Tuesday, April 30, 2013

History's Top Ten Really Bad Years-- Part 1

From the February 28, 2011, Listverse.

So you think you're having a bad day, or even year?  Try trading places with these folks.

10.  PETE BEST  fired from the Beatles in 1962.

9.  JOSEPH MERRICK--  Was kicked out of his house after his mother died in 1879.  His father remarried and didn't want him in the house.  Of course, Joseph Merrick is better known as "The Elephant Man."

8.  JOSEPH HAZELWOOD--  Captain of the Exxon Valdoz in the oil disaster in 1989.

7.  U.S. GENERAL WILLIAM HULL--  Court-martialled in 1814 after surrendering Detroit to a vastly smaller British Army.

6.  FRIDA KAHLO--  severely injured in a bus accident in 1925 and took up painting.  She could really show pain well.

Five More Tomorrow.  --Cooter

Monday, April 29, 2013

So, That's Where It Came From: Nautical Terms-- Part 2

BEAKHEAD (HEAD)--  In sailing ships, the platform from the stem (front) of the ship was called the beakhead.  It became ideal for bathroom use because of the constant flushing of waves.  So sailors and even those shorebound refer to the "head" as a place to eliminate.  I always wondered where people on the sailing ships relieved themselves.

STEM TO STERN--  Not in the article, but I've heard it often.  Stem was front of the ship and stern was the back.  To clean something stem to stern was to clean all of it.

LOOSE CANNONS--  For people who behave recklessly.  Term is from is extreme damage that could be caused on sailing warships when cannons broke lose from their restrictions.  Great loss and damage could be done.

In 1545, the pride of the English Navy, King George VIII's Mary Rose left Portsmouth Harbor to fight the French and the lower gunports became flooded, causing the ship to list sharply.  Twenty cannons broke loose and the ship sank quickly with the loss of nearly everyone on board.

CHRISTENING SHIPS WITH BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE--  Norsemen and Romans believed the keels of ships should be christened with the blood of live persons to insure good luck and fortune.  The blood came from slaves or prisoners who were run over as the ship slid down to the water.  Eventually, red wine was used instead.

When the USS Constitution was launched in Boston, New England teetotalers used plain water.  The ship wouldn't budge until a bottle of Old Maderia was smashed across the bow and then the ship slid down the ways easily.

Well, That Was the Story, Anyway.  --Cooter

Ten Unforgettable Stories That History Forgot-- Part 2

Continued from March 27th.

5.  JOSEPH WARREN--  Father of the American Revolution.  Organized the Boston Tea Party and sent Paul Revere on his ride.

4.  GEORGE DE LA TOUR--  Forgotten master-painter.

3.  EXERCISE TIGER--  Full-scale testing for D-Day.  It was attacked by German torpedo boats and 749 Americans died.

2.  AMERICA'S FIRST SUBWAY--  New York City, opened in 1904.

1.  HOUSE OF WISDON--  a library in Baghdad, Iraq.

I only knew about #2.

Worth Checking Out.  --DaCoot

So, That's Where It Came From: Nautical Terms-- Part 1

From the March 31, 2013 Goldsboro (NC) News-Argus "Language Matters: Hoisting treasures from the sea" by Liz Meador.

A review of Olivia A. Isil's book "When a Loose Cannon Flogs a Dead Horse There's the Devil to Pay."

I found some of the excerpts of the book of interest:

A1 refers to a rating that was given by Lloyd's of London assigned to merchant ships in good shape.  Known as highest quality.  Of course, today, we know it as a steak sauce, but we all know that something A1 is good.

ALOOF--  comes from the Dutch word "loef" meaning windward.  A ship that stays windward of other ships sails alone or in the distance.

BALLAST is Old Teutonic language and means "belly load."  In nautical terms, it refers to cargo carried deep in the hold of a ship to increase stability and trim in the water.

BLACK BOOK refers to the the set of maritime traditions, rules and laws of the British Admiralty that were bound in a black leather book. (Nothing about a guy's little black book or is that little red book?)

Shiver Me Timbers!!  (Bet That Has to Do With a Storm Hitting a Ship.)  --Cooter

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Ten Unforgettable Stories That History Forgot

Well, mostly forgot.  Perhaps overlooked would be a better word.

From the December 27, 2010, Listverse.  As always, interesting bits of information with pictures.  I essentially just list them.

