Friday, January 31, 2014

Ten Things You Didn't Know About the Titanic-- Part 1

From the April 6, 2012, Yahoo! News "Ten Things You Didn't Know About: The 100th Anniversary of the Titanic" by Victoria Leigh Miller. //// 1. The evening meal April 14th, First Class, was a ten course meal including oysters, poached salmon, sirloin of beef, lamb with mint sauce, chocolate eclairs and waldorf pudding. A different wine was served with each course (ten dribnks?). Coffee and cigars accompanied by port and distilled spirits were also available with the last course. //// 2. The ship had its own daily newspaper, The Atlantic Daily Bulletin, which had news, daily activities, latest stock prices, horse racing results, society gossip and daily menu. //// How to Drink Your Meal. --Cooter

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I've Heard It All Now: "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by the Chipmunks

For all you Beatle fans anxiously awaiting Feb. 9th, the 50th anniversary of you-know-who's appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, here's one for you. //// I'm listening to Leslie Stevens' Route 66 Oldies Show www.route66oldies.com right now and just heard the Beatles' first big hit here, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" done by none other than those wild and crazy Chipmunks. //// A Real Eye-Opener. --DaCoot

Deaths: Vietnam War Medal of Honor Winner

JOHN J. McGINTY III, USMC (1940-January 17, 2014) //// Went on active duty in 1958 after enlistment. Eventually a drill instructor on Parris Island, S.C.. Won his Medal of Honor 18 July 1966, when he and 32 men fought off successive attacks of a North Vietnamese regiment while his battalion was withdrawing. The enemy lost approximately 500 men. ////

Lots of World War I Wooden Ships

From the Oct. 21, 2013 shipbuilding site "Wooden Ships and Barges." While doing research on the Fulton Shipyard for my World War II blog, I came across this interesting sidenote for World War I. //// Toward the end of World War I, U.S. contracts were placed for over 1,000 wooden ships, tugs and barges, but many of the contracts were cancelled after the war ended. Only 589 were completed. //// Many of the ones finished were converted to barges and many others scrapped on the ways are burned. Many of the completed ones were sold for scrap but many were just abandoned to rot. //// Mallows Bay, on the Maryland bank of the Potomac River just downstream from Quantico, Virginia, has countless of these ships slowly rotting away. //// --Cooter

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chicago Innovations That Changed the World-- Part 8: Nuclear Reactor

7. First Gay Rights Group in U.S. (1924). Henry Gerber established the Society for Human Rights. //// 6. Mass-producing the McCormick Reaper (1848) //// 5. Ballon Frame Construction (1833) Augustine Taylor using boards and nails for construction. //// 4. Open-Heart Surgery (1893). Patient was James Cornish. Doctor was Daniel Hale Williams. //// 3. The Cell Phone (1973) Martin Cooper from IIT, innovator at Motorola. //// 2. Skyscraper (1884) The Home Insurance Building. //// 1. The Nuclear Reactor (1942). //// Some Big Stuff. Some Stretches. --Cooter

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fred Hatch's Farm Silo: Brother Bob's Missile Silos

Spring Grove, Illinois' claim to fame other than a huge fish hatchery. The Tribune article had a video about Fred Hatch's innovation. The Hatch farm is still there on Main Street just east of Spring Grove's downtown. There is an eight-sided barn and silo, but not the original one. His grave is on Wilmot Road (going from US-12 to Wilmot, in Wisconsin and founded by the Hatch family in the 1830s) in a small cemetery. //// There is also a plaque to him in a small park by the Nippersink Creek near downtown. //// When we first moved to Illinois back in the early 1960s, my brother Bob had heard about missiles in the Chicago area and thought the silos out on the farms were missiles. //// Easy Mistake to Make. -- DaCoot

