed the British and Canadian force to capture the fort as Americans retreated to Socket's Harbor on Lake Ontario.

British casualties: 6 killed, 44 wounded.
American casualties: 20 killed, 6 wounded, 70 captured.

An American Loss. --Cooter

Five Notable Alamo Deaths

From the Feb. 24th Listverse. All died March 6, 1836.

5. Micajah Autry 1793-1836. From NC and fought in War of 1812. Moved to Tennessee in 1823. Became lawyer in Jackson, Tn.

4. James Bonham (Feb.20, 1807 to 1836)

3. James Bowie (April 10, 1796 to 1836)

2. William Travis (Aug. 1, 1809 to 1836)

1. Davy Crockett (Aug. 17, 1786 to 1836)

Heroes All. --DaCoot

On Chicago's 175th Birthday-- Part 11

1986 Bears win Super Bowl XX after that great 1985 season.

1988 Lights installed at Wrigley Field (After this and the parking stickers debacle, we largely quit going to Chicago.)

1989 Richard M. Daley, son of the first Daley, elected mayor.

1990 Sox play last game at Comiskey Park. (I was there.)

1991 Bulls win first of six NBA Championships.

1991 The Great Chicago Flood when old freight tunnels under the river collapse.

1994 United Center opens.

2000 T.rex named Sue exhibit opens at Field Museum.

2004 Millenium Park opens, four years late.

2005 Chicago White Sox win their first World Series in 88 years.

2008 First Chicagoan elected president, Barack Obama.

2009 Illinois Goc. Rod Blagojevich impeached and tossed out.

2010 Blackhawks win Stanley Cup.

And, That About Sums It Up. --Cooter

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

War of 1812: Andy and Isaac

From March 13 Virtual Strategy Magazine.

The 245th birthday of President Andrew Jackson to be commemorated March 15th at his Hermitage home in Tennessee. Admission that day will be half price. At 10 AM there will be a traditional wreath-laying at his tomb and Tennessee's Governor Bill Haslam will speak.

Andrew Jackson VI will be present, Jackson's great-great-great grandson.

From the March 13th Windsor Star.

A bill passed the third reading in the provincial legislature which will proclaim October 13th as Major General Sir Isaac Brock Day. Brock was born in Guernsey in 1769 and joined the British military at age 15. He arrived in Upper Canada in 1802 as a member of the 49th Regiment and was promoted to major general in 1811, becoming commander of all British forces in Upper Canada.

He met Chief Tecumseh and formed an alliance and with Indian help, was able to take Detroit from the Americans. Brock was killed at the Battle of Queenston heights Oct. 13, 1812.

Two Major Persons in the War. --Cooter

On Chicago's 175th Birthday-- Part 10

1964 Completion of Southwest Expressway (soon renamed Stevenson Expressway).

1965 The University of Illinois' Chicago Circle Campus opens.

1966 Richard Speck murders eight student nurses.

1967 Chicago's biggest snow storm-- 13 inches. Picasso statue unveiled Daley Plaza.

1968 Race riots after Martin Luther King's assassination. More riots during the Democratic National Convention.

1969 John Hancock Center opens as city's tallest building.

1973 Construction finished on Sears Tower, world's tallest building until 1997.

1978 Demise of the Chicago Daily News.

1979 American Airlines Flight 191 crashes, killing 273.

1983 Harold Washington elected city's first black mayor.

One More To Go. --DaCoot

World War I's SMS Cormoran II

From Wikepedia.

It was the German raider Kormoran that sank the HMAS Sydney in World War II.

The Cormoran was originally built by Germany for use in the Russian merchant fleet under the name Rjasan before being captured by the German light cruiser SMS Emden at the onset of World War I in 1914. It was taken to Tsingtao, China and converted into an armored merchant ship raider and named SMS Cormoran II.

Leaving that place in August, the Cormoran sailed through the South Pacific pursued by Japanese warships before pulling into Apra Harbor, Guam with just 50 tond of coal remaining. Increasing bad relations between Germany and the US caused Guam's military governor to refuse recoal and a stand-off occurred with the Cormoran essentially in internment.

At the outbreak of war between Germany and the US April 7, 1917, the Cormoran's captain had her scuttled. Nine crew died and were buried on Guam with full honors. The remainder were sent to Fort Douglas in Utah as prisoners and later went back home in 1919.

Of interest, the Cormoran lies 110 feet deep in Apra Harbor on its port side. The Japanese merchant ship Tokai Maru was sunk by the US submarine Snapper (SS-185) and is right next to the Cormoran, one of the few places you can find a World War I and a World War II ship together.