10.  CAHOKIA--  Indian city in Illinois near St. Louis.

9.  SULTANA--  April 27, 1865 (the 148th anniversary of it today) Worst maritime disaster in US history.  An estimated 1800 of 2,400 aboard the SS Sultana died.

8.  ZIRYAB--  Slave who changed society.

7.  PESHTIGO--  Wisconsin fire October 8, 1871.  Deaths from 1200 to 2500, many more that the Chicago Fire which took place on the same date and is much better known.

6.  GIL EANNES--  Passing the point of no-return, this Portuguese explorer was the first to cross the equator.

Well, I hadn't heard of #8 and #6.

Five More, Of Course.  --Cooter

Friday, April 26, 2013

Deaths: MASH-- Muppets


Died April 19th.  Played psychiatrist Dr. Sidney Freedman on TV series MASH from 1973 to 1983.  He didn't have a regular role, but made many appearances.  Didn't begin acting until his 40s and had a photography career before that.

His observations on the MASH group were always fun.  I like anything to do with this series.


Died April 2nd.  Jim Henson's wife and partner in the Muppets.  Met Jim while they were students at the University of Maryland in a puppetry class (guess that one paid off) in the mid-1950s.  Created the Jim Henson Legacy to preserve his artistry.  Love those Muppets, especially Oscar.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Seven Shakespeare Movie Adaptations

From the March 13, 2013, The Week "7 movies that are cleverly disguised Shakespeare adaptations" by Jillian Rayfield.

1.  WEST SIDE STORY (1961)--  Romeo and Juliet
2.  RAN (1985)--  King Lear
3.  MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO (1991)--  Henry IV, Henry V

4.  THE LION KING (1994)--  Hamlet
5.  10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU (1999)--  The Taming of the Shrew
6.  O (2001)--  Othello
7.  SHE'S THE MAN (2006)--  Twelfth Night

Well, I knew about the first one.

The Bard At the Movies.  --Cooter

The First St. Louisan Killed in World War I

From the Feb. 23, 2013, St. Louis (Mo) Post-Dispatch "A Look Back: First St. Louisan killed in World War I is still honored with a city park" by Tim O'Neil.

David Hickey was 38 (kind of old) when he volunteered for the Army in April 1917.  He was assigned to an artillery battery and sent to France to the village of Seichepray, near the slaughter house of Verdun.  And, this is where he died.

Back in St. Louis, he had been a paperboy and later worked in a shoe factory, the Post-Dispatch mail room and played on local amateur baseball teams.

Sad to be the First. 

Drinking in NC Back 100 Years Ago

From the Feb. 27, 2013, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then."

FEBRUARY 18, 1913--  Councilman Bernice C. Moore, in charge of Wilmington's Department of Safety, has about 1,000 bottles of whiskey stored at police headquarters that he got from Blind Tigers, "Before the term of the present city officials expire, Mr. Moore is going to do the Carrie Nation act and spill all this amount of the Oil of Joy.  He has selected the corner of Third and Princess streets as the scene of operations."

From the March 5, 2013, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then."

FEBRUARY 26, 1913--  Councilman Bernice C. Moore, head of the Department of Public Safety of Wilmington, went to Southport.  He had cleaned Wilmington of Blind Tigers and had come to do it there.

This guy seems to have been on quite the vendetta against drinking.  Of course, the question arises as to what a Blind Tiger was?

A BLIND TIGER, in case you're wondering, was an illegal bar selling alcohol during Prohibition.  North Carolina State Prohibition began in 1909.

Such a Waste.  --Cooter

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Even Back Then, Couples Had Their Problems: 1819

From the Encyclopedia of North Carolina.

From the March 4, 1819 Carolina Observer, now the Fayetteville (NC) Observer.


All persons are hereby warned not to credit my wife Rebecca, as I can not afford, and will not pay any debts of her contracting and will always plead this notice in my defence.

Simon Johnson,  His Mark X

Cumberland County March 4, 1819

You have to wonder if this ended in a divorce  (or if her credit cards were revoked).

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Flanders Cemeteries Being Repaired as Centennial of World War I Approaches

From the April 22, 2013, Huff Post : "WWI Centenary: Flanders Rushes To Repair Cemeteries Ahead Of Anniversary" by Don Melvin.

The Tyne Cot Cemetery in Zonnebeke, Belgium, has nearly 12,000 headstones and is where some of the war's worst carnage occurred.  But, nearly 100 years of weather has worn the surfaces so that names are hard to read and many of them are out of alignment.  Workers are using diamond drill bits to re-engrave the stones.

