Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Some Classic Halloween Stuff

From the Vanished Americana site

Scroll down.

You can see the Little Rascals classic "Spooky Hooky" where they fake a note from a mother to get off school so they can go to the circus only to find their teacher had a field trip surprise to the circus for them.  They got locked out of the school and had to break in at night.  And, it was a spooky night.

Then there were four Halloween songs, only one of which I'd ever heard of before:

WOBBLIN GOBLIN--  Rosemary Clooney
PUNKY PUNKIN (THE HAPPY PUMPKIN)--  Fran Allison  (Anybody remember her?)

JEEPERS CREEPERS--  Paula Kelly (I had heard this one before)

Plus, there was a Walt Disney cartoon called "Trick Or Treat" featuring Donald Duck, his nephews and a witch.

5:20 and we've had 15 trick-or-treaters.  Started at 3 PM.

Go On, Get in the Mood.  --DaCoot

Five Frightening Halloween Factoids

From the Oct. 28, 2012 Parade Magazine.

1. The best place for trick-or-treating in Amereica is Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut, according to a 2011 index of Halloween Hauls.  Yeah, and its 4:06 PM in Spring Grove, Il., and so far we've had no trick-or-treaters even though it started at 3 PM.  Back in the day, we went out just as soon as we could and stayed out as long as we could.  All the more to get more candy, you know.

2.  A quarter of all U.S. candy sales each year occur now.  This year's top seller...Snickers.  We  had some, but alas, they somehow disappeared.

3.  The 1978 thriller "Halloween was shot on a $300,000 budget and went on to become one of the highest grossing and scariest movies ever.  My right leg still has a bruise from where friend Wendy, who was sitting next to me at the theater, hit it during one scary part.  Thanks, Wendy.

4.  Ron Wallace of Greene, RI, has just grown the laargest pumpkin in history.  On September 26, the giant gourd weighed in at 2,000 pounds.  Talk about your Punky Pumkins.

5.  Harry Houdini, magician and escape artist, died on Oct. 31, 86 years ago. 

Here's to You, Harry.  --Cooter

America's Last World War I Veteran

From the March 8, 2011, Bangor (Maine) Daily News "Buckles, not Boehmer, deserves place in Washington, DC" by Pat LaMarche.

Frank Buckles was born shortly after the Spanish-American War ended and before radio broadcasting, assembly line production, flight and electric washing machines.  And, he lived into the computer age.

Altogether in Wold War I, there were around 25 million combat-related casualties and other factors like the 1918 flu epidemic caused even more to die.

According to the "Longman Companion to the First World War, though the U.S. involvement was great, casualties were surprisingly low.  Of 4,272,500 soldiers deployed, around 8% were killed or wounded, compared to 55% for the Russians and 75% of French troops.

The writer was not happy that Speaker of the House John Boehmer didn't think Mr. Buckles' body should lie in the Capitol Rotunda.

I Agree That Mr. Buckles' Body Should Have Been in the Rotunda As a Fitting Thank You to All That Generation Past.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tall Ship HMS Bounty Sinks in Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy-- Part 1

From the Oct. 30, 2012, Courant Business by Dan Haas.

I was very sad to hear that this ship, built to the exact specifications of the original, sank yesterday off Wilmington, NC, when it was unable to navigate through the 40-foot waves of Hurricane Sandy, took on water and went down.

It had a crew of 16.  Fourteen were rescued yesterday by  Coast Guard helicopters.  The last one off the ship, the captain is still missing.  One other man was rescued, but died later.

The vessel was constructed specifically for the 1962 movie "Mutiny On the Bounty" starring Marlon Brando.  It had been in New London, Ct., for a gathering of the crew of the submarine USS Mississippi on Oct. 25th after a month of repairs of Maine and was on its way to its home port in St. Petersburg, Florida.It went down 100 miles off Cape Hatteras in what is known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic for the number of ships that sank there.

The 412 ton ship has three masts, the tallest at 115 feet and ten miles of rigging.

The crew member who was found, but later died was 42-year-old Claudene Christian (and I'm thinking when I first read it, that his last name was the same as the leader of the mutineers.  But that name sounded a bit more like that of a female.) and he reportedly is a descendant.  Later, I found out that Claudene Christian was female.  Her ancestor has been played by four of Hollywood's leading men: Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Marlon Brando and Mel Gibson.

More to Come. --Cooter

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ten Best Old War Films

From the Jan. 1, 2011, Screen Junkies.

