Friday, August 31, 2012

Not So Much Puppet Bar, But Really Interesting Anyway-- Part 1

We did go to the presentation last night at the new Fox Lake, Illinois, Library and were disappointed that very little was said about the old place, also called Eagle Point Park.  It turned out that the power pooint was on the whole area, but we found that interesting as well.

Liz brought along her jacket which Mucci (who ran the Log Cabin Bar on US-12) had stitched for her and I had the cassette tape with the "Mr. Puppet Polka" song on it (when it played, the puppets came to life) and the second "Horse."

But, what took the show, were the four puppets that had been rescued from the old bar before it was torn down by a neighbor.  This was the big reason I was there (but I would have been anyway as I go to most historical society meetings).  This is a chance to see part of my past that I thought was lost forever.

I deejayed there from 1983 to the time it closed (1989, I think) and became Krystal's Oyster Bar and I played there for awhile as well.  During summers, I essentially played Thursday to Sunday.  Drank a lot of beer (it's where I had my first Corona), ate a lot of food (half pound burgers and the Saturday all-you-can-eat shrimp, crablegs and ribs for $9.95), and had a real lot of fun.

Gone, But Never Forgotten.  --Cooter

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Presentation Tonight on the Puppet Bar and Fox Lake Resorts

The Fox Lake/Grant Township Historical Society is having a meeting at the new Fox Lake, Illinois, library tonight.  The new building just opened and I look forward to going into it for the first time.

But, even better, a power point presentation is being given on the famous Puppet Bar (Eagle Point Park) and other Chain of Lakes resorts and bars.  As you might figure, it got its name from around fifty-sixty puppets which came to life when one certain song was played on the jukebox.

The Puppet Bar was one of the big draws on the Chain of Lakes when I started deejaying there in 1983 and I continued until it closed around 1988.  We had a blast there.  Sadly, I had heard that all the puppets had been destroyed, but three evidently were saved and they will be on display tonight.

I will be bringing along my cassette tape of the song that set them in motion (via a lot of toggle switches) "Mr. Puppet Polka."  Plus, I have the second "Horse" that folks used to ride around on when I played Glenn Campbell's "William Tell Overture."

Should be a real trip back.

Good Times at the Old Puppet.  --DaCoot

The Edmund Fitzgerald Legend Lives On

From the Nov. 10, 2010, Detroit Free Press "Sunken ship's legend lives on" by Eric D. Lawrence.

On the anniversary of the ship's sinking, November 10, 1975.

Frederick Shannon, 64, retired from diving about five years ago because of declining health.  He is best known for his exploration on the SS Edmund Fitzgerald when he spent $75,000 to lease a 2-man submarine and made sevendives at the ship's site in July 1994.

On his first dive, he set a record for manned submersible vessels at 211 minutes. 

Family members of the dead crew were angry about his exploration and sued.  Shannon found two large sections of the ship about 17 miles from Whitefish Point.

There are still many theories as to what caused the ship to sink.

This Was the Last Major Great Lakes Shipwreck.  --Cooter

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

McHenry County, Illinois, Courthouse

From the Dec. 1, 2010, Crystal Lake,(Il) Northwest Herald "Old Courthouse Deal"

The City of Woodstock has agreed to accept the Old Courthouse as donated by and bring it up to code and work with private groups to take it over.  It will cost $261,000 plus materials to do it, plus, there are $125,000 in outstanding taxes, they don't call McHenry County Tax Land for nothing (I'll be reminded painfully on 9-11 when I have to pay my second half tax installment of $4800).  There are another $60,000 in legal fees and a $25,000 judgement against the last owner.

The structure, at 101 North Johnson Street was built in 1857 and is a National Historic Landmark.  The sheriff's house and jail were added in 1887.  McHenry County vacated it in 1972, when a new one was constructed north of town.  The courtroom was on the third floor and has been used for parties and receptions.  There is no elevator as I sorely found out when I took a job deejaying there one time.  I was beat moving all that equipment up those three flights of stairs. 

The Italianate structure closely resembled Cook County's (Chicago) Courthouse which was destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire.  The architect was J.M. Van Osdel.

The Dick Tracy Museum was at one time in the building.  Dick Tracy's writer was from Woodstock and it can be seen several times in the backgrund of the Bill Murray movie "Groundhog Day."  The bar scene in the restaurant where they dank to "World Peace" was downstairs and when he got thrown into jail was also filmed there.