About 2,000 headstones will be replaced, landscaping renewed and trimmed.

Some of the gravestones are for unknowns, others have inscriptions like: "William John Dominey, 21st Bn, Canadian Infantry, 3rd/4th November 1917, Age 18."

The stone walls  at the top of the cemetery has the names of 35,000 British servicemen declared missing after  August 15, 1917.

The Right Thing to Do. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

What If New Zealand Had Not Fought in World War I?

From Voxy.co.uk.

Anzac Day is approaching (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), a historian is looking into what might have happened had the country stayed out of the war.

New Zealand sent 100,000 men to fight for Britain and 18,000 of those died.

It is hard to imagine the country not joining the war effort.  The country had already developed a strong sense of national identity. 

Many of New Zealand's casualties came at Gallipoli.

The efforts of New Zealand and Australia in the First World War are too often overlooked.  And for that matter, all the countries of the British Empire.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Canadian World War I Internment Camps

From the September 2, 2012, Spectrum "First World War internment camps a 'difficult scar' for Canadian Ukrainians" by Bill Graveland.

I didn't know about World War I internment camps and never would have guessed they had them in Canada.

Arrested, declared "enemy alien" and shipped off to do hard labor, more than 8,000 German, Austra-Hungarian and Turkish Canadians were put in the camps.  The Canadian government identified 80,000 as enemy aliens and 8.600 were sent to 24 internment camps.

Four of the camps were in the Canadian Rockies to which a majority of Ukranian descent people were sent.  This part of Canadian history has largely been overlooked.

The Harper government set up a $10 million Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund in 2008. 

More than 100 died in those four camps, six while trying to escape.

Little remains of the Castle Mountain Internment Camp in Banff National Park other than a commemorative sign, though it once held 660 prisoners under extremely harsh conditions.

Stuff I Didn't Know.  --Cooter

Friday, April 19, 2013

Deaths: One Mighty Funny Guy


Died April 11, 2013.  Noted for his "multitude of characters, breakneck improvisations and kinetic clownishness."

A pioneer in improvisational stand-up comedy with a "gift for mimicry, a grab bag of eccentric personalities" and, of course, all that energy.

I always though that Robin Williams might have been his son.  You know where Williams got his thing.

Really Funny Guy.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Railroads in McHenry County (Illinois) Part 6

There were also some railroads in northern Illinois called Granger Railroads because the farmer organization called the Grange owned them.

By 1900, McHenry County was served by four railroad lines.

In 1901, the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad became the Milwaukee Line.

I'd never heard of "Juice Lines" which were mentioned by Mr. Pfanncuche.  These are classified as second rate lines built not to carry freight, but passengers.  Examples were the North Shore and South Shore lines.

The Elgin and Belvidere also went through Union and Marengo.  Today, the Illinois Railroad Museum uses its track.

Then, there was the Harvard and Lake Geneva Electric Railroad and the Woodstock and Sycamore Tractor(?) Railroad.

Still a Little More Information to Go.  --DaCoot

Deaths: Mr. TV


Died Jan. 29, 2012.

Director of many episodes of "All in the Family," including the one with the famous kiss from Sammy Davis, Jr.  He received an Emmy for that one.  he also received an Emmy for his work on the "Dick Van Dyke Show"

Had a 50 year Hollywood career and appeared on "Gunsmoke" and "Bonanza."

He also directed episodes or pilots of:

Twilight Zone
Mr. Ed
Gomer Pyle, USMC
Gilliagan's Island
Brady Bunch
Good Times
Barney Miller

I'd never heard of him, but sure have heard about these shows.  A great one.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Railroads in McHenry County (Illinois)-- Part 5

Fresh milk was delivered on what was called Milk Trains.  Metra still has one Milk Train.  Fresh milk went to Chicago and empty milk cans came back.  Every farmer had their own way of marking their cans.

Railroads were built to Crystal Lake, but due to a conflict with certain people downtown, the railroad went through a mile and a half to the north of the downtown. Have train, people will come.

Railroads don't like hills and in the village of McHenry there is only one hill along the path where the railroad was eventually built.  That was at a place called Dark Cut which was hand-shoveled by Irish immigrants from 1853-1854.  It is just north of Highway 176.

The railroad coming to McHenry caused the formation of the town of West McHenry.