1.  Twelve O-Clock High (1949)
2.  The Desert Fox (1951)
3.  From Here to Eternity (1953)

4.  The Caine Mutiny (1954)
5.  The Bridge Over the River Kwai (1957)
6.  Run Silent, Run Deep (1958)
7.  The Longest Day (1962)

8.  The Great Escape (1963)
9.  Patton (1970)
10. Apocalypse Now (1979)

Seen 'Em All.   --Cooter

Saturday, October 27, 2012

First Time Out and Finds a Trove of Roman Coins

From the Oct. 18, 2012, Yahoo! News, ABC News "First-Time Treasure Hunter Discovers Trove of Roman-Era Coins" by Suzan Clarke.

The lucky dog.

An unnamed man bought a basic metal detector in Britain and has uncovered a trove of Roman coins, believed to be the largest in English history.  The Roman solidi, dating back to the 4th century are estimated to be worth $160,000 in U.S. dollars, or 100,000 English pounds.

The first-timer found 40 pieces and then brought them to the shop where he bought the detector in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire and then returned with the shop's owners and a better detector and found 119 more.

The coins are 22 carat gold and in great shape.  The Solidu coins date from the closing years of the 4th century and were typically issued as sacrifice to the gods.

They were found on private land.

Would That Ever Be Neat to Do.  --Cooter

Friday, October 26, 2012

Just In Time for Halloween: Top Ten Universal Monsters

From the Oct. 16, 2012, Listverse.  Top monsters appearing in Universal Studios movies.

Movie--Year-- the Monster

10.  IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE-- (1953)--  the one-eyed creature

9.  THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA-- (1943)--  disfigured Claudin

8.  THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN--  (1935)--  Mrs. Frankenstein to-be

7.  THE MUMMY--  (1932)--  Imhotep, ancient priest, "Raggy"

6.  THE INVISIBLE MAN--  (1933)--  the mad scientist Griffin

5.  THE WOLF MAN--  (1941)--  Larry Talbot, half man, half wolf, "Hairy"

4.  DRACULA--  (1931)--  the count "Toothy"

3.  FRANKENSTEIN-- "Blockhead"


1.  THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA--  (1925)--  Mr. Phantom

Like, Boo!!  --Cooter

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Something Worth Looking At: Life Magazine Photographs

From the November 20, 2008, Chicago Tribune "New life for huge Life photograph collection on Google" by Steve Johnson.

Including the date rape photo of the kissing sailor at the end of World Wat II."Suddenly one of the great treasure troves in history is available online, free, and even ready for your download and manipulation.  The Life magazine photos archive went up this week, hosted by Google

It is broken down by decades.  And, you are welcome to use them without all that copyright stuff.  You can crop hem the way you want and make your own 8-by-10 prints.  You just can't use them for commercial purposes.

However, not all of the 10 million images are on the Google site.  Life president Andrew Blau said, "To have the entire collection in a warehouse in Jersey City is not to the benefit of the photography."

I look forward to the day when any non-money-making effort can use any photo on the internet with no copyright problems.  But I would like for whomever made the photo to include their name or site at the bottom of the picture.

Definitely Worth a Look.  --Cooter

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Brief History of Cigarette Advertising-- Part 2

I always like it when Time does this one page, packed with information, column.  It is as good as the Tribune's Ten Things You Didn't Know.

In 1971, cigarette packs were required to have warning labels and companies were no longer allowed to advertise on radio or television.  This didn't stop the tobacco companies who continued ads in publications, billboards, sponsorships and merchandise promotions like Camel Cash.


1909  The American Tobacco Company includes small baseball cards in packs of cigarettes.  Pittsburgh Pirate Honus Wagner's card will become the most valuable ever, one fetching $2.8 million in a 2007 auction..  I have heard that he was against cigarette smoking and had had his card pulled right away, so that made it quite rare.

1965  Congress requires cigarette packs to carry health warning labels.  The surgeon general's warning is added in 1970.

1991  A study shows that nearly as many 6-year-olds know Joe Camel as Mickey Mouse.  The cartoon pitchman is retired in 1997.

1992  Wayne McLaren, the actor who portrayed the rugged Marlboro Man in commercials, died of lung cancer at age 61.  He did not look so rugged and healthy then.

What Does Lucky Strike Mean?  --Cooter

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Old Hometown, Palatine, Illinois-- Part 4

Now, Palatine has joined its eastern towns and is considered a mature Chicago suburb.  Village leaders are looking to redevelop and update businesses to keep that aspect viable.