You Always Keep Your Old Courthouse and Find Some Other Use For It.  --Cooter

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dead Page: Hey Rocky!! Watch Me Pull...

ALEXANDER ANDERSON, JR. (1920-Oct. 22, 2010)

I sure was a big fan of the "Rocky and Bullwinkle Show." 

Mr. Anderson created Rocky the Flying Squirrel qnd Bullwinkle J. Moose as well as Canadian Mounty Dudly Do-Right as well as those arch villains Boris and Natasha, agents of Pottsylvania.

According to Mr. Anderson, inspiration for Bullwinkle came from a dream he had where he was playing poker with a group of friends and there was a moose at the table doing "silly card things."  He also thought the name of a car dealership in Berkely, California, Bullwinkel Motors, was pretty funny. 

Before the "Rocky and Bullwinkle Show," he worked on "Mighty Mouse" as an apprentice with his uncle, Phil Terry who ran Terrytoon Cartoons.

"Fan Mail Fron Some Flounder." 

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Oval Office-- Part 3


1880--  THE RESOLUTE DESK is given to Rutherford B. Hayes by Queen Victoria of England as a thank-you for the safe return of the HMS Resolute, which provided the wood for the desk.

1902--  THEODORE ROOSEVELT builds the West Wing, fitting it with a rectangular office that predates the Oval Office.

1929--  HERBERT HOOVER'S OVAL OFFICE is destroyed by a fire on Christmas Eve.  The blaze started in another room.

1934--  FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT  moves the Oval office to the southeast corner of the White Houseand installs the famous trapdoor in the Resolute desk.  (I'll have to find out some more on that trapdoor.)

Gonna Have to Find Out Some More About the Resolute Desk.  --Cooter

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Oval Office-- Part 2

William Howard Taft made it into an oval in honor of a symbolic feature of George Washington's Philadelphia residence where the first president would stand surrounded by a circle of guests, allowing him to democratically greet each visitor from the same distance.  The office was moved to its current location in the southeast corner of the White House in 1934.

Presidents have made their mark on the Oval Office (except Jimmy Carter, who kept Ford's decor).  LBJ installed a bank of televisions.  The Resolute desk has been used by 21 of the past 24 presidents.  President Truman had his famous "The Buck Stops Here (reverse said "I'm From Missouri")" on this desk.  This is also where Nixon made his secret tapes amd Clinton had his Monica Lewinsky trysts in adjoining rooms.

The Oval Office is where presidents bring the country together as Reagan did after the Challenger disaster and Bush did after 9-11.

A Room With a View Next.  --Cooter

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Oval Office-- Part 1

From the Nov. 24, 2008, Time Magazine's A Brief History Of: The Oval Office.

Always an interesting bit of history based on something currently happening.  This one was President Obama taking over it.


FLAGS:  The U.S. and presidential flags hand for all presidents.
TABLE: Personal items
DESK: Traditionaly, the 1880 HMS Resolute desk
RUG:  Each president has their own.  The last Bush's looked like a sun.
FLOORING:  Originally made of cork, later linoleum, now wood.

One of the best-known rooms in the world and an enduring symbol of the presidency.  Before the 1930s, the Oval Office was in a different part of the White House and before that, wasn't even oval.

In 1902, President Theordore Roosevely built a rectangular room on the ground floor of the new West Wing, replacing offices on the second floor of the White House. 

Glad It's Oval Now.  The Rectangle Office Just Doesn't Have the Sound.  --Cooter

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Most Memorable TV Moment-- Part 2: Listening to 9-11 on the Radio

The number one selection in the survey was 9-11.  For me, at first, it was not a TV moment.  I was teaching first hour social studies to 7th graders at John T. Magee Middle School in Round Lake, Illinois.  After  class, a  teacher came down and quietly told me about the attack.

I immediately got my old 13-inch black and white TV set out and turned it on.  Reception at Magee was usually bad and today there just was no reception.  We had just gotten computers in the room, but I really didn't know how to use it.  I did manage to get it on, but could not connect to any website.

So, my kids and I just listened to it on the radio.  And, that was it for the rest of the day, except from time to time I would talk about it.  We located Washington, DC, New York City and Pennsylvania as well as the Middle East.

During the team meeting we watched the events unfolding on the computer (the team leader was a computer fanatic and knew how to get it on).