Eventually, all the McHenry railroads became a part of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad in 1862.

Steam Engines Down the Tracks.  --Cooter

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Railroads in McHenry County (Illinois)-- Part 4

In 1854 there came the Fox Valley Railroad.  A man named Ayers began buying up land along what he thought would be the route.  he wanted to know where the two railroads would cross.  When he found out, he really started buying land around what is today Harvard and is responsible for founding that town.

The Fox Valley Railroad was built to aid the farmers in McHenry County in moving their products to market: wheat, milk and cheese primarily.  Soon beer and alcohol entered the equation as back then Chicago had 138 breweries in the 1850s to 1870s.  The trains would take grain from McHenry County (and hops from Wisconsin) to be brewed.

A Give me a Beer and be Done With It.  --DaCoot

Railroads in McHenry County (Illinois)-- Part 3

The first railroad in McHenry County came in 1855 and was the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad.  Galena had the lead deposits and was considered to be THE CITY in Illinois at the time.  However, Chicago's William Butler Ogden decided he wanted his town to be number one and started building railroads westward to insure that came to be.

Only, he decided not to use his own money as he headed westward.  He went to farmers along the projected path and asked them for money to fund it., telling them it would be a great way to get their dairy products to market both cheaply and quickly.

The line was built to Turner Junction and then headed northwest to Elgin, Carpentersville, Algonquin and Crystal Lake.  However, there was a problem at Crystal Lake as the Chicago St Paul and Fondulac Railroad was fast approaching that place.  This line had been built as an alternative to Lake Michigan which was always frozen over in the winter.

There was a race to get to a bridge just east of that town.

In 1852, the first tracks were laid to Union and Marengo.  From Marengo, the railroad followed along the Old U.S. Military Trail that ran from there to Galena and had been used during the Black Hawk War.  Today, US-20 (The U.S. Grant Highway) runs along it.

"Pounding Spikes" As Frank Would Say.  --Cooter

Monday, April 15, 2013

Railroads in McHenry County (Il)-- Part 2

I must say that Mr. Pfannkuche knows his stuff.

Railroads in McHenry County.

The Fox River Valley Railroad went between Elgin, Illinois, and Walworth County, Wisconsin.  The KD Line went from Kenosha, Wisconsin to Genoa Junction (now Genoa City), Wisconsin, then to Hebron/Alden and then west to Rockford.

The first McHenry County residents in the 1830s came here to be self-sufficient farmers.  Once they had established themselves and grew enough for their own consumption, thoughts then turned to cash crops.  With the wonderful soil and fairly flat vistas in the county, the first big cash crop was wheat.  And that all worked out perfectly for new technology such as the McCormick Reaper.

Sadly, wheat rust came and destroyed the crop, so the farmers turned to something else that grew well, hay grasses, the feed of cattle and that caused dairy farming to become king.  Only, they needed a way to get this product, with its limited shelf-life to market.

It was a very opportune time for the arrival of trains and railroads.

Gail Borden built his milk condensing plant in Elgin and from there his condensed milk was sent all over the United States and the world.

A Milk a Day.  --DaCoot

Railroads in McHenry County (Il)-- Part 1

Saturday, since we didn't go out to the Spring Football game at NIU, I was able to go to this presentation of the McHenry Area Historical Society given at the McHenry Savings Bank.  Presenter was Craig Pfannkuche, Mr. History, when it comes to local county stuff here. 

And, as it turns out, he is very active with the Chicago and Northwestern Historical Society where he is their genealogical archivist.  This is one of the railroads in the Chicago area.  He says they have a huge collection of maps and personnel information.  You can go to their site at www.cnwhs.org.

When we lived in Palatine, Illinois, this is the railroad line that served the northwest suburbs and my dad used to take it back and forth to his job at Quaker Oats in the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.

I did not know Craig, but did know his wife who was library director when I was on the board in Round Lake.  He taught history.  They are both retired now.

I was able to talk with him before the program and he told me about getting a chance to tour the upstairs of the Mineola Hotel on Fox Lake, something I sure would have liked to do.  The hotel has been closed for a long time, but until last year the bar at ground level was open, before the mayor made the owner close it down.  He agrees that the building is beyond saving.  It would cost a million alone just to scrape off the lead paint.

More to Come.  --Cooter

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Getting My History On

In a few minutes I'll be heading out to McHenry, Illinois, to go to the McHenry Historical Society's meeting and presentation on the role of trains in the town's development.