Side By Side. --Cooter

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hey, 2000th Post!!

What started off as one blog (and is now six) back about four years ago has become a very time-consuming project, but enjoyable.

This is my fourth blog, growing out of my Down Da Road blog. The number of posts now stand at 2032. That's a lot of blogging!

A new blog grew out of this "Tattooed on Your Soul: A World War II Blog." This one was becoming about seventy percent World War II so that is why I decided to spin that one off.

Got to Get a Life. --Cooter

War of 1812: Perry's Lost Ship

From Feb. 11th AP "200-year-old shipwreck off Rhode Island is researched."

Well, actually this was before the War of 1812, but this shipwreck led to Oliver Hazard Perry's somewhat disgrace and caused him to be in command on Lake Erie which led to his return to glory.

It is located a mile off shore by a treacherous reef, but, a US Navy vessel is seeking to confirm that the wreck is that of the USS Revenge, Perry's former command that was lost on a stormy day in 1811.

The ship has largely forgotten to history now, but it weighed heavy on Perry's career when it sank off Rhode Island's Block Island Jan. 9, 1811.

Perry was 25 and in command of the Revenge en route from Newport, Rhode Island, to New London, Connecticut, when he hit a reef in the fog. He ordered cannons to be thrown overboard to lighten the ship, but it wouldn't budge and became a total wreck.

No one died, but Perry was court martialed, exonerated, but his career was in the toilet until his posting to command in the Great Lakes during the war and, of course, the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie and "We have met the enemy...."

Two private citizen divers found the wreck. On their third dive, they found a cannon. They kept it secret for five years, during which time they have found more cannons around the wreck, located in 10-15 feet of water.

The US Navy wants more proof.

The Story Before the War. --DaCoot

On Chicago's 175th Birthday-- Part 9

1947 First parking meters installed

1948 Launch of Chicago Sun-Times and WGN-TV.

1949 Municipal Airport renamed Midway. Orchard Field renamed O'Hare.

1950 Chess Records founded.

1951 Edens Expressway (first in Chicago) opens.

1953 First issue of Playboy magazine is produced in Hugh Hefner's Hyde Park apartment.

1955 Richard J. Daley elected mayor.

1958 Our Lady of Angels school fire kills 95.

1959 The Second City Improv group opens its Wells Street theater.

1962 Robert Taylor Homes public housing development opens.

1963 Northwest Expressway renamed for slain President John F. Kennedy.

Some Interesting History. A Story In Every Fact. --Cooter

Monday, March 12, 2012

On Chicago's 175th Birthday-- Part 8

Year after tear in Chicago history.

1935 Mayor Anton Cermak fatally shot in Miami.

1933-34 Century of Progress exposition.

1934 Bank robber John Dillinger shot death outside the Biograph Theater.

1935 Leo Burnett starts Chicago ad agency that will create the Jolly Green Giant and Pillsbury Doughboy and others.

1937 Robert Johnson records "Sweet Home Chicago."

1942 The atomic age begins at the University of Chicago with the first controlled nuclear chain reaction.

1943 Deep dish pizza mecca Pizzeria Uno opens.

1944 Germany's U-505 submarine captured, later to become a major exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry.

1945 Cubs last trip to the World Series where they lose to Detroit.

How Long! How Long! --Cooter

Saturday, March 10, 2012

On Chicago's 175th Birthday-- Part 7

1920-- The famous Michigan Avenue Bridge opens, the first double-decker bascule bridge.

1921-- Eight White Sox players acquitted in Black Sox Scandal but banned from baseball for life. (Sad Day for Us Sox Fans.)

1922-- George Halas renames his team the Chicago Bears.

1923-- Chicago divided into 50 wards.

1924-- Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, Jr. commit "thrill killing."

1925-- Chicago Tribune Tower completed.

1927-- Municipal Airport opens (later renamed Midway).

1929-- St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

1930-- Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium open.

1931-- Al Capone convicted of income tax evasion.

1932-- Democratic Convention in Chicago nominated Franklin Delano Roosevelt for president.

Still Not There. --Cooter

Friday, March 9, 2012

1812 Bits: Hero Remembered-- Get Your Star-Spangled Banner Coins

1812 Bits-- commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

1. HERO REMEMBERED-- A program was held in Hartford, Connecticut honoring Commodore Thomas MacDonough, hero of the Battle of Lake Champlain.