Palatine has come a long way since 1873, when Everett Chamberlain described the town as a " village with three churches and a handsome grade school worth $11,000...streets [that are] excellently finished...tracts selling from $75 to $300 an acre."


66,820 inhabitants

2%-- population growth since 2000

79.5%--  have lived there 5+ years

33--  median age of owner/renter

69.6%--  own their homes

30.4%--  rent

$93,745--  estimated family income  ($74,622 for Illinois)

Reported ethnicity:  2.1% black, 7.4% Asian, 14% Hispanic,83.3% white

That Old Hometown of Mine.  --DaCoot

A Brief History of Cigarette Advertising-- Part 1

From the June 15, 2009, Time Magazine by Scott Olstad and Randy James.

The article had a great "Call for Philip Morris" commercial at the top.  If you Yahoo search the headline, you can go to the New York Public Library with 10 more cigarette ads where your doctor and even your baby wanted you to smoke.

Almost as soon as there was a U.S., there has been tobacco advertising.  But new regulations on the tobacco industry may put a big crimp in the $13 billion a year business.

The first print ad for tobacco is believed to be from 1789 when what is now Lorillard Tobacco Co. advertised its snuff in a New York paper.  In the late 19th-century cigarette packs began including trading cards featuring celebrities and athletes.

Soldiers in both world wars received either free or subsidized cigarettes.  In the 40s and 50s there were catchy slogans like "Winston Tastes Good (go ahead and finish it)" and they backed popular TV shows.  NBC's Nightly News grew out of the Camel News Caravan.

The golden age of cigarette advertising started dimming in the 60s when the health risks became more clear.

More to Come.  --Cooter

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sure Scared Me Fifty Years Ago: The Cuban Missile Crisis

From the Oct. 22, 2012, Northwest Herald (Il)

"Kennedy averts Cuban Missile Crisis Disaster" by Joseph C. Morton.

On this day (Oct. 22) 1962, President John F. Kennedy appeared on TV to inform the country that the Soviets were constructing nuclear missile sites in Cuba, just 90 miles from the U.S..

That was the first the citizens had heard of it, although it had been going on since Oct. 13th.  They just hadn't told us.  The whole thing lasted 13 days before the Soviet Union finally backed down.

I figured that I was a goner.  Here I was in 6th grade, and already doomed.  Sure, we had always had nuclear holocaust drills where we had to get on out knees, put our heads on the floor and cover our heads with our arms.  Kind of an embarrassing position to say the least.  And we had to do it under our desks.  That position and those desks were really going to protect us if a big one went off nearby.  Just a lot of real burned heinies sticking up in the air at best.

I remember seeing all the photgraphs in the next day's newspapers.

Way Too Young To Die.  --DaCoot

My Old Hometown: Palatine, Illinois-- Part 3

Despite the new multi-family housing, Palatine is still a family-oriented bedroom community as it has been since the 1960s.  I know my brother, sister and I sure enjoyed it.  Back in he 60s, we walked everywhere and with no fear of Stranger danger, but I imagine you couldn't do that anymore. 

The village has two park districts, swimming pools, a water park, a 15-mile Palatine Trail

And, there are festivals including Street Fest which draws 45,000 each August and, of course, the great 4th of July celebration every year.

Its public schools get high marks.  Its two high school, Palatine and the one that is not Palatine, William Fremd, are always top scorers on the Chicago area ACT rankings.  They are part of High School District 211 and elementary District 15.  It has 15 elementary schools, 4 junior highs and a school for special needs and at-risk.  Mom taught at Jane Addams and Virginia Lake elementary schools.  Private schools include two Catholic high schools and Quest Academy.  Plus, there is Harper Junior College.

Many of Palatine's residents work in Schaumburg, but the Metra train line (used to be the Chicago & Northwestern) is still the number one commuter vehicle.  Dad used to take it every weekday to and from the Quaker Oats Company's corporate headquarters in Chicago's Merchandise Mart.

A Great Place to Grow Up.  --Cooter

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Old Hometown...Palatine, Illinois-- Part 2

Palatine has a mostly family demographic, but growth will slow down as the last farm in the village limits closed in the 1990s and there just isn't much land left on which to build.  Until the great home bust, single family permits were maintaining at around 100 a year.  Of course, back in the 60s when Winston Park subdivision was being built, it was much higher.

UPSIDE OF LIVING IN PALATINE--  The village is a half hour commute from Chicago by train. There are plenty of village things always happening and now the new downtown condos are adding seniors and young professionals to the mix.

