Saturday, August 31, 2013

Eleven Galenians Enlist in Marines on August 26, 1953-- Part 3: Jim Rosenthal

I did some research on Jim Rosenthal and found out he had died January 5, 2010, in Virginia Beach, Virginia at age 74. He retired as a lt.col. after 31 years of service in the Corps. /// He was born in Sioux City, Iowa and was a native of Galena. This from his obituary in the Hi-Desert Star. ///

Eleven Galenians Enlist in the USMC on August 26, 1953-- Part 2

Joe Greibe says they chose to enlist at the Dubuque, Iowa, post office, because they wanted to do their basic training in San Diego, California. In those days, men who enlisted west of the Mississippi River went there. Those east of the river went to Quantico, Virginia, (I thought that would be Parris Island, SC.) /// No dount these eleven new Marines sure made some enlistment officer's quota for the month. The following day, they went to Des Moines, Iowa, for physicals. All passed except Jim Rosenthal who had a back problem. /// A month later, Jim had a second physical, this time in Chicago, and passed. Of interest, Jim Rosenthal was the only one of the group who made a career with the Marines, serving 30 years. /// All made it home safely after their service, although some have since died. I wish there had been more to the story of these men, especially if they served together and experiences they had. /// Quite a Story.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Eleven Galenians Enlist in USMC on August 26, 1953-- Part 1

From the August 21, 2013, Galena (Ill) Gazette Opinions by P. Carter Newton, publisher. /// This was accompanied by a photo of the 11 in civilian clothes, probably taken at the time. I would have liked to see a picture of them in Marine uniforms and one of the ones still alive taken from now. /// "For a group of Galena men, some of whom are now deceased, August 26, 1953, 60 years ago, was a significant life-changing event. /// That's the day Charles 'Chick' Schleicher, Jim Rosenthal, Wayne Holland, George Kenyon, Guy Crow, John Miller, Don Curley, Don Bohnsack, Joe Greibe, Bob Green and Jim Piquette crossed the Mississippi River and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps." /// I would imagine they were all recent high school graduates and friends. The Korean War was still on at the time with the Marines doing a lot of the fighting. /// A Few Good Men, No Doubt. --DaCoot

The Last Big Baseball Scandal-- Part 2: "Say It Ain't So, Joe"

The young boy came up to "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, according to a reporter, looked at the baseball star and asked, "It ain't true, is it, Joe?" /// "Yes, kid, I'm afraid it is," Joe supposedly answered. /// Of course now, it is, "Say it ain't so, Joe." /// Years afterwards, Joe Jackson claimed this never happened. Today, many baseball scholars say the story was fabricated by a reporter as there were lax journalistic standards back then. /// Jackson had just confessed to a grand jury that he had gotten stiffed by a former teammate of $20,000 he was supposed to get for his part in the throwing of the 1919 World Series. "All I got was $5,000 that Lefty Williams handed me in a dirty envelope." /// Say It Ain't So. --Cooter

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Comparing Lincoln to King on the 50th of "I Have a Dream"

From the August 28, 2013, USA Today. USA Snapshots "'Dream' speeched echoed Lincoln"/// "Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech, delivered 50 years ago today-- came 100 years after President Lincoln's famous speech (at Gettysburg). Here's how they compare. Gettysburg first, Dream second: SPEAKER: Lincoln /// King---- YEAR: 1863 /// 1963---- NUMBER OF WORDS: 272 /// 1652---- TIME: 3 minutes /// 17 minutes---- OPENING LINE: "Four score and seven years ago...." /// "Five score years ago, a great American signed the Emancipation Proclamation."

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Going Out for a Real Slice of History

The next few days, to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, which is today, we are going out to "The Town That History Forgot." And, that would be Galena, Illinois, near the Mississippi River on the tributary Galena River./// At one time it was even bigger than Chicago and seemed destined to be Illinois' big city until the lead played out. That left the downtown essentially unchanged since the 1840s./// It was just starting to get "discovered" by people back on this date in 1973, when Liz and I went to it for our honeymoon after getting married in Dekalb, Illinois, earlier in the day./// We're going back. --Cooter

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Last Big Baseball Scandal-- Part 1: "Say It Ain't So, Joe"