The first regular TV chance to watch I had was at Freddie's Roadhouse in Fox Lake.  There was a full house, but not a lot of talking as everyone was watching the TV.

Still Remember Those Burning Buildings Against That Beautiful Blue Sky.  --Cooter

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Most Memorable TV Moment--Part 1: The Kennedy Assassination

The big two events were the JFK assassination and funeral and 9-11.

I was in 7th grade at Winston Park Jr. High in Palatine, Illinois, when President Kennedy was assassinated.  I remember hearing about it over the intercom and many of the girls crying.  We all were excited to be let out of school because of it and to have several days off.

But, we weren't happy to find that all five of our Chicagoland TV stations had nothing but coverage on the event.  I was watching when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald.

The funeral was the part that got me the most.  It still sends shivers up my spine when I hear those muffled drums and everyone crying.  And then, there was that salute from John, Jr..

A Sad  Time. 

Johnsburg, Illinois

Johnsburg is the town just to the south of us here in Spring Grove. 

It was settled by people from the Eifel region of Germany in the 1840s and named after its church, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.  At one time, there was another small community to its north named Sunnyside which annexed Johnsburg and then changed its name to Johnsburg. 

Every September, the community holds a big Saufen and Spiel party.

Tom Waits wrote a song "Johnsburg, Illinois 1982" about his wife who grew up there.

Two notable residents of the Johnsburg were Chuck Hiller who played MLB with the Giants, Mets, Phillies, Pirates with a lifetime .243 batting average, played in the 1962 World Series, and then was a coach on three MLB teams and minor league coach for many years.

Clay Guida is a UFC fighter.

We often go to the Saufen and Spiels which are a lot of fun and every year, of course, it is the St. John's Parishfest with New Odyssey playing. We were just at it August 12th.

For many years I deejayed St. Patrick's parties at Tom's Cafe in town.

A Great Little Town.  --DaCoot

Dead Page: Mac and Sam

Guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for Fleetwood Mac 1971-1974, died June 7th.  Helped move the group toward a more successful pop sound and a big part of the Bare Trees album. 

I especially liked his two solo songs "Sentimental Lady" and "Ebony Eyes."


Died June 8th.  You've got to love his recurring roles as Sam Drucker, the straight-man shopkeeper on "Petticiat Junction" (139 episodes) and "Green Acres" (145 episodes).  He was also on ten episodes of "The Beverly Hillbillies" and even twice as a town drunk on "The Andy Griffith Show."  Must have been Otis' pal.

Mr, Cady was in the Army Air Corps serving in Europe during World War II.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Most Memorable TV Moments

Back in July, I wrote about the study that ranked the things that we saw on the TV over the past 50 years that had an impact on us.  Some I agreed with, others I was appalled.  I mean, how could you possibly rank the O.J. Simpson verdict #3, above the Challenger Shuttle explosion #4.  The JFK funeral ranked in at #20.

Of course, they questioned all age groups, and reality TV watchers as well as others.

Anyway, of the Top Twenty, I agreed with, in no particular order, but with the survey's #1 as my #1, 9-11.

1.  September 11, 2011 terrorist attacks
2.  Hurricane Katrina (2005)
4.  Challenger space shuttle explosion (1986)
5.  Death of Osama bin Laden (2011)
7.  Japanese earthquake and tsunami ((2011)
8.  Columbine school shootings (1999)
9.  BP oil spill in Gulf of Mexico (2010)
15.  JFK assassination (1963)
16.  Oklahoma City bombing (1995)
20.  JFK funeral (1963)

Some Reflections on the Events Tomorow.  --DaCoot

Fort Mose: First Free Black Colonial Town

From the February 1997 National Georgraphic Magazine "Geographica: Colonial Florida Fort recalls a Shining Moment in Black History."

The remains are hidden in the salt marshes just to the north of St. Augustine, Florida, but, Fort Mose was the first free black town in what became the United States.  Its residents were African slaves from British plantations to the north in the English colonies who found refuge by escaping to Spanish-held Florida, where they converted to Catholicism.

The site was declared a national historic landmark in 1994.  Two years of excavation have been led by archaeologist Kathleen Deagan.  So far, they have uncovered everyday items for cooking, clothing, shelter and defense.  Also found was a hand-crafted silver medal with an image of St. Christopher on one side and a sailor's compass rose on the other.  Many escaped slaves served as crewmen on Spanish ships.