Railroads were a huge reason pretty much every town around Chicago grew.  You can trace town development right along the tracks.

Railroads were a reason for why McHenry had three "downtowns" at one time or another.

Originally, I was figuring I'd miss this presentation as we originally were going to go to Dekalb, for the NIU Spring Football Game, but it is way too cold outside to sit in the stands.

Should Be Interesting.  --Cooter

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Real Short History of the Medal of Honor-- Part 3

World War II had the most Medals of Honor since the Civil War, with 464.  Recipients Jimmy Doolittle, Audie Murphy and John Basilone became household names.  A total of 262 were awarded posthumously.

The Korean War had the highest percentage of posthumous medals with 97 of the 135 being awarded that way.

The Vietnam War listed one winner, Michael Thornton, who received his for saving the life of another winner, Thomas Norris.

It wasn't until last year that there was another living recipient, Sgt. Salvatore Giunta.

In the Global War on Terrorism, 4 have received their Medals of Honor from the War in Iraq and 3 from Afghanistan.  Dozens of Navy and Distinguished Service crosses have been given in these wars as well.  Criteria for MoH nomination is even higher now.

In 2000, twenty Distinguished Service Crosses were upgrade to MoH for the Japanese-Americans of the 442nd Infantry who were originally denied them because of their ancestry.  Also, Distinguished Service crosses to Jewish Americans during World War I will also be examined.

Making It Right.  The Bravest of the Brave.

Twenty Natural Wonders That Didn't Make It-- Part 2

11.  Mt. Kilamanjaro--  Tanzania
12.  Islands of Maldives--  Indian Ocean
13.  Masurian Lake District--  Poland

14.  Matterhorn
15.  Milford Sound--  New Zealand
16.  Mud Volcanoes--  Azerbaijan
17.  Sandarbans--  Bangladesh and India

18.  Urulu--  Australia
19.  Vesuvius--  Italy
20.  Yushan-- Taiwan

There You Have It.  --Cooter

Twenty Natural Wonders of the World That Didn't Make It-- Part 1

From the Dec. 13, 2011, Listverse "20 Natural Wonders That Didn't Make It"

Well, at least I've heard of some of these.  Again, I imagine we had "Ballot Stuffing" via internet.

1.  Angel Falls-- Venezuela
2.  Black Forest--  Germany
3.  Bu Tinah Islands--  U.A.E.

4.  Cliffs of Moher--  Ireland
5.  Dead Sea
6.  El Yunque--  Puerto Rico
7.  Galapagos Islands

8.  Grand Canyon
9.  The Great Barrier Reef
10. Jeito Grotto--  Lebanon

Ten More to Go.  --DaCoot

Original Seven Natural Wonders and New Natural Wonders of the World

From the Dec. 13, 2011, Listverse 20 Natural Wonders That Didn't Make the Cut."


Grand Canyon
Great Barrier reef
Rio de Janeiro Harbor
Mount Everest
Aurora Borealis
Paricutin Volcano
Victoria Falls


Some 100 million votes were cast.  I think somebody must have been "stuffing" the internet.

Amazon River
Halong Bay
Iquazu Falls
Jeju Island
Komodi island
Puerto Princessa Underground River
Table Mountain

Well, I've heard of the first one.  That's it.

Out With the Old, In With the New.  Right.  --Cooter

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Real Short History of the Medal of Honor-- Part 2

By 1897 there were new standards for receiving the medal, requiring eye-witness testimony.

Shortly before World War I, General Nelson Miles, a Civil War recipient, had an inquiry into the 2,600 given to date.  And, 910 were rescinded.

Entering World War I, only "action beyond the call of duty" would be the criteria for one.  Congress then created the Distinguished Service Cross and the Navy Cross for acts of courage not justifying a Medal of Honor (MoH).

In World War I, America got its first genuine celebrity MoH winner and that would be one Alvin York, a conscientious objector from rural Tennessee.

Sgt. York, a corporal at the time, took out 35 German machine gun nests, then killed six enemy soldiers with his pistol.  Then he and trhe seven surviving members of his unit captured 132 prisoners.

World War II Up Next.  --DaCoot

World War I Trench Survey in Scotland

From the February 8, 2013, Scotsman "Edinburgh First World War trench survey begins" by Dawn Morrison.

Almost all of the World War I trenches in France have been destroyed, but, a trench system built in Scotland in Dreghorn Woods, Colinton still exist. And a survey costing 10,000 pounds is underway with thoughts of preservation.

