Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Jack the Ripper? Out Here in Northern Illinois? An Earlier Murder here.

From Wikipedia. //// The last entry about cemeteries mentioned a Boone County man being poisoned by a Dr. Cream, suspected of being the notorious Jack the Ripper. This is something I knew nothing at all about. I always figured it was strictly an English/London thing. //// But, there are those who thinks Jack the Ripper ended up in London by way of Canada and Illinois and went by the real name of Thomas Neil Cream. //// You can look it up for an interesting story. //// However, I'm interested in the death of the Boone County man whose gravestone accused Dr. Cream and his wife for his murder. //// On 14 July 1881, Daniel Stott died of strychaine poisoning at his home in Boone County, Illinois, after Dr. Cream supplied him with an alleged remedy for epilepsy. Cream was arrested along with Mrs. Julia A. Stott who had become Cream's mistress and procured the poison from Cream to kill her husband. //// She turned state's evidence to avoid jail. Cream was sentenced to life imprisonment at Joliet Prison, but was released in July 1891 and went to London where Jack the Ripper soon began his dirty work. //// At some point after Mr. Stott's death, unknown persons erected a gravestone oin his plot reading: "Daniel Stott Died June 12, 1881 Aged 61 Years, poisoned by his wife and Dr. Cream." //// Wonder what happened to Mrs. Stott? //// Now, That Is An Interesting Story. --Cooter

Lots of History in Those Cemeteries: Jack the Ripper in Illinois?

From the Dec. 10, 2008, Chicago Tribune "Cemeteries yield family history" by Jeff Long. //// Genealogist Craig Pfannkuche likes exploring cemeteries "and digging up arcane facts about the dead." //// "He feels nostalgic, he said, for the time when cemeteries were like parks, with people bringing a picnic lunch and having family get-togethers-- even if some of the relatives were 6 feet under. Those days lasted from the late 1800s until about 1950, he said." //// Victorians loved mourning but that all changed with all the death during World War II. //// A favorite of his to visit is McHenry County's Ridgefield Cemetery which opened in 1836, the second-oldest one in the county. There is one gravestone reading "David Hartman, Company B, 36th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers. Killed at Franklin, Tenn. Nov. 30, 1864. Aged 25 years." That provides the groundwork for a lot of interesting further research. //// Then there is a real interesting one in the Garden Prairie, Illinois, cemetery reading, "Killed by his wife and Dr. Cream." There are some who believe that Neil Cream, born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1850 and who lived for awhile in Chicago, was Jack the Ripper. //// All Sorts of Interesting Stuff in Those Cemeteries. --DaCoot

The Mysterious 29: Did Frank Lloyd Wright Build Them?

From the July 6, 2008, Chicago Tribune by Blair Kamin, Tribune Critic. //// There are 29 houses in the Chicago suburbs whose architect may or may not have been Frank Lloyd Wright. There are one each in Glen Ellyn and Wilmette, two in Berwyn (as Svenghoolie would say) and 25 in River Forest (including 24 of the 26 houses in the 700 block of William Street). Imagine a F.L. Wright subdision. //// Problem is that there is little documentation. As such, the team exploring it looks for Wright's "artistic signature," like a meandering route to a front door. //// Of course, these homes could have been designed by Wright-influenced architects or even ones working for him. //// To Wright or Not To Wright. That Sure Would Be Neat to Find Out You Were Living In a Frank Lloyd Wright House. --Cooter

Monday, December 30, 2013

Dogs of the Titanic-- Part 2

The only dogs belonged to first-class passengers //// After the wreck, one family even got an insurance settlement on their two dgs who were lost. Will Carter of Philadelphia was on the Titanic with his wife and two children. He insured his wife's jewelry and a 1912 Renault automobile that he had bought in Paris for $5,000. (The movie's love scene took place in a replica of this car.) Daughter Lucy's King Charles Spaniel was insured for $100. Billy's airedale was insured for $200. Billy begged his father to take his dog, but Carter said it was too big and would be fine. It perished in the ship's kennel. //// Fifty-year-old Ann Elizabeth Isham had a Great Dane dog and visited it daily in the kennel. As the ship was being evacuated, she asked to take her dog but was told it was too large. She thenm refused to leave and got out of the lifeboat. //// Several days after the sinking, a woman's body clutching a large dog were spotted by the crew ofthe recovery ship Mackay Bennett. //// Two-known photos remain of the Titanic's dogs. ////

Dogs of the Titanic-- Part 1: Three Survived

From the April 9, 2012, Yahoo! Contributors Network "Dogs of Titanic: a Dozen Aboard, Three Survived" by Marie Anne St. John. //// J. Joseph Edgette, PhD, has spent 20 years researching the Titanic ship records and eyewitness accounts. So far, he has come up with twelve confirmed (and perhaps more) dogs aboard the ill-fated ship. Only three survived. //// Captain Smith's dog, Ben, was a huge Russian wolfhound given to the captain by Benjamin Guggenheim, had been on the ship the day before departure but was taken off, though. //// The three surviving dogs were all small: two pomeranians and a Pekingese. One, lady, a pomeranian was brought in Paris by Miss Margaret Hags and was wrapped in a blanket. The Rothschild's owner the other pomeranian. The Pekingese was named Sun Yat-Sen and owner by the Harpers of the New York publishing company Harper & Row. //// A Dog's Life.