Both England and Spain claimed northern Florida and slaves knew they would be free in Spanish-Florida.  In 1739, the Spanish formed a freedman's militia and moved one hundred black men, women and children from St. Augustine to build the 65-square-foot Fort Mose.  Two years later, the English attacked, forcing the residents back to St. Augustine.  In 1752, blacks built a new and larger Fort Mose nearby.  In 1763, Florida was ceded to England and the Spanish blacks moved to Cuba.

Stuff I Didn't Know.  --Cooter

Monday, August 20, 2012

Dead Page: Top Gun


Committed suicide August 19th at the Vincent Thomas Bridge in Los Angeles Bay.  Younger brother of director Ridley Scott.

He directed some of my favorite movies, plus he and his brother ran Scott Free Productions that produces two of my favorite TV shows:  "Numb3rs" and "The Good Wife" plus did the History Channel documentary on the Battle of Gettysburg in 2011.

He worked with Denzel Washington on four movies.  I especially liked his "Top Gun" in 1986, "Crimson Tide" in 1995 and "Unstoppable" in 2010.

Sorry It Got to That.

Andy Griffith's Life-- Part 2

NOVEMBER 1953--  Release of "What It Was, Was Football" recording on Colonial records.

MARCH 15, 1955--  On the United States Steel Hour's "No Time for Sergeants"as Will Stockdale.

MAY 28, 1957--  Premier of A Face in the Crowd where he played Larry "Lonesone" Rhodes.

OCTOBER 3, 1960--  Series premier of "The Andy Griffith Show (249 episodes in eight seasons).

APRIL 21, 1976--  Star unveiled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

SEPTEMBER 20, 1986--  Series premier of Matlock (177 episodes, 1986-95)

OCTOBER 28, 2003--  Dedication of TV Land Landmark for the Andy Griffith Show at Pullen Park in Raleigh, NC.

SEPTEMBER 24, 2004--  Replica of TC Land Landmark for the Andy Griffith Show unveiled in Mt. Airy, NC.

2008--  SEPTEMBER 26, 2009--  Dedication of the Andy Griffith Museum in Mt. Airy, NC.

2012--  Died

One of  My Favorites.  --Cooter

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Andy Griffith's Life-- Part 1

From the September 18, 20111, Mayberry Confidential.

Last month, I drove through Mt. Airy, North Carolina, on my way to a visit with family in the state.  I was all set to enjoy one of those fantastic pork chop sandwiches from Snappy Lunch on Main Street, but was greatly disappoined to find the place closed for the week.

I was interested in seeing how the town was treating Andy Griffith's recent death.  There wasn't much.  One store had a giant card for people to sign and the TV Land stuatue by the Andy griffith Playhouse had flowers, but that was all I could find.

I did pick up this pamphlet thinking it would have something about his death until I saw the date.

However, it did have a chronology of his life so will pick out some dates and write about them:

JUNE 1, 1926--  Born in Mt. Airy.  Named Andy Samuel Griffith.

MAY 30, 1944--  Graduated from Mount Airy High School.

JUNE 1949--  Graduated from the University of North Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music.

1949-1952--  Worked as a music and drama teacher at Goldsboro (NC) High School.  (Hey, I was living in Goldsboro at the time, but don't remember him as I was born in 1951.)

More to Come.  --Cooter

Friday, August 17, 2012

British Revolutionary War Ship Discovered

From the Aug. 19, 2010, Daily Press by Mark St. John Erickson.

Underwater archaeologists doing a survey in the Virginia's York River found a shipwreck that may have been scuttled by the British during the war.  It had been covered up with silt but the current shifted, revealing it.

It is believed to have been part of a fleet of 60 British vessels anchored off Yorktown during the October 1781 battle.  Cornwallis had many vessels scuttled to protect the rear of Yorktown from amphibious assault.  Most of these ships were salvaged after the British surrender, but many remained.  From 1975 to 1990, nine shipwrecks were found and one, the Betsy, was excavated.

Wonder What Happened to the Ship Since 2010?  --Cooter

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dead Page: Oooh! Ooh!


Best-known for playing Arnold Horshack in the 1975-1979 TV series "Welcome Back, Kotter"  How could you not laugh when that hand shot skyward and those words resounded all over the classroom.  And then, there was that trademark wheezing laugh.

And then, there were those Sweathogs, Vinnie Barbarino, Boom-Boom and Epstein's Mother.  Good thing Mr. Kotter had such a good sense of humor.