2. GET YOUR STAR-SPANGLED COINS-- The US Mint has begun selling these coins starting Mar. 5th and available through mid-December. A total of 100,000 gold ones and 500,000 silver are being made.

The front of the silver one shows a woman waving an American flag with Fort McHenry in the background. The front of the gold one has warships and the words, "Oh say can you see."

Gotta Get Me One. --Cooter

War of 1812 Re-enactment Group Looking for Recruits

From the Sault (Canada) Star by Brian Kelly.

They are looking to organize an Algoma division of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment (RNR) which was active during the War of 1812. A similar group is already active in southern Ontario with many appearances planned for the war's bicentennial.

Men and women are wanted but must be 18. Younger recruits can be standard bearers, settlers or drummers. Recruits are responsible for own costs including their uniforms and must be available during the summer months.

There is a big event planned for Algoma July 17-21, 2012.

Sorry, Wrong Side for Me. --DaCoot

On Chicago's 175th Birthday-- Part 6

1905-- Ad in the Tribune extols the virtues of a new home design called a bungalow.

1906-- White Sox bat Cubs in World Series.

1907-- Cubs win their first World Series.

1908-- State and Madison becomes zero point in a cleaned-up numbering system..

1909-- Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett publish "Plan of Chicago."

1912-- The Rouse Simmons that annually delivered Christmas trees, "The Christmas Tree Ship" sinks.

1914-- Weegham Park opens (later renamed Wrigley Field).

1915-- The excursion boat Eastland overturns in the Chicago River killing 844.

1916-- Municipal Pier opens (now Navy Pier).

1919-- Race riots kill 38 and injure hundreds.

More Coming. --Cooter

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Forgotten War? Not Here!! The War of 1812

Most Americans don't even seem to know it, but this year marks the bicentennial of this little-known war between the U.S. and Britain, sometimes also called The Second War for Independence.

Ask some Americans what they know about the War of 1812, you get a smile and then, "It began in 1812." Some others might mumble something about the Star-Spangled Banner and others might even say "1814, took a little trip along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip."

Some others might even say something about the burning of the White House, Dolley Madison saving the portrait of George Washington, the invasions of Canada, "We have met the enemy and they are ours," and the Old Ironsides.

This blog will have coverage on this war. I've already learned a lot I didn't know collecting information.

The Not-To-Be-Forgotten War of 1812. --Cooter

On Chicago's 175th Birthday-- Part 5

1893-- Mayor Carter Harrison is assassinated.

1894-- Pullman workers go on strike.

1895-- Nation's first auto race from Chicago to Evanston.

1896-- Williams Jennings Bryan gives his Cross of Gold speech at the Democratic National Convention.

1898-- Elevated train line built in Loop.

1898-- First Chicago-to-Mackinac sailboat race.

1899-- L. Frank Baum writes "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" at his Humboldt Park home.

1900-- The Chicago River's flow reversed. Chicago White Sox play their first game.

1901-- Walt Disney born in Chicago.

1902-- Marshall Field's opens State Street store.

1903-- Iroquois Theater fire kills more than 600, the deadliest theater fire in US history.

1904-- Riverview amusement park opens.

Obviously, More to Come. --DaCoot

On Chicago's 175th Birthday-- Part 4

Incorporated March 4, 1837.

1878-- Fire pole invented in a Chicago firehouse.

1879-- Union League Club of Chicago organized.

1880-- Archdiocese of Chicago established.

1881-- Town of Pullman opens to house railroad car workers and their families.

1882-- Cable car system clangs into operation and would grow to be the world's largest.

1884-- Construction begins on the Home Insurance Building, the first skyscraper at 10 floors.

1886-- Hatmarket Square Riot.

1887-- Softball invented on the South Side.

1888-- Adler and Sullivan's Auditorium built.

1889-- City triples in size with annexation of towns of Lake View, Hyde Park, Jefferson and Lake. Jane Addams opens Hull House.

1890-- Aaron Montgomery successfully sues city to keep Grant Park open.

1891-- Bicycle craze on.

1892-- University of Chicago opens.

1893-- World's Columbian Exposition.

More to Come. --Cooter

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

On Chicago's 175th Birthday-- Part 3

1866-- City completes two-mile tunnel into Lake Michigan to draw "pure water."

1868-- Lincoln Park Zoo welcomes first animals, a pair of swans.

1869-- Chicago Water Tower erected.

1870-- St. Ignatius University opens, later became Loyola.

1871-- Great Chicago Fire kills at least 300 and destroys much of city.