Tourists destroying Titanic Wreck

From the April 14, 2012, Yahoo! News "Titanic discoverer says ship's wreckage site being destroyed by tourists; how he plans to save it" by Eric Pfeffer. //// Tobert Ballard: "They are loving te Titanic to death. They are landing on it, crushing the deck, knocked off the crow's nest and leaving all sorts of garbage." Litter Bugs? //// He urges "Visit, but don't touch." //// On Monday he will host "Save the Titanic" on the National Geographic Channel where he will propose "robot sentries" to alert of trespassers. //// Well, Not Me. I Haven't Been to and Couldn't Afford to Go To It.

RMS Titanic

Fom the April 13, 2012, Wall St. Journal. //// The Titanic went to Cherbourg, France, after leaving Southampton in England. It made its final port of call at Cobh, Ireland. Initial distress calls were picked up at Cape Race, Newfoundland. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch had a reporter on the SS Carpathian who got a scoop of a lifetime. //// From the April 12, 2012, L.A. Times. //// Ancestry.com has thousands of records on the crew and passengers available. Passengers are available by name and ship class. This information is temporarily available for free (back in 2012). They also have the coroner's inquest on bodies recoveredand headstone images of the 121 victims buried in Halifax. //// Quite the Centennial Back in 2012.

U.S. Coast Guard Sinks Tsunami Ghost Ship in 2012

From April 6, 2012, International Business Times "Tsunami Ghost Ship: U.S. Coast Guard Sinks Japanese vessel Adrift Since Last Year." The 164-foot long ship had been adrift in the Pacific Ocean since the tsunami hit Japan back in March 2011. It was sunk in the Gulf of Alaska to keep it from being a hazard to other ships as it had entered major sea lanes. //// The main mass of floating debris from the tsunami is not expected to reach North America until March 2014. //// A New "Flying Ditchman?" --DaCoot

"A Christmas Story:" 30 Years Later-- Part 4

Of course, sevral years ago, TBS began showing the movie in a 24-hour marathon starting on Christmas Eve and going through Christmas. This has become "must-see" viewing for families across the country and me. I always try to watch it at least once straight through, then catch segments off and on. I do not get tired of it. //// This anniversary of the movie, its 30th, will be marked beyond Cleveland with stage versions from Boston to California, including here in Chicago. //// I'm not sure it is still there, but for many years, the first Indiana exit of I-80 at Hammond in Indiana going east from Illinois, had a whole recreation of it at the welcome center. This was taken from the windows of Macy's in New York City. //// "A new bronze statue of the 'triple dog dare' tongue-grabbing scene is now on display in time for the holidays in Hammond, Indiana, the hometown of Jean Shepherd, whose stories inspired the 1983 movie." He has a cameo in the movie telling Ralphie and Randy that the line starts back there when they mistakenly vut in. Of course, we all that famous scene. The statue was dedicated in October and has been popular ever since. //// However, beware. Nicki Mackowski of Hammond's tourist agency warns, "We're working on putting up signs as the cold weather gets here. You know 'Lick at your own risk' kind of thing." //// Not to mention the germs from Licking. --Cooter

Saturday, December 28, 2013

"A Christmas Story": 30 Years Later-- Part 3

The Horseshoe Casino Cleveland this year decorated for the season to highlight the movie with leglamps atop some of the slot machines. //// And, then, there is "A Christmas Story House" in Cleveland, the one which was used for exterior scenes and, evidenly interior as well. Visitors can duck under the sink where Randy hid when he thought "Daddy's gonna kill Ralphie" and run out the back door where Ralphie ran through fake snow to try out the best Christmas gift he ever got. Entrepreneur Brian Jones developed the house into an attraction. //// The snow seen in the movie was actually mostly firefighting foam that had to be used because of an unusual snowless stretch in Cleveland during filming. //// Jim Moralevitz, now 73, lives down the street from "A Christmas Story House" and got a cameo role delivering the crate containing the infamous leg lamp. Brian Jones gave him a leg lamp seven years ago and it's mounted in a 6-foot plexiglass box outside his home near the peak of his front roof. People sometimes mistake his house for "A Christmas Story House" and stop for a visit. He likes to boast that he has the most drive-bys. //// I'm Thinking That He Was Not the Head Delivery Guy Who Talked With the "Old Man." --Cooter