DOWNSIDE OF LIVING IN PALATINE--  Other than parks and forest preserves, there are not a lot of wide open spaces still available.  If you want room, head out farther.  Palatine used to be an outskirts suburb, but is no longer on the outskirts, but in the bustling Northwest Suburbs and all the traffic that comes from that.  I'll sure agree with the traffic problem.. It is horrible.

More to Come.  --DaCoot

That's How Close We Came to Armageddon During the Cuban Missile Crisis

From Oct. 16, 2012 Yahoo! News.

Newly released papers of Robert F. Kennedy on the Cuban Missile Crisis had the words to a draft that President Kennedy was ready to read if the Soviets had not backed down.

"My fellow Americans, with a heavy heart, and in necessary fulfillment of my oath of office, I have ordered--and the United States Air Force has now carried out-- military operations with conventional weapons only, to remove a major nuclear weapons build-up from the soil of Cuba."

Had we done so, the Cuban commander probably would have replied with the 100 nuclear tactical weapons at his disposal which would have led to US retaliation and then the Soviet Union.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara wanted 500 bombing sorties followed by an invasion of Cuba by 90,000 soldiers.

Those were some mighty scary times to live through.  I was 11 at the time and was pretty sure I wouldn't live to see my 12th birthday.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Titanic's Charles Lightoller-- Part 1

Back on August 6, 2012, I posted an entry about the truth of the Titanic's sinking which revolved around a steering error written byBritish author Louis Patten, granddaughter of the Titanic's Second Officer Charles Lightoller.

I looked up Mr. Lightoller on Wikipedia and found some interesting information. 

Born March 30, 1874 and died Dec. 8, 1952.  He was the second officer on the Titanic and most senior one to survive.  Mr. Lightoller was decorated for gallantry in the First World War and during World War II, provided and sailed one of the "Little Ships" at Dunkirk.

Lightoller acted as first officer during the Titanic's sea trials.  On April 14, 1912, he was in command of the last bridge watch before the collision and had retired to bed when the iceberg was encountered.

He was very strict about "women and children first," and went into the water as the great ship slipped beneath it, surviving on an overturned boat.

An Interesting Life.  --Cooter

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Panama Canal to Expand

From the Aug. 16, 2012, Chicago Tribune"Wider Panama Canal to remake trade routes" by Tim Johnson.

Since the SS Ancon became the first ship to go through the locks of the Panama Canal on Aug. 15, 1914, the roughly 50-mile-long waterway, more than a million ships have used it.  But shipping was always constrained by the size of the locks, permitting no vessel longer than 965 feet, wider than 106 feet or drawing more than 39 feet of water from passing through.

This has becoming an increasing problem as ships have been getting much larger.  A third lane through the locks is planned to open in 2014 and ships as long as 1,200 feet, 160 feet wide and 50 feet draft will be able to use this lane.

This has Panama looking at reaping a lot of money.  However, US Atlantic ports are now having dredging projects to deepen harbors and approaches in Miami, Jacksonville, Savannah, Charleston and New York.

It's a Canal Thing, You Know.  --Cooter

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chicago's Ad Industry

From the Sept. 6, 2007, Chicago Tribune "Porsche jump-starts Chicago ad industry" by Susan Chandler.

A big sorry to those "Mad Men" out in New York.  Chicago is the nation's second-largest advertising market, but of  late it is getting the reputation as being the second-rate when it comes to advertising ideas.

But, Chicago-based Cramer-Krasselt has gotten the $40 million Porsche account.  It wasn't long ago that the Leo Burnett was flying high with its commercials.


Campaign--  product--  ad agency

MARLBORO MAN--  Marlboro cigarettes--  Leo Burnett

I WISH I WERE AN OSCAR MAYER WEINER--  Oscar Mayer hot dogs--  J. Walter Thompson

MY BOLOGNA HAS A FIRST NAME--  Oscar Mayer bologna--  J. Walter Thompson

TONY THE TIGER--  Kellogg's Frosted Flakes--  Leo Burnett

WASSUP?--  Budweiser--  DDB Chicago (Well, this one wore real thin.)

WHAT DO YOU WANT ON YOUR TOMBSTONE--  Tombstone frozen pizza--  Foote, Cone & Belding

BE LIKE MIKE--  Gatorade--  Bayer Bess Vanderwarker

YOU DESERVE A BREAK TODAY--McDonald's-- Needham, Harper and Steers

Think I'm Gonna Get a Big Mac for My Break.  We're Getting Overdue for McRibs!!  --Cooter

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

He Almost Missed National Newspaper Week

From the Oct. 11, 2012, Northwest (Il) Herald "Smart news companies have a future" by Kevin Lyons.