Chicago Innovations That Changed the World-- Part 8: Fred Hatch's Farm Silo

11. THE FARM SILO (1873). I'll go into detail on this one as I live in Spring Grove and the name. Until 1973, grain was stored for the winter in pits instead of a tower as you see all over the place today. //// Fred Hatch, of Spring Grove, Illinois, had just graduated from the Illinois Industrial University which eventually became the University of Illinois. With his knowledge, he and his father, Lewis Hatch, built the very first tower silo (but not one you'd recognize today). //// Back at the school, Fred Hatch found agricultural textbooks to be scarce and some had to be translated from French and German by Professor Willard H. Bliss. According to the European books, silage storage meant burying the entire corn plant in pits. He took the idea and expanded on it by extending the hole upward above the ground. //// The Hatches lined a 6-foot-deep pit in their barn with rocks and mortar and over the years kept building higher. Eventually their new silo reached the height of 16 feet inside their barn. They built a floor in their pit of double ply floorboard lined with tar paper. //// This new design (and inside a barn) reduced rain spoilage and made it faster to fill, pack and empty than the pits. //// Eventually, they moved it outside and put a roof on it and you had today's silos. //// Thanks, Fred. --Cooter

Chicago Innovations That Changed the World-- Part 7: Pizza, Ferris Wheel, Silo, FermiLinus, TV Debates and Reversing Chicago River

I'll be mostly just listing them the rest of the way. You can see pictures and much more information at the Jan. 12-14, 2014, Chicago Tribune "Chicago Innovations That Changed the World" by James Janega. //// #13. Deep Dish Pizza ( 1947) // #12. The Ferris Wheel (1893) at the World's Columbian Exposition //// #11. THE FARM SILO (1973) I'll write more about this in my next post. It is right here in my town. //// 10. FermiLinus (1998) An alternative to Microsoft. I'd never heard of it before. Sorry, Bill. //// 9. Televised Political Debate (1960) Of course, the famous Kennedy vs, Nixon one. //// 8. Reversing the Chicago River (1900) Great for Chicago. Not so great for those downriver. //// Claims to Fame. --DaCoot

Deaths: Marlboro Man

ERIC LAWSON, 72 'Ex Marlboro Man dies from smoking-related disease" //// Yahoo! News, AP by Daisy Mguyen. //// He did the company's cigarette ads in the late 1970s, died Jan. 10, 2014. //// Died of chronic obstruction pulminary disease. Did the ads from 1978-1981. Smoker since age 14 and had bit parts in many TV shows including "Baretta" and "Streets of San Francisco." Several other Marlboro Men have died from smoking related diseases including David Miller of emphesema in 1987 and David McLean from lung cancer in 1996. //// But that rugged man lighting that Marlboro and wearing the cowboy hat out in the woods sure looked rugged and made you want to light up.

Disney's Highest Grossing Films 2000-2013

From the Jan. 5, 2014, Chicago Tribune "Disney's dizzying year" by Jonathan Berlin and Chad Yoder. * means I saw it: //// 2000 Dinosaur // 2001 *Monsters, Inc. // 2002 Signs // 2003 *Finding Nemo // 2004 *The Incredibles // 2005 *The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe // 2006 *Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest //// 2007 *Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End // *WALL-E // 2009 Up // 2010 Toy Story 3 // 2011 * Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides // * Marvel's The Avengers // 2013 *Iron Man 3. //// Walt Would be So Proud. --Cooter

Monday, January 27, 2014

Chicago Innovations That Changed the World-- Part 6: Consumer Preference Research (1928)

14. WILLIAM BURNETT BENTON had a varied career. He was assistant secretary of state at the end of World War I, he published the Encyclopedia Britannica, was appointed to the U.S. Senate and introduced the bill to expell Joseph McCarthy from that body. Before that, he ontroduced consumer preference research and revolutionized how consumer products were positioned. //// In 1928, he was working at Chicago's Lord & Thomas Advertising Agency when boss Albert lasker told him to land the huge Colgate-Palmolive company by impressing them with market research. He worked straight through the next two months to record housewife preferences. He landed the account. //// Then Benton formed a company, Benton & Bowles and moved to New York with just one client: General Foods. //// Watch Out for the Person With the Clipboard. --DaCoot

Chicago Innovations That Changed the World-- Part 5: The Mechanical Dishwasher (1886)

15. The mechanical dishwasher came about because of Josephine Cochran(e) in Central Illinois' Shelbyville who was tired of having servants break her dishes after fancy dinner parties. So at first she did the dishes herself, but got tired of this and wanted a machine to do it without chipping the dishes. //// Joel Houghton had an 1850 patent for this but it was not practical and not adopted. Josephine didn't know of it anyway. //// Supposedly she said, "If nobody else is going to invent a dishwashing machine, I'll do it myself." And, she did in 1886. //// She measured her dishes, built wire compartments and placed them in a wheel inside a cooper boiler. It worked and she received Patent No. 355,139. //// After her death, Hobart Manufacturing bought her company and began making dishwashers under the KitchenAid brand, now owned by Whirlpool. //// Now If Someone Would Invent a Way to Get the Dishes From the Machine to the Cupboard (Without Me). --Cooter

Saturday, January 25, 2014

What Happened to Chicago's Farragut Boat Club?