From the August 11, 2013, Chucago Tribune Chicago Flashback "Benchmark Scandal" by Ron Grossman. /// The week previous, Alex Rodriguez of the (hated) NY Yankees and 12 other major leaguers were suspended for using ability-enhancing drugs, most of them for fifty games, but Rodriguez for 211. All forfeit their salaries during that time (for A-Rod that is $31 million). /// But, this is not the first big MLB scandal. Unfortunately, the first one involved my team, the Chicago White Sox back in 1919, when they were on the cusp of having a dynasty like the one the Yankees started in the 1920s. /// That team became known as the Chicago Black Sox and involved one of the greatest players the game has ever known, the A-Rod of his day, one Joe Jackson, also referred to as "Shoeless" Joe Jackson for his country upbringing. /// Say It, Joe. --DaCoot

TV: Better in Reruns Than Originally Aired

From the August 18, 2013, Parade Magazine Personality Parade. The question was "Have any shows done better in syndication than when originally aired?" by Matt Coon./// ANSWER, YES: Neither "The Honeymooners" nor "Star Trek" ranked among the top 15 shows when they first aired. Both were wildly successful and built their following through reruns./// Then, the magazine wanted to know the readers' favorite reruns at I liked both of these series on reruns, even though I never had the chance to see The Honeymooners as my parents didn't watch Jackie Gleason and we only had one TV. I didn't watch Star Trek until I was a freshman in college. That brought back memories. I'll write about them today in my Down Da Road Blog./// Beam Me Up!! --Cooter

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New York's General Slocum Disaster

From Wikipedia// Yesterday, I wrote about New York City's North Brother Island and mentioned the General Slocum disaster taking place by it. The General Slocum was a passenger steamboat built in Brooklyn 1891 and used for excusrsions. During its career, it experienced numerous mishaps including groundings and collisions.// On June 15, 1905 it caught fire and sank in New York's East River by Norther Brother Island. At the time it was chartered by the St. Mark (or Matthew) Evangelical Lutheran Church (German-Americans). It is estimated that 1,021 of the 1,342 aboard died from the fire or drowning with all sorts of glaring problems with the ship./// It was the city's worst disaster until 9-11 and still ranks as worst maritime disaster. Cooter

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New York's Forgotten Island

AP and Wikipedia. Now abandoned North Brother Island is located in the East River between the Bronx and Rikers Island in New York City. It was once home to the Riverside Hospital and Typhoid Mary, who lived there for the last two decades of her life until she died in 1938. It is also the site of the wreck of the steamer General Slocum in which over 1000 people died in 1904, New York's worst disaster until 9-11; still its worst maritime disaster. There is a picture of bodies from the ship washed up on the island's shore. There are few food sources for land animals on the island, but it is a haven for birds and is a bird sanctuary. The island was uninhabited until 1885, when the Riverside Hospital moved there. After the hospital moved, it became temporary housing for World War II veterans attending local colleges and then in the 50s became a drug rehabilitation center. Today, it is just sitting there abandoned. --DaCoot

Magna Carta Coming to the U.S.-- Part 2

Apparently, the Magna Carta is still on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.. The copy of the Magna Carta in the United States is written on parchment and has been stripped of previous repairs and treated with new techniques to insure its survival. It is now kept in an air-tight, sealed case. This copy also had previously been on display while on loan to the National Archives, but had been put up for sale in December 2007. Billionaire philanthropist David Rubenstein bought it, one of only 17 existing copies of the Magna Carta, for $21.3 million at auction and gave it back to the country. He also donated $13.5 million for the document's new showroom, multi-media kiosk and new exhibit gallery. The Magna Carta was very influential in the thinking of American founding fathers and inspired provisions in the Constitution. Thanks, Mr. Rubenstein. --DaCoot

Monday, August 19, 2013

Magna Carta Coming to the United States (2012)-- Part 1

From Feb. 3, 2012, AP. A copy of England's Magna Carta, a manuscript setting out the rights of man (well, the rights of the aristocracy) is set to be displayed in Washington, DC at the United Staes National Archives starting February 17th after years of restoration work. (I saw a copy in England that was so faded, it was pretty much unreadable). The English barons forced King John to sign it in 1215 and it was confirmed by English Law in 1297. The copy being displayed in Washington is one of four copies made in 1297 and bearing the seal of King Edward I in 1297. Two are in Britain and one in Australia. --Cooter

Saturday, August 17, 2013

So, What Exactly Is a Hoya?