Mr. Lyons had to admit, that even though he is a newspaper columnist, he didn't know that it was National Newspaper Week.  Even worse, he found out about it on a Facebook feed.  That is really sad.  These are definitely trying times for the newspaper industry.  I still prefer to get my news via the print, but so many I know, including my wife, wouldn't dream of picking up a newspaper and get all their news via the computer screen. 

If I find a great article that I'd like her to look at, I have to giver her the article title and newspaper so she can get it up on her screen.  I myself, also use computer generated news which is very necessary to expand the number of articles I can locate to write these seven blogs.

He goes on to say:  "You can find plenty of obituaries on the newspaper business, many of which date to the invention of the radio.  Of course, the industry is undergoing changes and will continue to do so, and there have been some casualties along the way.  That's nothing to celebrate."

Of course, a big problem is money.  All those people getting news without paying for it, like me.  But I do have a subscription to the Chicago Tribune and have had one for most of the last 39 years.  I did go awhile without it back when they were attacking teacher retirement and still have a love-hate relationship with the paper as it is a bit too anti-union, pro GRB for me, but I hope the day will never come when I can no longer pick up the paper between my fingers and peruse at my leisure.

I do feel that if you have a subscription to one paper that you should be able to access others on the internet as part of the package.

Don't Take My Newspapers Away.  --DaCoot

My Old Hometown: Palatine, Illinois-- Part 1

From the Nov. 7, 2008, Chicago Tribune "Palatine growing at a comfortable pace" by Leslie Mann.

Palatine in considered to be part of Chicago's Northwest suburbs.  I lived there from 7th grade to the end of freshman year in college, the longest I had ever lived in one place before that time.  So, to me, this is still my hometown even though I haven't lived there since 1970, with the exception of living with Liz's parents for a couple months in 1973 while student teaching and looking for a job until we got an apartment in Des Plaines in August.

When we moved into the house in Winston Park, back in 1963, there were around 8,000 people.  In 2008, there were 66,820. 

The article refers to the revitalized downtown with new condos and townhouses that I don't particularly care for.  They tore down the old Durty Nellie's Irish bar to build a condo monstrosity.  And, of course, my old favorite Ben Franklin store is long-gone as are most of the stores there while I was growing up.

My old junior high, Winston Park is still there.  Some of my old high school, Palatine, still stands and is used by the police and park district, but the school itself is elsewhere.  Fremd High School (freshman year) is still there as well, but no longer surrounded by corn fields.

Our old house at 1102 Anderson Drive is still there, but now painted white.  Liz's place at 44 Patricia is still there as well.

I worked at the Burger King from age 16 (my first job) until the end of freshman year in college.  It is on Northwest Highway (US-14) by Hicks Road.  It no longer stands, but there is a popular hot dog place called Photo's on the site.

It Was a Great Place to Grow Up.  --Cooter

Monday, October 15, 2012

NFL Players Becoming Actors

From the Oct. 11, 2012, Northwest Herald (Il) "Players and Actors."

This came about with the death of former Detroit Lion Alex Karras.

1. CARL WEATHERS--  played 7 games for the Raiders before becoming Apollo Creed in the "Rocky" series.  Also was Chubbs in "Happy Gillmore."

2.  FRED WILLIAMSON--  "The Hammer" played for the chiefs in Super Bowl 1 and later co-starred with George Clooney in "From Dusk to Dawn."

3.  BUBBA SMITH--  Defensive linebacker player Hightower in the "Police Academy" movies and also had some hilarious "Easy Opening Cans" Miller Lite commercials.

4.  JIM BROWN--  Former browns RB retired early to become an actor and had roles in "The Dirty Dozen" and "Any Given Sunday."

5.  ED "TOO TALL" JONES--  In that great Pepsi commercial with the jersey. Also in "Necessary Roughness" and "Married...with Children."

I can also think of O.J. Simpson in the HBO series "First and Ten" and some of those spoof movies.  That is, before he got away with murder.

Also, Merlin Olson on "Little House on the Prairie."

Who Says Football Players Can't Act?  --Cooter

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Dead Page: No More Mongo

ALEX KARRAS (1935-2012)

Was a fearsome NFL defensive lineman, lovable TV dad and hilarious movie cowboy.  Died at 77 of dementia.  Played for the Detroit Lions from 1958 to 1970.