A couple days ago, I wrote about softball being first played at the Farragut Boat Club in Chicago. I've never heard of the club or building so looked it up. //// From answer.com. //// The Farragut Boat Club was located at 3016-3018 Lake Park Avenue. //// The site is now on the grounds of Michael Reese Hospital (now closed) on the Near South Side. The clubhouse was demolished around 1952. There is a monument on the site from a softball federation and a plaque describes what happened there in 1887. //// Now You Know. --Cooter

Friday, January 24, 2014

Chicago Innovations That Changed the World-- Part 4: Pullman Sleeper Car

16. THE PULLMAN SLEEPER CAR (1864) George Pullman was one of Chicago's greatest industrialists, rememebered for his luxurious rail cars and opportunistic--often demeaning-- labor practices toward blacks. His sleepinfg cars brought luxury to the middle class and his black workers into the middle class and President Lincoln's body home to the Springfield cemetery. //// He showed that luxury was a service and that came from his black Pullman Porters Railroads outsourced their luxury appointments to Pullman. Former house slaves from the South swarmed north and this was their ticket to the middle class. //// Pasengers crossed the United States, paying many times the price of a train ticket. Along with them came the Pullman Porters who also brough with them copies of the pro-equality Chicago Defender and helped start the Great Migration of blacks from the rural South to the urban North. //// --Cooter

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chicago Innovations That Changed the World-- Part 3: Softball

17. THE SOFTBALL GAME (1887) The sport was first played indoors in Chicago in 1887 at the Farragut Boat Club and got its name "softball" in 1926. Interest in the sport exploded after a tournament at Chicago's Century of Progress Fair in 1933. //// The first softball was a boxing glove tied up in its laces. A stick was the bat. //// It was started at Farragut Boat Club by bored Yale and Harvard alumni awaiting the results of the football game between their schools. Final score was 41-40, but no mention who won. //// Eventually, there came to be two different versions of the game. One is played with a 12-inch ball, requiring gloves. The other continues as the 16-inch style. //// Not Sure Why They Call It "Soft" Ball. You Get Hit In the Face and Believe Me, It's Not So Soft. --DaCoot

Chicago Innovations That Changed the World-- Part 2: The Zipper

18. THE ZIPPER (1893) Another thing not "invented" in Chicago, made its debut, well, the protype did. In 1893, inventor Whitcomb L. Judson revealed his patented "clasp holder" at the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition, now considered to be the proto-zipper. It was originally designed for shoes. //// In Pennsylvania, inventor Fredrik Gideon Sundback added more teeth per inch, ten to be exact. That was 1914 and it was still not called a zipper. It was the "Hookless No. 2." //// B.F. Goodrich popularized the name "zipper" for the sound it made on its rubber boots in the 1920s. //// Flies Would Never be the Same. --Cooter

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chicago Innovations That Changed the World-- Part 1: Vacuum Cleaner and Mail-Order Retail

From the January 12, 2014, Chicago Tribune by James Janega. //// A lot of noteworthy things have been accomplished in Chicag in its 180 years and these are 20 of them. I will be listing and saying a little about some of them, but to see the whole thing, go to www.blueskyinnovation.com. //// 20. THE VACUUM CLEANER 1868-- Before 1868 and Ives W. McGaffey, "cleaning up" meant sweeping. McGaffey used prior technology in the area and created a $25 *(a real lot of money back then) machine that used a hand crank and models were sold in Chicago and Boston. Most were lost in the Chicago Fire of 1871, but two remain. // 19. MAIL-ORDER RETAIL (1872)-- Aaron Montgomery Ward came up with the idea of mail-order retail. In those days before the malls and such, store owners had the local monopoly and middle men ran up prices. Ward's idea was to buy inventory with cash, cut selling costs by eliminating retail overhead and deliver drygoods at local train stations. Farmers were his primary market. Sears soon followed suit and the great catalogs came to be. I sure loved looking at the catalogs while I was growing up, especially the Christmas ones when I was a kid. //// Especially the Soldier sets Like Blue and Gray. --Cooter