These trenches were almost forgotten and have since been overgrown with trees and brush.  Experts in military archaeology are using state of the art surveying equipment and GPS.

It was built by the 16th Battalion, The Royal Scots, before they shipped off to Europe.  Since none of the fighting took place in Scotland, these were strictly practice trenches.  They were built zig-zagged so that bullets and shrapnel would have less space to cover.

A Great Thing With the Centennial of the War Coming Next Year.  --Cooter

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Real Short History of the Medal of Honor-- Part 1

From the December 21, 2011, Times Battlefield "The Medal of Honor: 150 Years of Valor" by Nate Rawlings.

In 1861, Iowa Senator James Grimes proposed a medal to honor Navy personnel for bravery.  Abraham Lincoln signed it into law on December 21, 1861.  The next summer, 1862, he signed another bill allowing one for the Army to honor those who "most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action and other soldier-like qualities."

Since the Civil War, some 40 million have served and only 3,500 have received a Medal of Honor (and most of them during the Civil War when criteria was much lower when it was the only medal for valor.

Today, the criteria for a Medal of Honor has changed.  Two of them are being given to living military personnel this year.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Some Other Items That Went Down With the Titanic

856 rolls of linoleum
1 case of cretonne
1 case of auto parts
41 cases of filter paper
76 cases of dragon's blood
15 cases of rabbit hair
1 barrel of earth
1 case of Edison Gramophones
2 barrels of mercury

Now, I'll need to find out what dragon's blood is.

Down She Goes.  --Cooter

Ten Lesser-Known Items Aboard the Titanic-- Part 2

5.  Elbo Bagpipes owned by 3rd class passenger Eugene Daly.  he was standing by where the officer shot two men trying to board a lifeboat (before shooting himself)  Daly jumped in the water and made it to a collapsible boat and was saved by the Carpathia.  He kept his coat he was wearing for good luck.  (Wonder if he bought some more bagpipes?)

4.  Marmalade Machine for fruit preserves owned by Edwina Trout, 2nd Class.  She claims to have heard the ship's band playing "Nearer My God to Thee."  In Lifeboat #16.  As she boarded, a man handed her his child and begged her to save its life.  She did.  She later filed a 8s 5d claim for the Marmalade Machine.

3.  One case of film for the New York Motion Picture Company.  They were, of course, silent films.

2.  The perfume of 1st Class passenger Adolphe Saalfeld, a perfume maker.  Sixty-five vials of different perfumes.  In the smoking room and saw the iceberg when the ship hit it.  In 2001 his satchel was brought up and some of the vials still had a smell.  Survived in Lifeboat #3.

1.  Manuscript of "Karain: A Memory" by Joseph Conrad which was in the mail room.  This was a percussor of "Lord Jim."  Conrad's third short story.  (Hope he had the rough draft.)

Delivery Guaranteed?  --DaCoot

Ten Lesser-Known Items on the Titanic-- Part 1

From the Nov. 4, 2011, Listverse.

At the time, we were 5 months from the 100th anniversary of the sinking.  It took itself and those people to the bottom, but also some other stuff along with a Renault automobile owned by William Custer.

That date, again, April 12, 1912.  Hey, we're just a few days away from the 101st anniversary.

For pictures and more information, check the site.

10.  Coney Skins--  three cases of rabbit skins used to line clothing and children's coats.

9.  Four cases of opium

8.  Chow dog belonging to Harry Anderson.  A fifty dollar claim was put in for it.  Eight of 12 dogs aboard didn't make it.

7.  A signed picture of Garibaldi owned by Emilio Portaluppi.  He was one of the four fortunate people to be e\rescued from the water.  He put in a $3,000 claim for it.

6.  The college lecture notes of survivor Sidney Collett who put in a $50 claim.

Five More At the Bottom.  --Cooter

Monday, April 8, 2013

In Memory of Martin Luther King Jr-- Part 4

10.  THE MISSING PRESIDENT.  Although Johnson declared a national day of mourning, he didn't attend the funeral.  Because of the controversy surrounding the Vietnam War, he made few public appearances in 1968.  Vice President Hubert Humphrey went in his place.

11.  THE MOTEL-TURNED-MUSEUM  The Lorraine Motel is now part of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.  Visitors can see the room preserved behind glass where King was staying along with the balcony where he was shot and the courtyard.