From the Georgetown Athletic Site. While on the subject of Georgetown University, I have often wondered where they got the nickname of Hoyas? And, what exactly is a hoya? I knew their mascot is a bulldog (perhaps based on Sgt. Stubby). What is a Hoya? Back in the day, students were required to study Greek and Latin. Supposedly a student used the Greek and Latin term "Hoya Saxa" cheer at athletic competitions. Loosely translated, it means "What Rocks?" It became popular and was adopted by the student biody. Jack the Bulldog is the mascot, but from now on I'll call him Sgt. Stubby. DaCoot

Sgt. Stubby: One Decorated Dog-- Part 3

After the war, Sgt. Stubby was marched in many parades. Everyone wanted to see the hero dog they had read so much about in the newspapers. He met presidents Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge and Warren G. Harding. Starting in 1921, Sgt. Stubby attended Georgetown University Law Center with master Robert Conroy and became the football team's mascot. Stubby would be given the football at half time and he'd entertain the audience by pushing the ball around the field. When he died in 1926, he was stuffed and currently on display at the Price of Freedom: Americans At War exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.. Some to See in D.C.. Cooter

Sgt. Stubby: One Decorated Dog-- Part 2

Sergeant Stubby was a stray Boston terrier who appeared at Yale Field in New Haven, Ct., when it was being used to train soldiers. He continued to hand around and Corporal Robert Conroy developed a fondness for him. When the unit shipped off, he hid Stubby on the troopship. A story has it that when Stubby was discovered by the unit's commander that he saluted the officer as he had learned at camp. The officer was so impressed that he allowed Stubby to remain with the unit. The 102nd Infantry of the 26th (Yankee) Division spent 18 months in France's trenches. During that time, Stubby was gassed once and learned to alert his unit when it was being used. One Smart Dog. --DaCoot

Sergeant Stubby: One Decorated Dog-- Part 1

From Wikipedia. Last week I wrote about pit bulls and came across two from the Civil War and one who was promoted to sergeant during World War I. That one's name is Sgt. Stubby. Born in 1916-1917-April 4, 1926. The most decorated dog of World War I and only dog ever promoted to sergeant through combat. Sgt. Stubby served 18 months and participated in 17 battles on the Western Front. One of his fortes was saving his regiment from surprise mustard gas attacks. He also found and comforted wounded from his regiment and once even caught a German spy by the seat of his pants, holding him until American soldiers arrived. Every American newspaper covered his exploits back home. Cooter

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Second USS New York

Built in 1800, it was a three-masted, wooden-hulled, sailing frigate built by the state for the federal government through public subscription by the citizens of New York. It was 145 feet long and participated in the Quasi War with France. It had a crew of 340 and mounted 26X18-pdr. guns and 20X32-pdr carronades. It served in the Caribbean and then sent to the Barbary Coast in 1802. From 1803 to 1814 it was in ordinary in Washington Navy Yard and burned by the British when they captured Washington D.C. in the War of 1812. Cooter

Monday, August 12, 2013

The First USS New York-- Part 3

One source said the New York was the only American warship to survive the Battle of Valcour Island and that it was stationed off Fort Ticonderoga until it fell in July 1777 and after that, the ship disappeared from history. Another source said the New York was burned two days after the battle to prevent capture. In 1910, the New York's stern was unearthed while digging a canal at Whitehall, New York. Experts are not sure how it came to be there. Tghe exploded cannon was recovered recently. The stern and cannon fragment are now on display at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. I believe I also read that a full-size replica of the USS Philadelphia is also there, which would give a good idea of what the first New York looked like. Cooter

The First USS New York-- Part 2

The New York was a sister ship of the USS Philadelphia which was sunk at the Battle of Valcour Island on October 11, 1776, along with much of the American fleet. The New York escaped. The Philadelphia was raised in 1935 and its remains can be seen at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.. Another of the gondolas sunk at the battle, the USS Spitfire, has recently been located. The New York was built at Skenesborough (now Whitehall), NY, at Lake Champlain's southern tip. Along with its three guns, it also mounted eight swivel guns. One of the guns exploded and killed Lt. Thomas Rogers and caused the ship to lose all of its officers except the captain. DaCoot

The First USS New York-- Part 1

The newest USS New York (LPD-21) was commissioned in 2009 and is classified as an amphibious transport dock. Of interest is that much of the ship's bow is constructed of metal from the World Trade Center. The papers at the time had much information about the previous U.S. Navy ships by that name. The very first one was a gondola in the Lake Champlain fleet under the command of Benedict Arnold, generally regarded as the first American fleet, built in 1776. The USS New York was classified as a gondola (gundola) and was flat-bottomed, 53 feet long and 15 feet wide, crewed by 45 men and mounting three guns (one 12-pdr. and two 9-pdrs.) Cooter

Thursday, August 8, 2013

John William Dunjee: President Tyler's Son?