Ten Coolest Archaeological Discoveries of 2013

8. ROYAL TOMB-- A 1200-year-old royal tomb discovered in pristine condition in Peru. //// 9. VANISHING EUROPEANS-- Ancient inhabitants of Europe mysteriously disappeared 4,500 years ago. A 7,500-year-old skeleton found in Central Europe suggests the genetic makeup of the continent was different back then. // Humans spread out from Turkey and the Near East after the Agricultural Revolution and subjugated hunter-gatherers. But, 4,500 years ago, they too were subjugated. //// 10. "ICEMAN'S" RELATIVES-- Some Europeans living today may be related to the Iceman Otzi found in the Italian Alps. Old Otzi may have as many as 19 living relatives according to genetic analysis. //// Otzi Would be So Proud. --DaCoot

Ten Coolest Archaeological Discoveries of 2013-- Part 2

Continued from January 11, 2014. //// 5. WAR'S DESTRUCTION-- Syria. With no one to protect it, the ancient Roman city of Apamea is riddled with looting holes. Ebla, containing thousands of cuneiform tablets, has been thoroughly looted. (Not excatly sure why they included this in the "Cool" category. It is anything but "cool." //// 6. HEROD'S TOMB?-- At the Herodium complex he had built. There is some doubt, however, because of its shoddy and poor construction. The man built magnificent structures. //// 7. STONE HENGE HUNTING GROUNDS-- the area around it might have been a sacred hunting ground where animals used for feasts congregated. Humans came to Stonehenge to feast. //// --Still Not Sure About #5. --Cooter

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Short Winter Olympics Timeline-- Part 2

1980: Now known as "The Miracle On Ice" the U.S. men's hockey team upsets the supposedly invincible Soviet team. //// 1984: Ice dancers JAYNE TORVILL and CHRISTOPHER DEAN receive 12 perfect 6.0s for their interpretation of Bolero in Sarajevo. //// 1988: The JAMAICAN BOBSLED TEAM is disqualified after crashing, but become the subject of the 1993 comedy Cool Runnings (with Coach John Candy). //// 1994: Figure skating teammates NANCY KERRIGAN and TONYA HARDING face off seven weeks after the infamous clubbing incident. //// So, Now You Know. --DaCoot

A Short Winter Olympics Timeline-- Part 1

From the Jan.-Feb. AARP Bulletin. //// 1960: WALT DISNEY produces the opening and closing ceremonies in Squaw Valley, California. //// 1968: In his native France, JEAN-CLAUDE KILLY wins the triple crown of alpine skiing. //// 1972: COLORADO voters reject public funding of the 1976 games, forcing them to be moved from Denver to Innsbrook, Austria. //// 1976: Figure skater DOROTHY HAMILL sports a perky bobbed hairstyle on her way to gold-- and a lucrative contract with Clairol.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Short History of the Winter Olympics

From Wikipedia. //// There was a Winter Olympics in the Jan-Feb AARP Bulletin which I will later give you, but no mention of when it began. Plus, I have been seeing a lot of commercials for it on NBC, who evidently is carrying it. //// I was sure it wasn't part of the Olympics back during the time of The Greeks or even when it started up again in the late 1890s. //// The Winter Olympics started in 1924 and were first held in France. Original competitions were in Alpine and cross country skiing, figure and speed skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined and ski jumping. //// It was held until 1936 and after that was interrupted by World War II. It started again in 1948. There is a bit of interesting history of it in World War II and I'll write about that in my World War II blog today. Until 1992, it was held the same year as the summer Olympics. //// --Cooter