I was teaching back then and had a coupla, two, three Horshacks most years.  I'd just tell 'em a story about some strange relative.

Unfortunately, that role typecast him for the rest of his career and he had a hard time getting parts.

How'd I Miss That Date? Japan's Surrender

OK, yesterday, I wrote about some thngs that happened on that date back in history and I missed the biggest thing of all, Japan's official surrender, August 15, 1945.  Japan's Emperor Hirohito announced that his country had accepted terms of surrender,ending World War II.

Japan was doomed even by the beginning of 1945, but was committed to fight to the bitter end, last person.  Then, came the atom bombs.  Unfortunately, the first one didn't decide it for them, but Nagasaki did.  As sad of a thing it was, the deaths from Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved millions more, not to mention all those Americans who would die and be maimed with that final invasion of Japan.

Liz showed me the movies someone in Hawaii had taken with the impromptu celebrations that broke out when the announcement came through back then.  If you get a chance to see it, do so.  You can find it at Vimio, VJ Day, Honolulu, Hawaii August 14, 1945.

Too Bad It Wasn't the War to End All Wars.  --Cooter

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

This Date in History: Fort Dearborn, Death of Will Rogers, Woodstock

I was reading the Springfield (IL) State Journal Register today and came across some very interesting things that happened on this date.

1812  The Fort Dearborn Massacre took place in Illinois during the War of 1812, resulting in most of the fort's 100 man garrison dying and the rest taken prisoner.  I am going into greater detail on my Not So Forgotten: War of 1812 blog.

1914  The Panama Canal opened to traffic.

1935  Humorist Will Rogers and aviator Wiley Post killed in an airplane crash near Point Barrow, Alaska.

1969  The Woodstock Music and Art Fair opened in upstate New York.  I drove out to Woodstock, Illinois, looking for it, but didn't find it.

Some Important Stuff.  --Cooter

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Whole Lot of History at the Fair

Yesterday, we went to the Illinois State Fair in Springfield for the first time ever and were impressed.  Sure a whole lot of history and food here.

We were very impressed with the architecture of the exhibition building and the Coliseum.  And, as far as food history, the Cozy Dog wasn't there on the grounds, but  at least four other Cozy Dog places were spotted and we ate at one and the dog, well...Cozy, was the same.

I had a good time looking at the grandstand headliners through the years, especially in the 60s when you'd have Bob Hope, Liberace and Iron Butterfly taking turns on the stage.

I'll Have Another Cozy, Thank You!  --Cooter

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dead Page: Sidekick-- Cell Phones-- Vibrating Beds

From the July6, 2009, Time Magazine Milestones.


Died June 23,2009.  Johnny Carson's sidekick for all those years (30) even though I rarely watched the show.  But, who doesn't know "Heeeeeeeeeeeeere's Johnny!!"  And, I never won any millions from Publisher's clearing House!!


Died June 11, 2009.  Formulated idea for DynaTac, Motorola's prototype for the first cellular phone.  He boasted his creation would be useful to a wide variety of people.  But, probably not four-year-olds like I've seen.  Enabled millions to walk around with plastic pressed to their ears.  And, you can now even press it to your ear without hands now.  Ain't technology great?


Using a mattress, a coin meter and clip-on vibrating device, created the Magic Fingers Vibrating Bed, billing it as a sleep aid.  Became a staple in motel rooms in US motels everywhere in 60s and 70s.  People would check their quarter supply before checking in.  Who can ever forget that vibrating bed in the Griswald's room in that movie?

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Brief History of Television-- Part 3


1927  April 7th, first U.S. public broadcast: the voice and image of President Herbert Hoover.

1947  The first TV couple share a bed in Mary Kay and Johnny show.  The next may have been Fred and Wilma Flintstone in the '60s. (Don't let the cat in!!)

1950  Unfortunately, the Laugh Track debuts on NBC's The Hank McCune Show.

1955  Wireless remote control invented.  Earlier versions were attached to TV by a cable.  Or, you used good old get up and foot power.  (First remote for me was 1981 wuth that VCR.)

1972  VCR replaces previous open-reel home video systems.  (We got our first VCR in 1981.)

1983  M*A*S*H airs most-watched TV-show finale in history, viewed by almost 106 million Americans.  (I remember watching it at a local bar as we had a MASH party.)