Wikipedia. Back on July 29th, while writing about two of Tyler's grandchildren still being alive, I mentioned that he might have fathered a child named John Dunjee with a slave. The article says he was an American missionary, educator, Baptist minister and founder of Baptist churches. He was born a slave in Virginia to his owners, the Farrel family. Dinjee's family has always asserted that his father was John Tyler and his mother one of the Farrell slaves. In 1859, he learned that the Farrels were going to move to Alabama and take him. Not wanting to go, he escaped and took the Underground Railroad to Canada. After the Civil War, Dunjee returned to the United States and studied at the Maine Seminary and Oberlin College in Ohio. As a Baptist minister, he started churches from New England to the South to the Midwest. He also established several black colleges. I was unable to learn more about his relationship to President Tyler. Quite a Man, Regardless. Perhaps It's Time for a Movie?

Pit Bulls Up Close and Personal

Back in the early 80s, we had some friends who had two pit bulls. The male was a big black and white one named Brutus and the female a brindle named Venus. I didn't like or trust Venus as she looked like she could be mean, although I never saw it. However, as big and solid as Brutus was, he was nothing more than a big-lug scaredy cat. He thought he was a lap dog and if he jumped into your lap and clipped you with his really hard head, you were in for some pain. And, you didn't want to be around him in a storm or fireworks. Thunder sent him trying to prove how close a dog and human really could get. Venus and Brutus had one litter of pups and they kept one woth the same markings as Brutus that they named Radar, who, while lovable, had to have been the dumbest dog who ever lived. I should mention that as nice as Brutus was, there was one thing he would attack and that was a vacuum cleaner. Remembering Ol' Brutus. --Cooter

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

While on the Subject of "Welcome Back Kotter"

I looked it up on Wikipedia to find out when the sitcom ran. It ran from 1975 to 1979. Mr. Kotter was teaching the Sweathogs, who got their name because remidial classes were located all the way at the top of the fictional James Buchanan High School in Brooklyn, New York City. Juan Epstein's (Robert Hegyes) big quote was, "Hey, Mr. Kotter, I got a note." It was always excusing him from something and signed "Epstein's Mother." Juan actually wrote the note and to prove it would lip sync it while Mr. Kotter read it. Still Chuckling. --DaCoot

Deaths: Sweathog

ROBERT HEGYES, 60 Died January 26, 2012. Born May 7, 1951. Actor best-known for his role on 70s TV sitcom "Welcome Back Kotter" as Juan Epstein. Also played detective Manny Esposito in TV's "Cagney and Lacey." As I was teaching back in the 70s, I sure enjoyed "Welcome Back Kotter" and all those Sweathogs Gabe Kaplan had to put up with. I don't know how the cast could keep a straight face when Kaplan would read a note from getting Juan out of something signed "Epstein's Mother." Laughing about it right now.

Tyler Tidbits: As In President John Tyler

Last month I wrote about President John Tyler having two living grandchildren even though he goes back some 220 years. Some more information on John Tyler: ***Supported South's secession efforts. Shortly before his death was actually elected to the Confederate House of Representatives. ***Because of his Confederate ties, he was the only president ever not to receive an official mourning period from the federal government when he died January 18, 1862. ***Became president in 1841, the year Canada became a country. the first filibuster in the U.S. Senate (took a month), and the city of Dallas, Texas founded. ***First president to become president through the vice president succession. A Confederate U.S. President? --Cooter