Friday, January 17, 2014

Deaths: Partridge Family, Gilligan's Island

I was really sorry to hear this morning that two of the actors from two of my favorite sitcoms back in the 60s and 70s died yesterday. RUSSELL JOHNSON, 89, "GILLIGAN'S ISLAND"-- Played Professor Roy Hinkley on "Gilligan's Island" which ran 1964-1967, who was "always one coconut away finding a way off of Gilligan's Island. He was a distinguished World War II veteran so I will be writing more about him in my Tattooed On Your Soul blog. //// DAVE MADDEN, 82 "THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY" Born 1931, died January 16, 2014. Played manager Reuben Kincaid to the group on "The Partridge Family" TV Sitcom which ran from 1970-1974. H ewas also on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" and played Earl Hicks on the sitcom "Alice." I always loved him against Danny. //// Finish This "The Professor and ____ ___."

Thursday, January 16, 2014

And, We've Had Bad Winters Before-- Part 2

Back in January 1979, Chicagoans were already sick of snow. During an average winter, we get about 40 inches of the stuff, bringing out the famed "holders" for shoveled parking spots. However, that year, more than 30 inches had already fallen. Fears were that there would be more snow than the 77-78 winter when more than 85 inches fell. //// And, like this year, back then it was mighty cold as well. The 76-77 season had a 19 degree average, third lowest in Chicago history. The next winter it warmed up to 19.1 degrees, but the 1978-1979 winter was 18.4 degrees. //// I sure remember those three winters as I did not have a snowblower, but was much younger. I still didn't like all the shoveling and the 78-79 winter I was running out of places to throw the snow. I had snow piled 3-4 feet on the sides of the driveway. The roof of the local K-Mart on Rollins Road collapsed with snow accumulation and Round Lake Beach made national headlines. //// Believe me, you couldn't even find a snowblower the following year, which was supposed to be even worse than the previous three. //// Fortunately, it wasn't and we began a lot of years of what I considered reasonable winters. Yes, we did have snow and yes, it did get cold, but entirely acceptable in my estimation. //// This continued until about seven years ago when they started getting bad again, forcing Liz and me to head for warmer climes in Florida for part of January and February. //// Gettin' Ready to GET Outta HERE. --DaCoot

And, We've Had Bad Winters Before-- Part 1

From the January 5, 2014, Chicago Tribune "Chicago Flashback: '79 blizzard was debacle" by Stephan Benzkofer. //// It definitely hasn't been a great winter here in the Midwest Chicagoland area. We're approaching the annual average of snow already and, man has it been c-o-l-d!!! But, we've had them before. //// We had that Blizzard of '67 and then there were three straight winters in the late 1970s that just about did it for me as far as living here. //// January 13, 1979, we had this Blizzard of 1979. It was supposed to be a minor 2-4 inches, but over that weekend, 20.3 inches of snow was dumped on the Chicagoland area, at the time the second largest snowfall ever. It brought Chicago to a standstill and the City Hall's poor handling of it, broke the Machine's hold and caused Jane Bryne to beat Mayor Michael Bilandic in the Democratic primary and become Chicago's next mayor. (In Chicago, the Republicans don't stand a chance, so whoever wins the Democratic primary will be the next mayor.) //// Where "Let It Snow" Is Not a Liked Expression. --Cooter

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Extreme Weather-- Part 4

8. MARK TWAIN probably never said, "The coldest winter I ever spent was in San Francisco." There is no evidence. //// The Coast Guard's ice breaker POLAR STAR, which recently rescued ships stuck in sea ice near Antarctica, can cruise at 3 knots an hour through ice six-feet thick. And it could clear a path through 21-feet thick ice if needed. //// 40 below zero could either be Celcius or Fahrenheit because at that temperature the two are the same. //// Another Great Article From the Intrepid ResearchersMark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer. And, You Thought the Winter This Year Was Bad. You Could Always Get Hit On teh Head by a Bowling Ball-Sized Hailstone. --Cooter

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Extreme Weather-- Part 3

6. Isaac Cline, head of the U.S. Weather Bureau office in Galveston, Texas, wrote in 1891 that it was absurd to think that a tropical storm would ever hit the TEXAS COAST. Nine years later, a hurricane devastated GALVESTON, TEXAS, killing around 8,000. //// 7. NORTH AMERICA is the world's dustbin. Millions of tons of Asian dust from massive Gobi Desert storms regularly cross the Pacific to the U.S. Also, Saharan dust has crossed the Atlantic to the east coast. This dust in the east create beatiful sunsets and help tamp down hurricane activity. //// And, then There Was All That Dust From Mt. St. Helens. --DaCoot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Extreme Weather-- Part 2