12.  THE FINAL WISHES  During the first funeral, mourners heard a recording of the last sermon King delivered in his church.  He spoke about how he would like to be remembered at his funeral:  "I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others. ...I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity."

A Great Man.

In Memory of Martin Luther King Jr-- Part 3

7.  THE SANITATION WORKERS STRIKE continued on after the assassination.On April 8th, King's widow, Coretta Scott King, SCLC and union leaders led a march of 42,000 people through Memphis.  On April 16th,a negotiated deal was made and the city recognized the union and workers were guaranteed a better wage.

8.  THE U2 LYRICS  in the song "Pride (In the Name of Love" by U2, commemorates the assassination: "Early morning, April 4/Shot rings out in the Memphis sky."  Actually that's a mistake as the assassination took place in the early evening.

9.  THE WORDS AND MUSIC THAT STOPPED THE RIOTS.  Sadly, in the aftermath of the assassination, riots erupted in cities across the country.  A speech in Indianapolis by Robert Kennedy is widely credited with preventing a riot there.  A concert by James Brown in Boston is believed to have a calming effect.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

In Memory of Martin Luther King Jr.-- Part 2

4.  THE MYSTERIOUS "RAOUL":  James Earl Ray, King's killer, implicated a man named "Raoul" in the assassination, claiming to have been framed by him.  "Raoul" was never found.

5.  THE FUNERALS:  On April 9th, thousands of mourners followed a mule-drawn wooden wagon carrying King's coffin through the streets of Atlanta after the first funeral, at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was once minister.

The second service was a public one at Morehouse College, King's alma mater.

6.  THE RECORD-SETTING INVESTIGATION:  The investigation that led to James Earl Ray's arrest was the largest at the time in FBI history.  Agents and Memphis police found that Ray, a 40-year-old escaped convict, had registered April 4th at a boarding house with a view of the Lorraine Motel.

In Memory of Martin Luther King Jr.-- Part 1

From the April 4, 2013, Chicago Tribune "In memory of a civil rights icon."

King was killed April 4, 1968, 45 years ago.  Here are 12 details about his death and aftermath from Stanford University's Martin Luther King Jr. research and Education Institute.

1.  THE CITY:  King, 39, was in Memphis preparing for a march in support of striking sanitation workers.  In February, two garbage collectors were crushed by a malfunctioning truck, which caused the strike.

2.  THE LAST TO SEE HIM:  The evening of April 4th, King planned to have dinner with ministers Samuel Billy Kyles and Ralph Abernathy.  They were at the Lorraine Motel when King was shot and remained at his side at the hospital where he died.

3.  THE DAY OF MOURNING:  President Lyndon Johnson ordered a national day of mourning April 7th.  museums, business schools closed and the 40th Annual Academy Awards was rescheduled to April 10th.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Some More on the Big US "Oops!": Two Nuclear Bombs Come Down in Wayne County, NC-- Part 2

The plane literally broke apart and there was wreckage spread over a two square mile area near Goldsboro.

The two nuclear bombs separated from the plane as it broke up.  Five of the six arming mechanisms on one activated, causing it to take steps to arm itself.  It parachuted to the ground.  See picture.

The second hit a muddy field at around 700 miles per hour and essentially disintegrated.  Its tail was discovered 20 feet deep.  Efforts to get its uranium out failed and it was left where it was (which is very disconcerting).

Each bomb possessed 250 times more destructive power than the Hiroshima bomb and an effective kill zone of 17 miles.

On July 2012, a North Carolina historical marker was erected at the town of Eureka, 3 miles north of the crash site.  The title on the sign?  "Nuclear Mishap."

Like I Said, "Oops!"  --DaCoot

Some More on the Big US "Oops!": Two Nuclear Bombs Come Crashing Down in Wayne County, NC-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Sure would have liked to have gone to Mr. Dobson's talk on March 9th at the Wayne County Museum.

1961 Goldsboro B-52 Crash.

I just remembered we were living in Greenville, NC, at the time, probably about 20-25 miles from the site.  That would have been one intense thing for us.

A B-52 Stratofortress carrying two Mark 39 bombs, broke up in mid-air dropping its nuclear payload in the process.  Five crew members survived parachuting, another was killed in the process of parachuting and two others died in the crash.

The plane was on a 24-hour "coverall" airborne alert mission on the Atlantic seaboard when it happened.  During a mid-air refueling, the tanker plane observed a leak in the B-52's right wind and broke off fueling.  The leak got worse and the plane was ordered to land at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldboro.