Friday, December 27, 2013

NIU Coulda' Woulda' Made School Football History Last Night

What had been the most outstanding year in Northern Illinois' football program certainly came crashing down in this month of December. //// First, we missed a chance to go to our second straight BCS Bowl game at the Fiesta Bowl, with out MAC Championship loss to Bowling Green, but last night, missed out on our first-ever 13-win season with the 21-14 loss to Utah State in the Poinsettia Bowl. //// Oh well, we'll have to "settle" for a 12-2 season. //// It sure has been a great four years with this class of seniors. //// Thanks, Guys. --Cooter

Thursday, December 26, 2013

"A Christmas Story" 30 Years Later-- Part 2: Got My Fix

Yesterday and Christmas Eve, I saw two complete shows and a whole bunch of segments. Thanks TBS for making this movie a holiday tradition for me. //// As you know, 9-year-old Ralphie really wanted that bb gun, despite the dire warnings of "You'll shoot your eye out!" Then, there was the gruff "Old Man", played by Darren McGavin, and his Indy 500 and "major award" leg lanp fixations. And that wonderful Mom who covered for him after the fight and his brother Randy getting his snow suit, not eating, Christmas present-mania and hiding under the sink when he thought his dad was going to kill Ralphie. //// There are just so many neat scenes in the movie, where could you begin? //// The article said that the house in Cleveland where the film family lived (qnd evidently used for many interior shots) is now a museum to the movie and Nov. 29th and 30th was going to highlight the film's 1983 release with appearances by original cast members and a bb gun range in the backyard (Just watch out for the icycles.) Would I have ever loved to have been there. //// "The movie wqasn't widely acclaimed when it debuted, with favorable reviews barely outnumbering bad mentions like the one that grumbled 'Bah, humbug' in the headline. But its quirky humor and love-in family message struck a chord with audiences." //// A few years ago, I was able to see it on the big movie screen in Woodstock, Illinois, in the theatre that had the scene in the movie "Groundhog Day." And, there was about half-and-half as far as audience was concerned in kids and "old kids" like me. I have never heard so much laughter at a movie. //// More to Come. --Cooter

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"A Christmas Story" 30 Years Later: Just Keeps Getting Better-- Part 1

From the Nov. 29, 2013, Wilmington (NC) Star-News ""Christmas Story" at 30: Now part of the family." AP. //// I don't know about you, but I've already watched one whole show straight through on TBS (last night at the Route 12 Bar in Fox Lake, Illinois, on their 70-inch HDTV. Wow!!!). Liz has had it on all day in the family room so I've seen bits and pieces of it. "Even after three decades, the triple-dog dare doesn't get old." //// "The film, 'A Christmas Story' opened 30 years ago to mixed reviews but has shown its staying power as a holiday family favorite. Cleveland, where parts of the movie were filmed and hard-luck Ralphie dreamed big, is celebrating the anniversary with iconic leg lamps, holiday store windows like the ones that drew Ralphie's wide-eyed stares, and stage and musical versions of 'A Christmas Story.'" //// Hey, What About Brother Randy's Nose at the Window? --DaCoot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Christmas Songs-- Part 5

2. A VETERINARIAN SINGS "GRANDMA FOR RUN OVER BY A REINDEER." The song was written in 1978 by Randy Brooks as a joke. Since then, that "joke" has sold over 40 million copies. (I even have a battery-operated moose that sings it.) He asked the husband and wife team of Elmo and Patsy to perform it (the folks credited on the 45 cover). //// Patsy actually doesn't sing or play on the track as they got a divorce. Elmo is actually Elmo Shropshire, a veterinarian and graduate of Auburn University. I have to wonder if he's ever had a reindeer as a patient? //// 1. EVERYONE LOVES CHRISTMAS SONGS. "There are two types of people in the world, those who like Christmas songs and filthy liars." Some people are upset about all those radio stations who go all Christmas music before the holiday, but all who do see their ratings double. That means, somebody is listening. //// In 2011, 100 Clear Channel stations (the largest owner) went 24-hour Christmas music. But some stations are really pushing that start time. In 2013, a Syracuse station began its Christmas programming on October 5th. //// Hey, I Like Those Christmas Stations Every So Often. --Cooter

Ten Things you Might Not Know About Christmas Songs-- Part 4

4. "O COME, O COME, EMMANUEL" IS REALLY OLD. It gained popularity in the 18th century, but was penned in the 9th century and originally sung in Latin. //// THE FIRST CHRISTMAS SONG TO MENTION SANTA was "Up n a House Top" written by Benjamin Hanby in 1864 and mentioned St. Nick, better known today as Santa Claus. He drew his inspiration from Clement Clarke Moore's "A Visit From St. Nick." ////