Pictures and capptions accompany the article. //// 3. Emperor penguins huddle togetehr to survive the Antarctic cold and a jack rabbit's ears help it stay cool in the desert, but the AMERICAN WOOD FROG survives winter by freezing because of its anti-freeze-like blood. //// 4. From the 1880s to 1930s, U.S. government agencies were forbidden to even mention TORNADOES. There was a fear that inaccurate forecasts would panic the public. The result was hundred dead, even when forecasters were certain that there would be those unmentionables. //// 5. The highest temperature ever recorded in ILLINOIS was July 14, 1914, in East St. Louis at 117 degrees. //// --Cooter

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

USS New Hampshire, Ship-of-the-Line

The last two days I have been writing about the loss of the last existing U.S. ship-of-the-line, the USS New Hampshire in 1922. It had actually sunk twice in the last two years it was afloat. You can find the posts in my Not So Forgotten: The War of 1812 blog. --DaCoot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Extreme Weather-- Part 1

From the Jan. 12, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer. Appropriate after that "V" thing we had last Monday and Tuesday. //// 1. Thousands of FISH, FROGS AND CRAYFISH rained own on Thomasville, Alabama, on June 28, 1957 during a bad storm. Some believe a tornado some 15 miles away sent then airborne. //// 2. In case you're wondering, HAILSTONE SIZES start at marble, then go through: penny, nickel, quarter, half dollar, walnut, golf ball, hen egg, tennis ball, baseball, teacup, grapefruit and lastly a softball according to the Storm protection Center. But, the LARGEST HAILSTONE ever recorded fell in Vivian, S.D., in 2005 and was the size of a bowling ball. //// I Sure Wouldn't Want to Get Bonked By That Bowling Ball Hailstone!! --Cooter

Monday, January 13, 2014

Kansas City's Liberty Memorial Readies for World War Centennial

From the Jan. 10, 2014, Kansas City (Mo) Stae "As World War I centennial approaches, Liberty Memorial museum will take center stage" by Matt Campbell. //// The Liberty Museum is the largest repository of Great War items other than London's Imperial War Museum. //// The Society for Military History will have 600 in attendance for their annual meeting at the museum in April. The World War I Centennial Commission, created by Congress, is anchored at the Liberty Memorial and will hold a conference in August which will be streamed online under the heading "Guns of August." //// World War I was the first modern mechanized war and led to the collapse of empires. The beginning of the war will be marked this August, but another peak interest will be in 2017, the 100th anniversary of the United States' entry into it. //// The Liberty Memorial Association is a private group, but manages the publicly-owned monument and will also be striving to raise money with the increased interest. It had its inception back in 1919, when Kansas City raised $2.5 million to create the Liberty Memorial which was dedicated in 1925. //// A Place I'd Sure Like to Visit This Year. --DaCot

U.S. Ships-of-the-Line

I have been writing about the United States ships-of-the-line in my Not So Forgetten War of 1812 blog this last week. A few ships dated before the War of 1812, but others were built with the realization of British seapower. One of the ships, the USS New Hampshire, then called the USS Granite City, survived until 1921/1922, but caught fire twice, sinking in the Hudson River by New York City, later raised and towed to Maine. Along the way, it caught fire again and sank where it remains to this day. --Cooter

Saturday, January 11, 2014

10 Coolest Archaeolgical Discoveries of 2013-- Part 1

From the Dec. 31, 2013, Yahoo! News/Live Science by Tia Ghose. //// 1. RICHARD III BONES-- discovered in Leicester, England, under a parking lot. How far the mighty have fallen. //// 2. ROYAL SQUASH?-- A gourd was found with images of the French Revolution that contained the blood of beheaded King Louis XVI of France. Legend has it that a bystander at the execution scoopd the blood up in their handkerchief and stashed it in the squash. //// PRINCE...OOPS!-- Tomb of an Etruscan warrior prince and his wife found, but what they thought was the prince was actually a princess. //// 4. OLDEST ROCK ART-- Found at a dried-up lake in a Nevada desert dating back to 10,500 to 14,800 years. The oldest art found in North America. //// More to Come. --Cooter