2009  Contract renewal puts the Simpsons on track to pass CBS' Gunsmoke (1955-75) as the longest-running prime-time scripted series.  (And, it's still going and getting better each year.)

Hey, Pass Me the Remote.  --DaCoot

A Brief History of Television-- Part 2

Back in the 19th century, inventors first began dreaming about devices to let people "see by electricity."  An 1881 article in Nature speculated that transmitting images over distance was possible, but questioned whether is was worth "further expense and trouble."

In 1884, a German inventor created crude moving images by filtering light through a spinning disk punched with holes..  In the early 1920s, US and UK engineers sent still pictures and moving silhouettes using radio waves.  In 1928, General Electric broadcast the first TV drama.

Picture quality steadily improved and audiences grew.  The first widespread color telecast went out in 1954 and regular television broadcasts began in 1939.  From 1945-1948 sales of TVs increased 500%.  Today, there are televisions in some 110 million homes.

And Many of Them, Like Us, Have Many More Than One Set.  --Cooter

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Brief History of Television-- Part 1: Me and My TV

From the June 22, 2009, Time Magazine.

This was brought about because of the switch to digital TV from analog which was delayed because some 3 million Americans were not ready for it, though they had been hearing about it for over a year.

For myself, I'm still an analog guy, but since we have cable, we're ok.  Every set is analog, but I am anxiously anticipating break downs with them so I can get those large, flat screens.  I'm not getting one until that happens, although I'm thinking about moving the downstairs 1983 model Zenith console to another part of the basement to play my VHS cassettes.  Then I can get a 50-55-inch in its place.

Still thinking about it though.

Early 1920s:  It had doors.  TVs were blurry and flickering.

1930s:  Still fuzzy, but technology improved.

TV was still a rarity for most people until after World War II in 1945.

1954:  Color television began taking off  (We didn't get color until the late 60s.  That was due to my parents.)

1960:  87% of US homes had a TV.  And most families just had ONE!!  We have six now.

1972:  Color TVs outsell Black and Whites.

1980s:  Lots and lots of cable channels.  And, I remember saying I WOULD NEVER PAY for my TV.  When we moved out to Spring Grove on '92 and didn't have cable, I was on the phone demanding my MTV, back when I liked it.

Flat Screen:  42% of TV stations were digital as of June 2009.

Still Technologically Impaired.  --Cooter

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Paoli, Indiana

On a trip awhile back, I had the pleasure of driving through Paoli, Indiana, and was impressed.  I was taking US-150 from Vincennes, Indiana to the New Albany Turnpike across the state.

Paoli is in Ornage County, named after North Carolina's governor's son, Pasquale Paoli Ash.  Must be an interesting story in itself.  It turns out that Paoli's early settlers in 1811 were Quakers fleeing slavery from their homes in Orange County, North Carolina.

They brought freed slaves with them who were given 200 acres. An Underground Railroad site was there, but nothing remains of their settlement but a cemetery.

During the Civil War, a Confederate scouting party under the command of Captain Thomas Hines briefly occupied Paoli.  They captured some Home Guards before leaving.  There is a Hines Road in town.

From 1884 to 1928, Williamson Post of the GAR operated.

The courthouse, which is striking, was built from 1847 to 1850 and is one of Indiana's two oldest continuously used courthouses.  The Greek Revival Style building was renovated in 2009.  A clock was installed in it in 1856 and the 1898 replica is still ticking away.  The building was placed on the NRHP.

The West Baden Springs Hotel, once touted as the 8th Wonder of the World, is located five miles from Paoli.  French Lick Springs Resort is also nearby.

Worth a Stop.  --Cooter

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Radium Craze Still Haunting Paris-- Part 2

Continued from 8-3-12.

Cancerous cells are more sensitive to radiation than healthy ones.  Curie died at age 66 from prolonged, unprotected exposure to radium.

France has identified about 130 sites suspected of raving radiation risks.  Old addresses on vintage advertising posters were even used to locate them.  About 40 of them are in the Paris area.

In Chaville, a suburb about seven miles away from central Paris, a two-story detached house has men in white bio-hazard suits drilling holes in wooden floors of what had been an aircraft altimeter factory before World War II.  Factory workers colored the dials with glow-in-the-dark paint made from radium powder and zinc sulfide.

These workers suffered a similar plight as the so-called Radium Girls in the U.S. who contracted radiation poisoning around 1917 from licking their paintbrushes to sharpen them.