1873-- Chicago Tribune reports that the new city directory has 212 churches, 80 newspapers and 31 railroad companies.

1874-- Little Chicago Fire destroys 60 acres on Near South Side.

1875-- Tribune reports money available to complete the "drive along the Lake shore on the North Side. (Lake Shore Drive)

1876-- The team that would eventually become the Chicago Cubs wins the National League's first title.

Never heard of the Little Chicago Fire, but this would be part of Chicago that didn't burn in the Great Fire.

And, Then, There's Da Cubs (Winners Back Then, Way Back When.)-- DaCoot

On Chicago's 175th Birthday-- Part 2

A Year-by-Year look at the last 175 years, but I will be skipping a lot of them. You can see the whole list at the Chicago Tribune.

1850-- City planks 6.7 miles of streets, including 12,000 feet on State Street, that Great Street.

1851-- Public Water Board organized to handle recurring cholera epidemics.

1852-- First public transportation (a large horsedrawn carriage).

1855-- Lager Beer Riots in April protest higher saloon taxes and anti-beer laws.

1856-- City raises streets out of the swamps.

1858-- Police get uniforms and fire department switches from volunteer to paid.

1859-- First horse-drawn street railway, or horsecars begins operation.

1860-- Republicans meeting in the Wigwam nominate Abraham Lincoln for president.

1861-- The Chicago Zouaves, Irish Brigade and Lincoln Rifles are among the companies to march off to the Civil War.

1862-- Camp Douglas converted to prison for Confederate soldiers.

1865-- Union Stockyards open.

The Lager Beer Riots Are Interesting in Themselves. I Wrote About Them in This Blog. Check Labels for Chicago Beer Riots.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

On Chicago's 175th Birthday-- Part 1

From the March 4th Chicago Tribune "Happy birthday, Chicago."

March 4th marked the 175th birthday of Chicago and the Chicago Tribune devoted a whole page to it, with pictures and one piece of history from every year.

Photos: Addams, Burnham, Armstrong, Halas, Capone, Muhammed, Hefner, Richard J. Daley, The Picasso, Jackson, Byrne, Washington, Winfrey, Terkel,Richard M. Daley, Jordan, T-rex Sue and Guillen.

Some of the years, well, a lot of them:

1837: Chicago becomes a city and elects William Ogden first mayor.

1838: Hundreds of mostly Irish workers digging on the I&M Canal die of disease.

1840: Chicago's population at 4,470.

1843: Roman Catholic Diocese of Chicago established.

1845: Chicago passes first "blue law" closing "tippling houses" on Sundays.

1847: The Chicago Tribune begins publishing.

1849: The I&M Canal opens as does the Chicago Board of Trade.

Much More to Come. --Cooter

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hemingway's House for Sale-- Part 2

Some of the writing Hemingway did inthe house was done in an area of the third floor that faces south which was his room until he graduated from high school and went to Kansas City to be a reporter for that city's Star newspaper.

In 1919, he returned for a few months to recuperate from wounds he sustained in World War I when he was an ambulance driver. Also, there was a broken heart from a nurse he had fallen in love with.

These experiences led to his book "A Farewell to Arms."

From there, Hemingway went on to write magnificent books while being married four times, battling alcoholism and mental illness before committing suicide in 1961.

Kathy Fitzgerald, who lived on the first floor of the Hemingway house from 1977 to 2010, said that a lotof interesting people would stop by over the years as well as tour buses with a lot of people from foreign countries.

Still Have to Buy That Gas. Sorry Ernest. --DaCoot

Got an Extra $525,000?: Hemingway's House For Sale-- Part 1

From the Feb.26th Chicago Tribune "Hemingway's House in Wright's Shadow" by Ted Gregory.

Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois, and spent much of his first twenty years in that town outside of Chicago. His boyhood home, essentially a three-flat, was put up for sale a couple weeks ago for $525,000.

The 4,200 square-foot home was designed in part by Hemingway's mother, Grace, who lived there until 1936, eight years after her husband committed suicide in their second-floor bedroom.

After that, it was divided into three apartments. In 2001, the Hemingway Foundation bought the home for $525,000. There were plans to turn it into "a unique and dynamic cultural center" but that didn't come to pass.

Ernest Hemingway lived here from age 7 to 17. However, his prominence is overshadowed by that of another Oak Park resident, Frank Lloyd Wright.