Monday, August 5, 2013

Some More on Pit Bulls-- Part 2

Pit bulls served in the military. One named Sallie went along with the 11th Pennsylvania through most of the big battles in the Civil War as did one named Jack with the 102nd Pennsylvania. Interesting stories on these two dogs which I will write about if and whenever I get this paragraph problem solved. It will be in my Saw the Elephant Civil War Blog. One was also the first U.S. Army dog promoted to sergeant. Helen keller's dog was a pit, as was the Little Rascal's dog Petey. A Real Dog=Gone Shame. --DaCoot

Some More on Pit Bulls-- Part 1: History

The July 22, 2013, Time Magazine "The Softer Side of Pit Bulls: A reviled breed gets a makeover" by Paul Tullis. Well worth reading about efforts to reverse this breed's reputation. Pit Bulls date to the 18th century when dogs often were categorized by the jobs they performed rather than how they looked. According to Bronwen Dickey, who is writing a book about the dogs, about 200 years ago "a terrier was any dog that dug for vermin. A bulldog was one that caught errant cattle." These two working dogs are belived to have been crossbread around 1790, creating the bull terrier, or pit bull. How Much is That Doggie in the _____. --Cooter

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Pity the Poor Pitbulls

Talk about a dog breed that gets a bad rep, these poor pooches have a real public relations problem. And, that bad rep was not always so. At one time, they were just another dog, not the vicious killers they're regarded today. Why, even the Little Rascals' "Petey" was a pitbull. Other dogs having bad reputations in the past were the bloodhounds, partly for their reputation for tracking runaway slaves. Then starting in the 30s, it was the German shepherd dogs as they were regarded as being too closely associated with Hitler and the Nazis. Of course, the problem revolves around the horrible people who raise them to kill other dogs in fights. Too Bad. --DaCoot

The Wilson Whirligig Festival

Not only did I learn about the Whirligig Park opening in November in Wilson, NC, but also, there are plans to have a Whirligig Festival November 2-3 this year. I imagine it will likely coincide with the opening of the park. Along with the usual food (and in eastern North Carolina, that definitely means Carolina-style 'Cue., activities and so forth, there will also be entertainment. Bands scheduled at this point are the Impacts, East Coast R&B, Without Further Ado and the Wallers. And, also being eastern N.C., that means Beach Music and the great Band of Oz will be playing. Thinking About It. --DaCoot

North Carolina's Vollis Simpson's Whirligigs

And, you can still go by Simpson's shop, where he created those neat whirligigs. It is located about 3 miles from Lucama, NC, going toward Wilson off Highway 301. I understand, there are still a few of the whirligigs there, but in need of repair. During World War II, he served as a combat engineer in the Pacific Theater. After the war, he operated a building moving company for awhile, then ran a farm equipment repair place. Cooter

Friday, August 2, 2013

Vollis Simpson's Whirligigs: Wilson's Whirligig Park Opening This November

Well, this just keeps getting deeper. I looked up the Whirligig Park at and it is a site well-worth visiting, if not just to see some of Vollis Simpson's creations that will be featured there. Some thirty whirligig will be in the park, which is located in downtown Wilson, scheduled to open in November, perhaps November 2-3 when the annual Whirligig Festival is held. Spinning and Moving Gigs. --Cooter

Deaths: Whirligig Artist-- Part 2

Vollis Simpson built the contraptions at his machine shop near Lucama (by Wilson, NC) and until last year, nearly 30 were on display at his property, when an effort to restore them started. Put this on your Road Calendar of things to do, the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park is scheduled to open in Wilson this November. I'll definitely check this out on one of my trips home. He built his first whirligig while stationed overseas in World War II, but it was stolen. After a life of farming, he began building whirligigs in earnerst in teh 1980s. People, even from foreign countries, sought him out to talk about his creations. For you Route 66 folk, one of his creations is at a shopping center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Four of them were on display at the 1996 Olympics. Quite the Guy.

Deaths: Whirligig Artist-- Part 1

VOLLIS SIMPSON, 94 From the June 2, 2013, Goldsboro (NC) News-Argus. AP. "Where others saw trash, Vollis Simpson saw whimsical, wind-powered whirligigs, creations with hundreds of moving parts that turned and twirled." He made them from all sorts of recycled things and his work has been featured in "museums, backyards, dentist offices and the 1996 (Atlanta) Olympics." Died May 31st. Lived and worked near Lacama, NC, in the eastern part of the state. Some of the whirligigs are 50 feet high and weign as much as three tons. Always Neat to see Folk Art Along the Highway.