Traces of radium were srtill present at the site.  Though the amount is too small to present risk, it will still have to be collected and sent to a nuclear waste storage facility.

The cost for a house like this will be around 260,000 euros, about $318,000.

So, Be Careful in Paris If You See Something Glowing in the Dark.  --Cooter

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Truth About the Titanic: Should Have Gone Left

From the September 22, 2011, "The truth about the Titanic sinking: The ship went right when it should have gone left, book reveals" by Amy Dempsey.

U.K. author Louise Patten, granddaughter of the Titanic's Second Officer Charles Lighteller has a new take on why the ship sank.

The ship had lots of time to shift course after the iceberg was spotted, but hit it because of a steering error.  This has been known since the 1960s and is in a new novel called "Good As Gold."

The Titanic was built at the time the age of sail was giving way to the age of steam in ships.  The ships in each era used two different steering systems.  Some of the crew had used the old Tiller Orders, where you steer right to go left, and left to go right.  Others were using the new Rudder Orders where you steer the way you want to go.

In a moment of panic, the Titanic's steersman used the wrong Order and steered toward the iceberg.  Ms. Patten said her grandfather hid the truth for fear it would bankrupt the Titanic's owners and leave colleagues jobless.  She kept the secret also for fear of ruining her grandfather's good name.

Makes sense.

An Interesting New Insight.  --Cooter

Saturday, August 4, 2012

World's Oldest Man Marks 114th Birthday

From the September 21, 2010, Ask American.

Walter Bruening, of Great Falls, Montana celebrated his 114th birthday.  He was born September 21, 1896, in Melrose, Minnesota and moved to Great Falls in 1918.  For 50 years he worked as a clerk for the Great Northern Railway.

His wife, Agnes, worked as a railroad telegraph operator from Butte, Montana, died in 1957.

Mr. Bruening became the oldest man after British World War I veteran Henry Allingham died July 2009 at age113.  Mr. Allingham liked to joke that the secret to his longevity was, "Cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women and a good sense of humor."

Guiness World Records verified Bruening as the world's oldest man and the fourth oldest person as three women are alive who were born before 1896.  Mr. Bruening gave a speech to about 100 people at an invitation only party at Rainbow Retirement Community, including Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer.  He was helped to the podium from a motorized cart and appeared frail, but spoke with a strog voice.

He said he lived in what he called the dark ages for eleven years without electricity, water or plumbing.  He had to "carry the water in.  Heat it on the stove.  That's what you took your bath with.  Wake up in the dark.  Go to bed in the dark.  That's not very pleasant."

"When the computer came out, that was one of the worst things.  They laid off all the clerks on the railroad. but added "Every change us good."

Sadly, Mr. Bruening died April 14, 2011.

That Man Had Seen a Lot of History.  --Cooter

Friday, August 3, 2012

Radium Craze Still Haunting Paris-- Part 1

From the August 2nd Chicago Tribune by Michel Rose and Marion  Douet, Reuters.

"The Belle Poche, France's golden era at the turn of the 19th century, bequeathed Paris elegant landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, but also a more sinister legacy of radioactive floors and backyards that the capital is only now addressing."

After Marie Curie discovered the radioactive element radium in 1898, it set off a craze for the luminescent material that led for using it for everything from clock dials to lipsticks to water fountains.  The companies that produced them are long out of business, but their sites have left small doses of radium that can be dangerous over prolonged exposure.

Marie Curie never patented her discovery and a lot of people jumped in to make money from it.  After she proved that it could destroy cancerous cells, people assumed it had healing powers and started putting it in everything from body lotions to cough syrups.

And There I Was Playing With the Mercury.  --Cooter

Lowe Got His Plaque

The previous post was two years old, so I went to Wikipedia and found out that the plaque Maddie Matthews wanted was unveiled on the centennial anniversary of the Titanic's sinking, just as she had wanted.  The slate plaque is in Barmouth, Gwynedd, Wales, and is inscribed in both English and Welsh with picture of Harold Rowe and the Titanic.

It reads: "In Commemoration of 5th Officer Harold Godfrey Lowe who left Barmouth aged 14 to go to sea.  He played a heroic role in the rescue of survivors during the sinking of RMS Titanic on 15th April 1912."

The plaque was unveiled by his grandson, Captain John Lowe.