More to Come.  --Cooter

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Duck and Cover Back in the '60s

I remember back in grade school having practice for possible nuclear disaster occuring while our young selves were in school.

We were instructed to get under our desks and assume the head down, butt in the air position.  I'm just so positive this would have saved my young life had one of those nuclear bombs gone off a few hundred yards or even several miles away.

Of course, talk about your childhood trauma, even just having to practice for it.  I tell you it's a wonder all of us didn't have mental problems about it.  And worse of all, we could not have contacted our parents on our cell phones to say, "So Long Mom, I'm Off to Be Obliterated."

And no one could have texted their friends or uploaded to You Tube.

I Tell You, It's More Than a Child Should Have to Deal With!!  Wonder What Tom Lehrer Would Have Said?  --Cooter

Wayne County's Close Call With Nuclear Disaster-- Part 2: New Meaning to "Big Bang"

From the Wayne County Museum pamphlet.

"Joel Dobson will speak about the January 24th 1961 crash of a nuclear weapons-equipped B-52 bomber in northeastern Wayne County.  One bomb was fully recovered but the bomb disposal unit could not locate the uranium of the second device.  Each bomb was 250 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb and, if detonated, would have killed all people within a seventeen mile radius.

Mr. Dobson is author of "The Goldsboro Broken Arrow."  Signed copies will be available for purchase."

That would be an interesting book.  I had just heard of this incident in passing and would have liked to see the presentation, but it was March 9th and I wasn't there.

Couldn't you have imagined a local resident waking up in the morning and finding a bomb that size in his back yard.  Wonder what his first words would have been?

"I've Told That Neighbor Time and Again Not to Go Dropping His Stuff in My Yard!!"  --DaCoot

Wayne County's Close Call With Nuclear Disaster-- Part 1

From a Wayne County Museum, Goldsboro, NC, pamphlet.

Not only does the building date from World War II, when it served as a USO Club for servicemen, especially from Seymour Johnson Air Base, but it has a great collection for a county museum (including a scale model of the Civil War Battle of Goldsboro Bridge) and always an interesting series of cultural events.

We saw the presentation on the Tuscarora Indians on my first Sunday in town (and written about in this blog), but also other presentations of interest.

One took place March 9th "Wayne County's Close Call With Nuclear Disaster."  Now, if that doesn't draw your attention, I don't know what will.

Ducking and Covering!  --Cooter

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ten Things You Might Not Know About World War I-- Part 4

9.  Approximately 30 different poisonous gasses were used .  Soldiers were told to hold a urine-soaked cloth  over their faces in case of an emergency.  By 1918, gas masks with filter respirators were used.  At the end of the war, many countries signed treaties banning the use.

10.  World War I also marked the first widespread use of machine guns.  Hiram Maxim patented the weapon in the U.S. in 1884.  His Maxim machine gun weighed 100 pounds, was water-cooled and could fire 450-600 rounds per minute.  Most of the machine guns used in the war were of Maxim design.

The Gas Mask Had to Be a HUGE Improvement.  --DaCoot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About World War I-- Part 3

7.  Submarines made their first major impact on this war.  German U-Boats operated mostly on the surface, but submerged to attack.  Germany's open submarine warfare was a major factor in the U.S. joining the war on the Allied side, especially after the RMS Lusitania was sunk.

8.  France, not Germany, was the first country to use tear gas against enemy troops.  In August 1914they fired the first gas grenade (xylyl bromide) against German troops

In January 1915, Germans used tear gas against Russian troops, but the gas turned to liquid in the cold air.  In April 1915, Germans fired off the first poisonous chlorine gas.

Two More to Come.  --Cooter

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ten Things You Might Not Know About World War I-- Part 2

3.  Russia mobilized 12 million in its military, the largest of the war.  More than 3/4 ended up killed, wounded or missing.

4.  Dogs were used as messengers and also laid down telegraph lines.

5.  The most successful aviation fighter pilot was Baron von Richtofen (1892-1918) who shot down 80 Allied planes.  France's Rene Fonck (1894-1953) had the most success on the other side with 75 confirmed kills.

6.  To  increase the size of the US Army during the war, Congress passed the Selective Service Act in May 1917.  By the end of the war, 2.7 million men had been drafted.  Another 1.3 million volunteered.

Four More to Come.  --Cooter