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Christmas Songs-- Part 3

7. JEWISH MEN WROTE SOME OF THE CHRISTMAS CLASSICS. //// Johnny Marks wrote "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and "Holly Jolly Christmas." His brother-in-law wrote the original story of Rudolph. //// Irving Berlin wrote "White Christmas. Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn wrote "Let It Snow." Mel Torme wrote "The Christmas Song." //// 6. "DOMINICK THE DONKEY" by Lou Monte was financed by the Mob in 1960. Monte received support from the Gambino crime family. //// 7. "DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR" was inspired by nuclear war. It was written in 1962 by the husband and wife team of Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne after the Cuban Missile Crisis as a prayer for peace. The line about a star "with a tail as big as a kite" referred to a missile. //// --Okay, Everyone Make Like a Donkey and Bray, Wise Guys. --DaCoot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Christmas Songs-- Part 2

8. "JINGLE BELLS" WAS THE FIRST SONG PERFORMED IN SPACE. //// On Dec. 16, 1965, astronauts Wally Schirra Jr and Thomas P. Stafford were orbitting earth in Gemini 6 and approaching Gemini 7 for a historic space meeting. At one point, they were just a few feet away from each other. //// Afterwards, just before their re-entry to earth, they reported: "We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, probably a polar orbit... Looks like he might be going to re-ener soon... You just might let me pick up that thing... I see a command module and eight smaller modules in front. The pilot of the command module is wearing a red suit." //// Then, they produced a harmonica and bells which they had secretly stowed on board and played "Jingle Bells." The first song to be performed in space. The two had practiced it on earth and Mission Control had no idea they were going to do it. //// You can hear what they said at the site. Well, one way not to get coal in their stockings. //// Jingle Bells All Over Space. --Cooter

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Christmas Songs-- Part 1

From the Dec. 22, 2013, Listverse "10 Hidden Facts About Christmas Songs" by Jake Vigliotti. //// This was one great group of info, along with pictures and song videos of each thing listed. Well worth checking out the site. //// 10. TONY THE TIGER SANG "YOU'RE A MEAN ONE, MR. GRINCH." Boris Karloff narrated the Dr. Seuss story, but couldn't sing a lick. The services of one Thurl Ravenscroft were enlisted, but generally unknown because he was not credited. //// He voiced many characters on Walt Disney rides and shows, but his voice is best-known as that of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes' Tony the Tiger saying, "They're Grrrrrrreat!!" //// 9. JiNGLE BELLS STARTED OUT AS A THANKSGIVING SONG. //// Would That have Been great If the Grinch Said, "They're Grrrreat!" Would Have Brought Down the House, But Imagine It Might Have Been Copyright Infringement. --Cooter

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A "Twinkie" in Her Eye, Twinkies-- Part 3: The "Twinkie defense"

In the 1950s, Hostess, the owner, began cranking up advertising for it. Commercials were placed on the very popular "Howdy Doody" show. Highland Park, Illinois, native Steve Ettinger, who wrote the book "Twinkie, Deconstructed" and where most of this article's information derives, said one of his favorite commercials was where the Twinkie was called a "great nutritional snack cake with potential to grow on." //// Twinkies have played a big role in American pop culture all along. TV's Archie Bunker got very upset with his wife, Edith, when she forgot to pack one in his lunch. The "Twinkie Defense" was coined in 1978 when an attorney for a suspect in a double murder in San Francisco claimed his client's junk food consumption was partly to blame. //// I remember Twinkies selling out at all area stores shortly after Hostess announced they were going out of business. //// A Twinkie By Any Other Name. --DaCoot

A "Twinkie" in Her Eye-- Twinkies-- Part 2: Two to Three Day Shelf Life

The really tasty new cakes were originally made with milk and eggs and only had a shelf life of two or three days. //// Postwar (WWII) America was pushing for greater consumer convenience and had a huge chemical surplus left over from that war. Scientists began finding new chemical uses, including something called polysorbate 60. This petroleum-based egg yolk substitute included a toxic gas used to thicken paint and rocket fuel. It also became a Twinkie ingredient. //// Later Twinkies included artificial butter flavor, high-fructose corn syrup, calcium sulfate and sodium stearoyl lactylate, eventually 40 ingredients. (Suddenly, I no-longer crave one.) //// Maybe, I Don't Want One Anymore. --Cooter

Friday, December 20, 2013

A "Twinkie" in Her Eye-- Twinkies-- Part 1: Who Invented Them?

rom the Nov. 18, 2012, Chicago Tribune "Expiration date for Twinkie?" by Joseph Ruzich and Ted Gregory. //// Of course, this article came out when the country was facing the loss of Twinkies, but, they're back now. //// The Twinkie was born on April 6, 1930, in Illinois, at the Continental Baking Company in River Forest. Plant manager James Dewar came up with the recipe in his quest to create a two-for-a-nickle snack, reportedly coming up with the name after passing a billboard for Twinkle Toe Shoes. Dewar was looking for a way to use shortcake pans that had been used seasonably for a strawberry shortcake knock-off called Little Shortbread Fingers. //// Dewar said it was "the best darn-tootin' idea I ever had." //// He related that he ate at least three Twinkies with a glass of milk every night before he went to bed. //// Good Calories? --Cooter