Friday, January 10, 2014

Michigan's Role in World War I-- Part 2: Mi. WWI Reports

World War still doesn't get much respect here in the United States. There is a national memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, but not one in Washington, D.C., other than the one honoring D.C. veterans of the war. //// Back in the 1960s with the Vietnam War going on, people were largely uninterested in commemorating in 50th anniversary of the war in 1964 or the U.S. entry in 1967. As such, Dennis Skupinski started collecting World War I items and it wasn't very expensive as the old veterans were dying off and relatives were clearing out their stuff. //// The 116th regiment had many Detroit notables and trained at the Detroit fairgrounds and were one of the first units to go to France in 1917. Some 80% of the regiment were from the Detroit area. //// Skupinski has been posting Michigan World War I Centennial Reports on YouTube. //// More to Come. --DaCoot

Michigan's Role in World War I-- Part 1

From the Dec. 24, 2013, Michigan Observer & Eccentric "Grassroots efforts focus on Michigan's role in World War I" by Sue Mason. //// What with this year's 100th anniversary of the start of the War to End All Wars (and upcoming 2017 anniversary of the United Staes' entry into it), I'll be writing about it here in this blog. I'm hoping not to begin an eighth blog in 2017. //// Dennis Skupinski of Ann Arbor is looking to get people to help him observe the 100th anniversary of World War I in 2014. He is especially interested in the U.S. entrance and Michigan's role. The Michigan Historical Society likes the idea, but is waiting for the governor's approval. //// His interest in the war stems back to the 1960s when he was 14 when his uncle was cleaning out his late father-in-law's house so he could rent it and was getting rid of some stuff. Skupinski got the stuff, including a book "The History of the 116th Regiment of Engineers (Railway)" about Detroit's only all vomunteer regiment of World War I, printed in 1939. He also received a soldier's tunic, helmet, gas mask and other items. //// World War I. --Cooter

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Oldest Surviving GTTW Cast Member Dies

Alicia Rhett, 98. Played Ashley Wilkes' sister, India Wilkes. I will write more about it in my Saw the Elephant Civil War Blog later today.

Seven Most Mysterious Archaeological Finds on Earth

From the July 22, 2010, Love Science by Heather Whipps. //// I'm just listing. The site has pictures and more information: 1. Atlantis // 2. Stonehenge // 3. Ancient Animal Traps? in Israel, Egypt and Jordan // 4. ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM-- Found on a sunken Greek cargo ship believed to be at least 2,000 years old with a maze of interlocking gears and mysterious etched characters. // 5. Nazca Lines // 6. Great Pyramids // 7. GOBEKLI TEPE-- Turkey, considered to be the oldest place of worship. //// I'd never heard of 3. 4 or 7. I've seen 2 and 6 thanks to Mom. //// DaCoot

Famous Capitol Dome Begins 2-Year Renovation

From the Dec. 25, 2013, Yahoo! News "2-year renovation starts for Capitol's famous dome" AP, by Charles Babington. //// It's been wrecked time and again on diaster flicks (most recently I saw it get nailed on "2012"), but still, safer than the White House, especially against terrorist attacks if you believe the movies of the last year. And, it will cost $60 million, but, hey, it's a big symbol of the United States. //// Starting in the spring, scaffolding will encircle the icon with the intention of stripping multiple layers of paint and repair the more than 1,000 cracks and broken pieces in it. Through it all, it will remain illuminated at night, scaffolding and all. Water has been seeping in through the cracks and is rusting the cast iron in the dome. //// Work on it begins just as the nearby Washington Monument sheds its scaffolding from repairs resulting from that 2011 earthquake. //// Washington, D.C. limits buildings to no more than 130 feet because of the Capitol Dome. It was only half-completed during the Civil War and this is the first major renovation in 50 years. //// Actually, the famed Dome consists of two domes, one under and supporting the outer one that we see as it would be too heavy otherwise. The dome's iron and masonry weigh 14.1 million pounds and the 150-year-old cast iron skeleton is of low quality by today's standards. //// Dome Me. --Cooter