Glad to See It Came About.  --DaCoot

Honoring a Titanic Hero

From June 10, 2010, BBC News: Wales "Schoolgirl's bid to honor Barmouth's Titanic Hero."

An what made this an even better story was that it was a young girl doing this.

Maddie Matthews, 15, of Dyffryn Ardudwy, Gwynedd, was shocked to find that Barmouth had no plaque to mark the Titanic's Fifth Officer Harold Lowe who rowed a lofeboat back to where the Titanic sank to save four more from the freezing waters.

She wants a memorial to be in place by the centennial of the ship's sinking.

Lowe died in 1944 and is buried at Llandrillo-yn-Rhos.  Fund-raising is already underway and the Titanic Heritage Trust applauds her efforts.

Before returning to the struggling survivors, Lowe dispersed the occupants of his lifeboat into other ones.  He also rescued several people from a sinking inflatable lifeboat.  In the populat movie, Lowe is shown as the officer holding the lantern as the lifeboat proceeds slowly checking bodies for life and hollering out.

Always Good to See Youth Getting Involved With Old Stuff.  Too Often, It's the Old Doing That.  --Cooter

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ten Watershed Moments in History-- Part 2

5.  VACCINE FOR SMALL POX--  Mid-18th centuryby Edward Jenner.  Killed about 400,000 a year before discovery.

4.  INVENTION OF THE PRINTING PRESS--  Johannes Guttenberg in 1436.

3.  PUBLICATION OF THE 95 THESES--  Martin Luther (why do I always think King) Start of the Protestant Reformation.

2.  BERLIN CONFERENCE --  Started the scramble for colonies in Africa.  By 1895, the only independent African countries were Liberia and Ethiopia.



Germany's Invasion of Poland
The Declaration of Independence
End of Apartheid
Invention of the Internet
Assassination of Caesar
Battle of Waterloo
Invention of Calculus

An interesting list, definitely open to discussion, but a starting point nonetheless.

Find It On Listverse.  --Cooter

Ten Watershed Moments in History-- Part 1

From the Aug. 27, 2010, Listverse.  As always, I list them and maybe write something about it, but the site has pictures and much more information.

10.  OCTOBER REVOLUTION (1917)--  The second-phase of the Russian Revolution that led to the overthrow of the Russian Provisional and the Bolsheviks  (Communists) took over.



7.  BLACK PLAGUE--  Europe 1348-1350-- led to a shortage of labor.

6.  STORMING OF THE BASTILLE- -  July 14, 1789--  Flashpoint of the French Revolution against royal tyranny.

More to Come.  --DaCoot

USS Olympia Battles for Survival-- Part 3

The Olympia took part in the 1918 Allied landings at Murmansk, Russia, during the Russian Civil War.  Its final mission was to bring home the body of the U.S.'s Unknown World War I soldier from France in 1921 before being decommissioned in 1922.

The ship remained aflaot, though mostly forgotten until the 1950s when it was nearly scrapped, but citizens ralleid and donations were sent in and the ship was saved.  It opened as a museum in 1958.  Later, the former president of the Seaport Museum was convicted of bilking $1 million from the organization.

The battleship USS New Jersey is a museum across the river in New Jersey and the 1950s ocean liner SS United States is also in Philadelphia. More information at: Independence Seaport Museum  Friends of the Cruiser Olympia  Cruiser Olympia Historical Society

Hope The Olympia Makes It.  --Cooter

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

USS Olympia Battles for Survival-- Part 2

In 1996, the Independence Seaport Museum took the ship over and has spent $5.5 million on the ship for repairs, maintenance and inspections.  It is estimated that it will cost $10 million to dredge the site, tow the Olympia to dry dock and repair it and the museum can not affort to do it.  In addition, another $10 million endowment will be needed for future care.

The Olympia has been in the same spot since 1945, despite recommendations that it be drydocked every twenty years for repairs.

The Friends of the Cruiser Olympia and the Cruiser Olympia Historical Society are trying to raise money, manpower and get publicity.

The USS Olympia was the most technologically advanced ship in the world when it was launched and became the flagship of the U.S. Asiatic Squadron, a post it still held when the Spanish-American War started.  At the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1, 1898, Admiral George Dewey (who was also at Fort Fisher during the Civil War)  issued his now famous command from the bridge, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley."  Fire from the Olympia and other ships destroyed the Spanish fleet..  The Olympia was hit 7 or 8 times but sustained no major damage.

Saving the Ship.  --Cooter