In 1974 had his signature horse punch scene in "Blazing Saddles."  Then was on the 80s sitcom "Webster."

I never watched "Webster" but loved old Mongo in the movie.  Our friends have a brown lab dog named Mondo.  I always get him confused with Mongo.

Friday, October 12, 2012

As We Approach Halloween: Top Ten Ghost Ships

From the Jan. 1, 2011, Listverse.

10.  Carol Deering
9.  Baychimo
8.  Eliza Battle

7.  MV Joyita
6.  Flying Dutchman
5.  Young Teazer
4.  Octavius

3.  Lady Lovibond
2.  Mary Celeste
1.  Ourang Medan

Like...BOOO!!!  --Cooter

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dead Page: Ants in My Pants


Died Jan. 16, 2011.  Mr. Levine gave millions of kids a sneak peak at the underground lives of ants with his Uncle Milton's Ant Farm which sold 20 million units.

I don't remember ever having one, but was fascinated with them and would spend a lot of time watching the little critters moving around in their tunnels.  I have to admit I was a world-class ant killer and had regular wars with them, especially after being grossed out at the NC State Fair in Raleigh at a freak show tent that had a person in a ball with just head showing and a piece of wood propping open their mouth and ants climbing up the ball.  Well, that's my excuse.

At a 4th of July picnic at Studio City, Ca., in 1956, Mr. Levine began watching ants and remembered collecting ants in jars as a child and said, "We should make an antarium."

He and his brother-in-law, E.J. Cossman came up with the familiar transparent habitat with a whimsical farm scene at the top.

You bought the habitat and then the ants would come by mail.  People got a penny apiece for grabbing red harvester ants from the Mojave Desert.

Said Levine, "Ants work day and night.  They look at the common good and never procrastinate.  Humans can learn a lot from the ant."

The kits were an instant hit.  They used sand at first, but switched to volcanic ash to make viewing easier. 

Uncle Milton's Ant Farm is recognized as one of the Top 100 toys by the Toy Industry Association.

I don't remember seeing any for sale anymore when I "accidentally" get into a toy section.

Thanks, Uncle Milton

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

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


Generals and admirals during the Civil War had bad storms, but none that would classify as a hurricane.  That was especially great for those ships involved in the blockade and those trying to run it.  This was the longest hurricane-free period in continental US in the last 160 years.  Beginning in November 1861 and ending in October 1865 there were none, roughly bracketing the war.


Beginning in the late 1850s, the US Weather Service and Navy teamed up on a research project to stop hurricanes.  The plan was to bombard hurricanes with silver iodide in the hopes of collapsing the eyewall.  It was called Project Stormfury.  It had no effect on Hurricane Daisy in 1958, it collapsed a part of the eyewall on 1961s Hurricane Esther, but it soon returned to fury. Other attempts were made, but no success and the project was dropped in 1983.


A hurricane's energy is equivalent to a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes.


Chicago Bear fans showed a lack of sensitivity when they greeted the New Orleans Saints at Soldier Field for the NFC Championship game in January 2007, with signs such as "Bears Finishing What Katrina Started."


For years, a tugboat pushed ashore by 1969's Hurricane Camille stood in Gulfport, Mississippi as a symbol of the storm's power.  Hurricane Katrina battered it in 2005 and it was removed later.

Some Mighty Interesting Stuff.  Thanks Jacob and Benzkofer.  --Cooter

Monday, October 8, 2012

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


Naming one is sometimes a controversial thing.  In the 50s, names were just female, but some people believed that was sexist.  In 1979, male names were added.  French and Spanish names have been added.  In 2003, a representative from Texas complained about a lack of black names.


Many have heard about the Hurricane Camille hurricane party in Pass Christian, Mississippi, in which only one person survived.  That story is now in doubt.  Other survivors have been found.  When the original survivor was later charged with killing her 11th husband (yes, 11 husbands), he lawyer used an insanity defense, but she did time anyway.


In December 1944, a US Navy fleet under Admiral William "Bull" Halsey mistakenly steered straight into a typhoon in the Philippine Sea.  Three destroyers were sunk and other ships damaged.  Nearly 900 died.  The aircraft carrier USS Monterrey was badly damaged by fire.  Among those battling the fire was one Lt. Gerald Ford.

Four More Coming.  --Cooter

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Hurricanes

From the Sept. 18, 2011, Chicago Tribune by Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer.  I must admit that I am always pleased to find this column in the Sunday paper.  Always a lot of interesting information and tidbits.  These guys do a lot of research.