A Brief History of Summer Vacation-- Part 3: A Short Timeline

SUMMER'S HEATED DEBATE: //// 1837 HORACE MANN becomes Massachusetts' first secretary of education. //// 1842: SCHOOL TERMS, which include summers, exceed 240 days in some cities. Urban calendars shrink as rural ones increase. //// 1906: The first official study documents the "SUMMER SETBACK." The long summer break causes a negative effect on learning. //// 2007 At an average 180 days, the U.S. public school calendar is dwarfed by those in South Korea and Japan where students attend class for 220 and 243 days a year, respectively. //// What's My Name? --DaCoot

A Brief History of Summer Vacation-- Part 2: Adjusting Calendars

Urban students before the Civil War endured as many as 48 weeks of school a year withjust one break per quarter. Education was not, however, compulsory and attendance was often sparse. In Detroit, in 1843, only 30% of enrolled students attended year-round. //// In the 1840s, educational reformers like Horace Mann moved to merge the urban and rural claendars out of concern that rural schooling lagged. Then current medical theory held that overstimulating yound minds could lead to nervous disorders or insanity. //// Summer emerged as the obvious choice for a break. It offered teachers a needed break, meshed with the rural calendar and alleviated physician concerns that students packed into sweltering classrooms would be prone to spread disease. //// The modern U.S. school year, which averages 180 days, has its critics as well. Some say the long summer break is responsible for low math scores and graduation rates. //// Like my wall plaque in Margaritaville says, "Three good reasons to be a teacher: June, July and August. //// Can't Please Everyone. --Cooter

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Brief History of Summer Vacation-- Part 1

From the June 30, 2008, Time Magazine by Alex Altman. //// I wish they'd put this page back in the amgazine. //// As we prepare for yet another bout of winter storms here in the Midwest. //// "This month, millions of American kids flee the tyranny of the classroom bell for lifeguard stands, grandparents' homes and sleepaway camps. But, summer vacation has not always been a birthright of U.S. school children." //// Before the Civil War, U.S. schools operated on one of two calendars, neither of which included a summer vacation. //// Rural schools had a winter and summer term so kids would be free to help with spring planting and fall harvesting. //// And, I Remember When Summer Vacation Lasted Forever (As Did the School Year). -- Cooter

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Titanic Victims 'Dead Calm'

From the April 13, 2012, New York Post by Maureen Callahan. //// On April 12, 2012, the centennial Titanic cruise docked in Halifax, Nova Scotia, so passengers could visit Fairview Cemetery where 121 victims are buried. //// One of the graves at the cemetery was that of John Law Hume, the first violinist on the ill-fated ship who had a pregnant fiancee. As the ship began to sink, he said, "We're gonna just play a few tunes to keep peoples' spirits up." He died playing "Nearer My God to Thee." //// Another one was that of Alma Paulson, 29-years old, from Sweden with her four children, ages 2, 4, 6 and 8 and on her way to America to meet her husband. //// The Centennial Cruise had lunch at Halifax's Five Fishermen Restaurant, formerly the city mortuary where the recovered dead from the Titanic were taken. The survivors went to New York City. //// One complaint on the cruise was the absence of Titanic-themed souvenirs (Titanic coal, however, can still be bought.) A blue Titanic hat with coal in it can be bought for $20. //// Then the people on the cruise went to Halifax's Maritime Museum of the Atlantic which has a permanent exhibition of Titanic artifacts. Some of their items are a deck chair, pair of child's shoes, and pieces of a life jacket that may have belonged to New York millionaire John Jacob Astor. //// Reliving the Event.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Back Brace May Have Cost JFK His Life

From the Nov. 18, 2013, Yahoo! News "Doctor: Back Brace may have cost JFK his life" by Jay Hart. //// President Kennedy was plagued by severe back pains much of his life and had to take shots and pills for it. It was so bad, he couldn't put his left sock and show without help. //// When the president arrived at Dallas' Parkland Hospital that day, Dr. Kenneth Saylor, then 27 and a resident, was the doctor on duty. Kennedy was still breathing in a "sort of agonal, labored, close-to-your-last sort of breath." //// He was wearinga corset-like brace which Saylor believes cost the president his life. //// "The first shot that hit him went through the soft tissue of the back of his shoulder and exited through his trachea. That same bullet went through John Connally's chest, through his right hand and into his thigh and knocked him completely down in the car." Connally immediately slumped over and the Zapruder film shows Kennedy didn't. He remained upright and the second shot struck him in the head, the fatal blow. Kennedy had remained upright because of the brace. If he too had slumped over, perhaps the second shot wouldn't have hit him. //// Makes Sense to Me.