I'd Buy It, But Have to Put Gas in the Tank. --Cooter

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hunble Theaters Become Movie Palaces-- Part 2

The opening of a new Movie Palace caused civic celebration. In 1925,the opening of the Uptown Theatre had a parade of 200 floats while 12,000 lines up for the 4,381 seats.

The B&K (Balaban & Katz) formula went from mere opulence to Roman decadence. In the 1930s, the Tribune reported there was going to be a trained seal room and a small museum in the Englewood Theatre. The Chicago Theatre seated 3,800 in an interior based on the Palace of Versailles.

In 1926, the Oriental Theater opened with employees dressed in far eastern garb.

Sometimes you'd get live stage along with a movie. Red Skelton played the Palace. The Three Stooges were at State Lake and John Philip Sousa was at the Chicago.

The B & K theaters were designed by brother architects George and Cornelius Rap. Not only were their theaters in Chicago, but they also designed the Paramount Theater in New York, the Palace Theater in Cleveland.

However, by the 1960s, television and suburbanization had taken their toll on the Chicago Movie Palaces Many closed and a few reopened.

I Have Yet to Have Ever Been in One of These Movie Palaces, But Hope to Soon. --DaCoot

Humble Theaters Became Movie Palaces-- Part 1

From the Feb. 26th Chicago Tribune "Chicago Flashback: Humble theaters became movie palaces" by Ron Grossman.

A theater opened October 1917 at 3535 W. Roosevelt Road and changed the way not only Chicagoans went to the movies, but the nation as well.

Before this one, movies were shown in nickelodeons which were the price, but also the usual anything but luxurious surroundings. But A.J. and Barney Balaban and Sam Katz had bigger ideas for the new medium. Their idea gave birth to the term "movie palace."

It seated 1,780 and was the first air-conditioned movie house. And, it was named the Central Park Theater. This was named for a nearby cross street. But the ones that followed: the Palace, the Granada, the Paradise, the Tivoli, the Pantheon and the Regal better reflected the whole theater-going experience.

It "created a social and cultural phenomenon that brought together residents from diverse backgrounds. A night at the movies was a dress-up occasion."

Unfortunately, some of these movie palaces are gone, but some were saved liked the Rialto Square in Joliet, Illinois, and the Genessee in Waukegan, Illinois.

More to Come. --Cooter

Friday, March 2, 2012

Ten Worst Cars Ever Sold in the US-- Part 2

6. 1958 EDSEL CORSAIR-- "The legendary flop of all automotive flops."

7. 1982 CADILAC CIMARRON-- Caddy's attempt to fake a BMW-style sports sedan.

8. 1979 OLDSMOBILE CUTLASS SUPREME DIESEL-- Contributed to overall consumer bad opinion of diesel cars.

9. 1975 AMC PACER-- Not a great driving car and many found it to be "exceptionally ugly." (Like me.)

10. 1971 FORD PINTO-- No list complete without the Pinto. Ford did everything it could to make it cheap at just $2,000 and succeeded. Then, there was that pesky gas tank. My first new car out of college was a '73 Pinto I bought for $2200 with tax. It literally fell apart after four years.

Zoom, Zoom. --DaCoot

Ten Worst Cars Ever Sold in the US-- Part 1

From the Feb. 26th Chicago Tribune according to David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' automotive test center. By Jerry Hirsch.

1. 2011 PONTIAC AZTEK-- Consensus pick for worst car of all time. Probably did more than anything else to kill Pontiac. Plug-ugly and odd design/

2. 1974 FORD MUSTANG II-- Essentially a rebadged Pinto. A "shrunken, malformed pony."

3. 1987 YUGO-- Low-price leader when it hit US market. Not a pretty thing.

4. 1971 CHEVROLET VEGA-- Should have had the Nova name because in Spanish, that means "doesn't go." A car built with contempt for its buyers. Drove buyers to buy the better Toyotas and Hondas.

5. 2003 SATURN ION-- "A cramped interior, uncomfortable seats, insubstantial cabin furnishings and uneven steering feel."

More Baddies Coming. --Cooter

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dead Page: Singers and Soul Smooth


Being an oldies fan, her songs are key. She could sing the most beautiful songs and then turn right around and sing a very risque one next. That "Wallflower" song was one of my favorites.


Died way too soon. One of my favorites from the 80s and with a voice that knew no boundaries. How many octaves can one person hit?


If there ever was a smoother soul guy, I'd sure like to know. Gave real meaning to the term "Black Power." I loved to watch those folks dancing on "Soul Train."

We'll Miss All Three. All Three Should Be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame If They Are Not Already.