I must admit, this confuses me.  What is the difference between the three.  All are regional names for bad tropical storms.  The Atlantic, Caribbean and eastern Pacific all call them hurricanes.  In the northwest Pacific, they are typhoons.  Southwest Pacific and the Indian call them cyclones.

It's a matter of location.


After a really bad hurricane hit Miami in 1926, a funeral was held for Thomas Gill who had been on a dredge on Biscayne Bay.  The minister's service was interrupted when Gill walked in to report news of his death was greatly exaggerated.  He had been swept off the dredge by waves, but had made it to shore.  Another body had been misidentified as his.

3.  OOPS

A few days after Hurricane Katrina, TV's "The Price Is Right" broadcast a show offering a trip to New Orleans as a prize.  The show was a rerun and aired by mistake.  They apologized.

Ask My Brother Bob, An Insurance Adjuster, How Wonderful New Orleans Was After Katrina.  --Cooter

Friday, October 5, 2012

Monty Python's Flying Circus Boys Hit 42

From the October 18, 2009, Chicago Tribune "Flying Circus hits 40" by Robert Lloyd.

Definitely one of my all-time favorite shows, "Monty Python's Flying Circus," essentially six guys being as silly as they could...and, funny.  Now, it has been 42 years since "five young British lads and a young American animator" got together in 1969 and searched for a name, considering "Owl-Stretching Time" and "A Horse, a Spoon, and a Basin" before settling on the one we all know.

Back in 2009, the five remaining ones got together for an excellent six hour documentary series, "Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer's Cut).  I saw it and did it ever bring back memories as well as made me laugh all over again.  I'd forgotten some of the skits, "Hey, 'No One Expects the Spanish Inquisition!!!'"

Terry Jones, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam are still alive.  Graham Chapman died of  throat cancer in 1989.  Their creative life-span was from 1969 to 1983, and, of course several have gone on to other movies and TV shows.

Then, there was that great movie, "Holy Grail."  I still "Run-away" and say "Kneep." 

I didn't see it until the 70s when PBS showed it.  Much would have been censored on regular TV because of the nudity "And now for something completely different."  I rarely missed it.  And, the flying sheep and foot-squashing animation of Gilliam.

That Was Just Mighty Funny Stuff.

John Philip Sousa would eb so proud.

Thanks Monty.  --Cooter

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Survivors From Notable Ship Sinkings

From the May 10, 2010, Listverse "55 Survivors from 10 Notable Ship Sinkings."

The number of survivors are ranked from ten to zero in order.  Of course, for photos and more information, go to the site.

10.  USS Juneau, sunk 1942 with ten survivors.  Light cruiser carrying the five Sullivan brothers who all perished.
9.  Girona, sank 1588.  1300 on board, 9 survivors.
8.  Armenia, sank 1941.  7000 aboard, 8 survivors.  A Soviet Union hospital ship sunk by the Germans.

7.  Auguste, sunk 1761.  Of 121, just 7 survivors.  French ship sank in a  storm.
6.  HMS Invincible, 1916.  1021 aboard, 6 survivors.
5.  Atocha, sunk 1622.  Of 265 aboard, 5 survivors.
4.  Lexington, sunk 1843.  Of 143 aboard, 4 survivors.  Steamship.

3.  HMS Hood, sunk 1941.  Of 1415 aboard, 3 survived.  Sunk by German battleship Bismarck.
2.  HMS Vanguard, sunk 1917.  Of 845 aboard, 2 survived. Accidental ammunition explosion.
1.  Dunbar, sunk 1857.  Of 122 aboard, just 1 survived
0.  HMAS Sydney, sunk 1941.  No survivors.

A Really Sad Countdown. 

Secret Service Code Names

From Time Magazine.

Ronald Reagan was "Rawhide"
Richard Nixon was "Searchlight"
Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan is "Bowhunter"

Code names are assigned to Presidents, First Families, dignitaries and even celebrities who visit the White House.  The reason for the secret names is to protect them with discretion, unless the names are leaked to the press, which evidently they are.

Here are some others:

Pope John Paul II--  "Halo"
Bill Clinton "Eagle"  Well, I could have thought of another one.
Antonio Banderas "Zorro"
Barack Obama "Renegade"
John McCain  "Phoenix"
Jacqueline Kennedy  "Lace"
Mitt Romney  "Javelin"
Chelsea Clinton "Energy"
Nancy Reagan "Rainbow"
24's President Palmer "Citadel"
Ted Kennedy "Sunburn"

Let's See, Your Delta Name Will Be...  --Cooter

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Five Best Korean War Movies

From Screen Junkies.