Deaths: Willis Ware, Early Computer Pioneer

WILLIS WARE, 93, AP. //// Died November 22, 2013. Helped build early computers in the1940s 1nd 1950s for Rand Corporation. He was on the Princeton team that built the IAS machine, one of the world's first electronic computers in the late 1940s. Joined Rand in 1952 and helped build the Johnniac Computer. Without him, I might not be sitting here typing away right now. ///// Thanks Mr. Ware.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

JFK's Dallas Limo

ABC World News. //// That limo "remains one of the most powerful symbols of his final hours. The 1961 4-door Lincoln Continental is now at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. //// It had no armor that day but was refurbished and remained in the presidential auto fleet until the 1970s. //// It had a removable roof and bubble top, but it had been removed that day in Dallas after the rain cleared as President Kennedy didn't like it. Standing White House orders were to remove the top anytime the weather permitted. However, it wasn't bullet-proof. //// Nowm there is near-silence when people see it. Everyone's images of that day include this car. People can't help to think, "What if the car was moving faster?" "What if the top had been on?" //// The car had been flown out from D.C. on a cargo plane accompanying the president's plane. (I know as I asked one of the people at the Air Force Museum this past Nov. 22nd if the limo had been ferried by JFK's Air Force One, which is at the museum, the other iconic image of the assassination). I didn't think a 747's cargo bay was big enough to hold a limo like that. //// After the assassination, the limo was brought back to Washington where the Secret Service and FBI intensely studied every square inch of it. It was then refurbished with titanium armor and a permanent top. //// It was code-named X-100 and is painted a midnight blue. //// Clint Hill, the First Lady's Secret Service Agent that day, will revisit the limo and will be at the car November 22nd. (Was he the one that climbed up on the trunk when Jackie Kennedy appeared to be crawling out of the car?) //// A Real Piece of History.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

21 Great McDonald's Meals You Can't Get in the U.S.-- Part 5

17. McALOO TIKI-- India. Fried potato and pea patty in a bun. //// 18. SAMURAI BURGER-- Asian markets. Either chicken or beef patty coated in terriyahi sauce with mayonaise and lettuce. Popular sides are Seaweed shaker fries and Jasmine green tea //// 19. McSPICY PANEER--India. Fried curd cheese patty topped with tandoori sauce, red cabbage and lettuce served on a sesame roll. //// 20. GAZPACHO SOUP-- Spain. Classic summer soup served chilled with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, celery, lemon juice and hot sauce. //// 21. POUTINE-- Canada. (OK, I'll stop snickering now.) Drizzled gravy and cheese curds on french fries. Based on a traditional Canadian dish. (Sounds a bit like a Central Illinois Horseshoe sandwich.) //// Not Your Same Old, Same Old McDonald's. --RoadDog

21 Great McDonald's Meals You Can't Get in the U.S.-- Oart 4

13. ROSTI BREKKI WRAP-- Australia and New Zealand. Bacon, fried egg, slice of cheese and potato rosti (similar to hash browns). Served on a flour tortilla with bbq sauce. //// 14. McLOBSTER-- Canada. 100% Atlantic lobster meat, diced celery, lettuce and a light salad dressing, served on a soft roll. (I had seen these in Maine once, but didn't buy one as I figured they muct have them back home in Illinois. Sadly, they didn't.) //// 15. BACON POTATO PIE-- Japan. Chunks of potato and bacon served in the same deep-fried shell as McDonald's apple pies. //// 16. KIWI BURGER-- New Zealand (of course). No kiwi fruit or meat, though. (I think the kiwi whatever it is, is protected.) A four ounce beef patty, griddle egg, beetroot, tomato, lettuce cheese, onion, mustard and keychup. (I had one of these in New Zealand and it was one of the best burgers I ever ate.) //// I'd Sure Like to Have me Another One of Those Kiwi Burgers, But Will Settle for a McRib. --Cooter

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

21 Great McDonald's Meals You Can't Get in the U.S.-- Part 3

Next time you're overseas, don't stay away from McDonald's figuring you can just eat their food at home. Foreign McDonald's feature an array of things you can't get here and a whole lot of the ones I'm writing about are definitely something I would try. //// 9. MATCHA McFLURRY-- Singapore and Japan. Green tea powder for a green color and topped with heaps of Oreo bits. //// 10.. SNACK AL PARMIGIANO-- Italy. Instead of a side of fries, it is an individually wrapped bar of Parmesan cheese. //// 11. CHEESE KATSU BURGER-- Japan. Melted cheese inside of fried pork cutlets with sliced cabbage and sweet and sour sauce served on a sesame seed bun. //// 12. BABUR AYAM McD-- Malaysia. Breakfast treat porridge, chicken strips, spring onions, sliced ginger, fried shallots and dice cjillies. //// Making Me Hungry. --Cooter