1.  Pork Chop Hill (1959)
2.  The Steel Helmet (1951)
3.  I Want You (1951)
4.  The Bridge at Toko-Ri (1954)
5.  Men in War (1957)

There hasn't been a Korean War movie that I know of in the last ten years.

About Time for Another One.  --Cooter

Time's Top Ten Unforgettable Days

From Dec. 7, 2010, Time Magazine.

9/11  September 11, 2001
D-Day  June 6, 1944
Fourth of July
Oct. 14th  1492
Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941

Battle of Hastings Oct. 14, 1066
Guy Fawkes Day Nov. 5, 1605
Tax Day  April 15th
Armistice Day (Now Veterans Day) Nov. 11, 1918

OK, some of them are British.  Oops, seem to have missed one.

Ides of March March 15, 44 BC

Nope, Found It.  --DaCoot

USS Olympia May Be Heading for San Francisco

From the Dec. 28, 2010, Suite 101 by Christopher Eger.

Since 1957, the historic Spanish-American warship (the only one left) has been at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, but the Navy Yard Association of Mare Island (by SF) has kicked off a Save the Olympia campaign and to bring it back to its former home port in San Francisco.

The group is now raising funds for a feasibility study to determine possible sites in San Francisco.  One is the National Maritime Museum which operates the submarine USS Pampanito SS-383 at Pier 45, the former Hunters Point Navy Yard.

There is also Mare Island's historic dry dock and the San Francisco Maritime Park.

The Olympia was built in San Francisco by the Union Ironworks in 1888 for $1,796,000 and commissioned in 1895.  For many years, it was the largest and best equipped warship in the Pacific.  It fought in the Spanish-American War and after World War I transferred the body of The Unknown Soldier from France back to the U.S..

Due to lack of money for preservation, the Olympia was scheduled to close in November, but that has been extended to at least April 2011.  As far as I know, it is still open.

Regardless of Where It Ends Up, Save the Ship.  --Cooter

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ten Greatest War Movies

From Screen Junkies.

1.  Saving Private Ryan
2.  The Hurt Locker
3.  Black Hawk Down
4.  Glory
5.  We Were Soldiers

6.  The Patriot
7.  Platoon
8.  Full Metal Jacket
9.  The Thin Red Line
10. Inglourious Basterds

They Have Reasons.  Check It Out.  --Cooter

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Baltic's Captain's Pistol-- Part 2

Designed for crossing the Atlantic quickly with passengers housed in style, it could carry 200 first class and 80 second class people.  The Baltic was the fastest steamship in the world at 12-13 knots, until 1854.

Even so, the Collins Line lost money and bankrupted in 1858 at which time, the Baltic became a coastal steamer.

During the Civil War, the Baltic and Atlantic were leased by the U.S. government as transports for $1,500 a day, dropping to $1,200 in 1863 and $1,00 in 1865.

Sister ships Arctic and Pacific were lost at sea.  In 1854, the Arctic collided with a French ship and sank.  In 1856, the Pacific sailed for Liverpool with about 200 passengers and never arrived.

I was unable to find out anything about the Baltic's Captain J.J. Comstock other than he was a well-liked Collins Line captain.

I read that the pistol went for $276,000.

Just a Little Bit of History.  --DaCoot

The Baltic's Captain's Pistol-- Part 1

From the August 26, 2012, Chicago Tribune "Rock Island (Il) Auction Company's Premier Firearms Auction" full-page ad for their Sept 7-9 auction.

One of the items offered was estimated to go for $150,000 to $300,000.  They had a picture of the U.S. Mail steamship Baltic and the presentation case.  The notes read: "Magnificent historic Samuel Colt Presentation, Gustave Young Deluxe Engraved, Inscribed Cased Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver Presented to Captain J.J. Comstock, Commander of the Historic Steamship Baltic."

I'd never heard of Comstock or the ship, so had to research some more.

From Wikipedia.

SS BALTIC (1850)

The SS Baltic was a wooden-hulled sidewheel steamer built in 1850 for the transAtlantic American Collins Line, designed specifically to challenge the British Cunard Line.  The Baltic had three sister ships: Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic.

The Baltic's maiden voyage was Nov. 16, 1850.  Refitted as a sailing ship in 1870, it was scrapped in 1880.

The ship was 282 feet long, with a 45-foot beam and weighed 2,723 tons.

Go,  Boat,  Go!!  --Cooter