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

21 Great McDonald's Meals You Can't Get in the U.S.-- Part 2

4. BACON ROLLS-- U.K.-- "Breakfast of Choice" for bacon-lovers. From British farms and served on a roll with ketchup or brown sauce. //// BLACK AND WHITE HAMBURGER COMBOS-- China. Black Burger roll topped with white sesame seeds with black pepper sauce and chopped onions. The white burger topped with black sesame seeds. Like McRibs, availability comes and goes. //// 6. TARO PIE-- Japan and Asia. Chunks of taro root covered in sweet purple sauce inside a flaky pie crust. Taro tastes like potatoes, only stronger. //// MCARABIA-- In Arab countries and Pakistan. Two grilled chicken patties with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and garlic sauce inside a pita. //// I'd Try Any of These. --Cooter

Monday, December 9, 2013

Lost Beneath the Ice: The HMS Investigator

From the Nov. 18, 2013, CTV Canada AM "Lost Beneath the Ice: Book sheds new light on the HMS Investigator." //// The 122 ton HMS Investigator left Britain in January 1850 on a mission to rescue an earlier expedition led by Sir John Franklin. The Investigator never returned and its wreck was discovered by Parks Canada archaeologists in 2010 in Mercy Bay. //// The ship had become hopelessly stuck in the ice before finalkly being abandoned in 1853 after the crew had survived remaining on board for two years. The ship is credited with finding the elusive Northwest Passage, so sought by earlier explorers. //// Never Heard of It. --DaCoot

James River Bridge Once World's Longest Bridge

From the November 18, 2013, Hampton Roads (Va.) Daily Press "When it opened on Nov. 17, 1928, the James River Bridge ranked as the world's largest" by Mark St. John Erickson. //// Mr. Ericcson writes a lot about history. His articles on the War of 1812 in the Hampton Roads/Norfolk area of Virginia provide very interesting reading. //// Eighty-five years ago this week, the five-mile long James River Bridge became the first fixed-link facility across Hampton Roads and an important part of the national north-south Atlantic Coast Highway or Ocean Highway. //// Some 30,000 attended the formal dedication November 17 and a two-mile long "Monster Parade" pyrotechnic recreation of the Battle of the Monitor and Merrimack was part of the ceremony. The giant lift span was activated by President Calvin Coolidge by electrical connection from the White House. //// It cost $7 million and included bridges over the nansemond River and Chuckatuck Creek. //// All that remains of the bridge today is a fishing bridge on the Newport News side of the James River. //// Grand Old Bridge. --Cooter

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Pearl Harbor 72 Years Later

Today marks the 72nd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which plunged us into World War II. I have always been fascinated with Pearl Harbor. //// Today, each of my seven blogs will have the name of one American (all from Michigan's Upper Peninsula) who died that day. Each one had parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends that loved him. //// JOSEPH BARAYA, Channing, Michigan. USS Arizona. //// Never Forgetting.

The World Lost a Great One This Week: Nelson Mandela

I was sad to hear that this man died this past week. He is one of those rare politicians, especially in Africa, who put his people and country above himself at all times. He was a man who stood up for his convictions regardless of repercussions and even had to spend some 27 years in prison for opposing arpartheid in his native South Africa. //// Just to show what kind of man he was, I heard one journalist talking about him shortly after he was released from prison and having a top level meeting with his group at a hotel when a maid came into the room. He stopped what he was saying and stood up because that is what you do when a lady comes into the room. He was a gentleman as well. //// I admired him early on, but especially after reading a long article about him in Time Magazine a few years ago. //// The passing of a great one.

A Christmas Wreath for the Christmas Tree Ship

From the November 25, 2013, Channel 3000 "Coast Guard to lay wreath near sunken Christmas tree ship." //// The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinac is loaded with 1220 Christmas trees and then will cruise from its home port of Cheboygan to Chicago and have a ceremony today, December 7th, at Navy Pier to mark the 101st anniversary of the sinking of the Christmas Tree Ship, the Rouse Simmons, which sank in a storm on November 23, 1812. //// The wreath will be placed in the water near the shipwreck near Two Rivers and Kewaunee, Wisconsin. //// For more on the ship, click on the Christmas Tree Ship label. //// A Chicago Tradition. --Cooter

Remembering Columbia House Record Club

Back in the 70s and again in the 80s to 90s, I belonged to the Columbia House Record Club so I could get a lot of albums for the cheapest price possible. //// You'd join with at least 13 albums for free, just postage and handling, and then would have to agree to buy seven or more albums in the next 2-3 years at regular price (and, of course, always that pesky p&h, I really hated that). I also belonged to BMG Record Club. //// I wrote about this in one of today's posts to my Down Da Road Blog. //// But, Don't Forget That Reply Card. --DaCoot

21 Great McDonald's Meals You Can't Get in the U.S.-- Part 1

From the Nov. 18, 2013, Yahoo! Finance "21 Awesome McDonald's Dishes You Can't Get in America" from Business Insider by Hayley Peterson. //// When I travel overseas, I do go to McDonald's, but you'd never catch me ordering a Big Mac or Quarterpounder. I'm checking out other items they have. In Hawaii, you can get pineapple and Vegemite. In New Zealand, I had one of the best burgers ever, called a Kiwi Burger. //// 1. EBI BURGER-- Japan, Singapore and other Asian countries. A whole shrimp embedded in a crispy patty with lettuce and spicy sauce. // 2. SHAKA SHAKA CHICKEN-- Singapore. deep-fried chicken patty served in a paper sleeve with packet of spice. // CROCK BRIE-- Italy. Deep-fried triangles of oozing brie cheese. //// The article has pictures of all these items. //// More Good Stuff to Come. --Cooter

Friday, December 6, 2013

The World War I Donkey

From the April 2012 Mail Online "The donkey born in a First World War trench which became a mascot for British troops." //// ** Jimmy "The Sergeant" donkey was born at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. //// ** Wounded by shellfire three times in two years on the frontlines. //// ** Taught to raise a hoof in salute by the soldiers who raised him. //// ** After the war, he raised thousands of pounds for the RSPCA. //// ** Was weaned on cans of condensed milk. //// ** Carried equipment and soldiers. //// The Long-Eared, Braying Soldier. --DaCoot

Ten More Major Breakthroughs of Humanity

From the March 30, 2012, Listverse: 10. Anaesthesia (1842) // 9. Penicillin (1928) // 8. Green Revolution (1940s to late 1980s) // 7. Steam engine (1750) // 6. Fossil Fuels (5,000 years ago) //// 5. Automobile (1885) // 4. Airplanes (1903) // 3. Telecommunication (1839) // Genetic Modification (1973) // 1. Computers (1936) //// Making Life Better, One Invention At a Time? --Cooter

Thursday, December 5, 2013

On JFK's Air Force One Fifty Years Later

I was already going to be driving to North Carolina for Thanksgiving anyway and passing by Dayton, Ohio. I had just found out that the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB had the original JFK Air Force One. I figured that would be a great way to commemorate the event by visiting it and hopefully either seeing it or, even better, going on board. //// I met my buddy Denny at the museum and we were one of the last ones to get seats on the bus out to what they call the Presidential Hangar which has planes used by FDR, Truman and, of course, JFK's Air Force One. //// When we got to the hangar, everyone rushed AF1, so Denny and I took a walk around the research and development planes until the line went away at JFK's plane. Not only did we see the outside of the plane, but we also got to go on it. I went through twice, first taking video of it from my VHS-C camcorder and then a second time to take still pictures. //// We saw where the LBJ swearing in took place in that famous photo with Jackie Kennedy standing next to him and also saw the seats that were cut away to allow JFK's casket to be flown back to D.C.. Most caskets would have been relegated to the cargo hold but that wouldn't do for a presidential one. //// Sadly, though, plexi-glass lined the hallway and it was difficult to take pictures, but,I WAS THERE WHERE ALL THOSE EVENTS TOOK PLACE FIFTY YEARS AGO TO THE DAY. One man in the group was an expert on all things dealing with the assassination and he said that we weer on the plane at the same time JFK would have been on it when he took the short flight from Fort Worth to Dallas back on November 22, 1963. //// That Close to History!!

What Our Rock Stars Would Look Like Today Had They Lived

From the Nov. 20, 2013, Mail Online (UK) "What if they had lived to fade away? Rock and roll legends who died young imagined in old age with help of photo technology." My wife sent me this and was it ever interesting to see what what these guys and gals would probably look today had they lived: Jim Morrison, Bob Marley, Mama Cass, Curt Cobain, Bobby Darrin, Karen Carpenter, John Lennon, Keith Moon, Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix and Dennis Wilson. //// Check It Out. --Cooter

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Not Much Posting the Last Two Weeks

I just got back froma two-week trip to North Carolina for a family Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the laptop did not work so I am a fair amount of postings behind. -- DaCoot

10 Major Breakthroughs of Humanity

From the March 24, 2012, Listverse. //// Again, text and pictures at the site. //// 10. Logical Thought-- millions of years ago // 9. Stone Tools-- 2.6 million years ago // 8. Fire-- one million years ago // 7. Domestication-- 10,000 years ago // 6. Wheeel-- 6,000 years ago //// 5. Mathematics-- 20,000 (How about history?) 4. Metalworking-- 10,000 // 3. Paper-- 100 BC // 2. Printing Press-- 1440 // Vaccination-- 1724. //// Another list. I Don't Remember. --Cooter