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

50th Anniversary of the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair: New Technology

From the Jan. 5, 2014, Parade Magazine "Picks: "Remember the 1964 World's Fair?" //// How about that, along with the Beatles fifty years ago, we got the New York World's Fair. It introduced technology we take for granted today. According to Joseph Tirella, author of the new book "Tomorrow-Land" these are some of the Fair's best innovations: 1. COLOR TELEVISION We could now see what our favorite TV statrs and shows looked like in color and 25-years after the black-and-white TVs came out at the 1939 New York World's Fair. //// 2. DISNEY'S "AUDIO-ANIMATRONICS" Walt Disney hired engineers he called "Imagineers" to create singing robots, including ones from that "It's a Small World." (Doggone it, I have that song in my head now!!! Thanks, Walt!!) //// . PICTUREPHONE Four decades before Skype the Bell telephone company unveiled its phone gadget that allowed us to see who we were talking to. (That won't be so cool with all the folks talking on phones in their bathroom stalls.) //// And, the article closed with the question "Which classic American car was introduced at the fair? You can find out at parade.com/world. //// Not Ready For Picture Phones in Bathroom Stalls. --Cooter

Typing Through Time

From the Jan.5-11 American Profile "Typewriter Repairman" by Marti Attoun. //// An article about Anthony Casillo. I swore I would always use my typewriter and never these 'puters, but now I'm not even sure where that old typewriter is. So it goes. But I did find the "Typing through time" sidebar interesting. "Although writing machines were invented in the early 1700s, the first practical typewriter was patented in 1868. //// Working in a machine shop in Milwaukee, Wis., Christopher Latham Sholes and his colleagues perfected the typewriter and arranged the lettered keys as they are today. //// In 1874, E. Remington & Sons, a firearms and sewing machine manufacturer in Llion, NY, began producing Sholes & Glidden typewriters. //// In the 1980s, computers with memories and editing capabilities began to replace the typewriter." //// I must admit, the computers are much easier to correct than the old way. How about a company that produces fire arms, sewing machines and typewriters? //// I've Seen One Person Playing NTN Using the Name QWERTY. Wonder Where He Got That? --DaCoot

James Garner-- One of My Favorites

From the Jan. 5-11 American Profile Magazine "Ask American Profile." //// Someone wrote in and asked "Where was James Garner born, how old is he, and does he have any children?" //// Garner, 85, was born and raised in Norman, Oklahoma. He and his wife Lois have been married for 57 years and he has a daughter and stepdaughter. //// He was the star of TV shows "Maverick" and "Rockford Files." His movies include: "The Great Escape," "Support Your Local Sheriff," "Murphy's Romance" and "Space Cowboys." His autobiography "The Garner Files" came out in 2011. //// He always reminds me of my dad. //// --Cooter

Monday, January 6, 2014

Want to Call Al Capone?

The My Al Capone Museum website has a scetion of a 1923 Chicago phonebook with Al's phone number. Under the CAPONE name heading, it had: Al 7244 Prairie Ave and the number VIN (cus) 6149. I'm not sure what the cus stood for, perhaps customer? //// Hey, Al... --DaCoot

How Would You Like to Own Al Capone's House in Chicago?--

From the Dec. 25, 2008, Chicago Tribune "Notoriety could be a selling point" by Joel Hood. //// "Want to own a notorious piece of Chicago history? The modest, red-brick home once owned by Al Capone is expected to hit the market this spring for an estimated $450,000, marking a new chapter for the infamous South Side landmark that has had just two owners since the death of Capone's mother in 1952." //// Barbara Hogsette, 71, has owned the house since 1963, but plans to move to california. //// The house has stood at 7244 Prairie Avenue for over a century. Cook County records show that Al Capone bought the home in August 1923 for $5,500. //// Capone was in his early 20s when he moved to Chicago from Brooklyn but he already had bootlegging, gambling and prostitution rackets going on in town. //// He wanted a safe haven for his mother Teresa and she and his wife Mae signed the deed. Nonetheless, Chicago police kept watch on the house and, in december 1927 were outside the home waiting to arrest Capone if he stepped outside. He later left and wasn't arrested, but continued his operations elsewhere for four more years before being arrested for tax evasion. //// You can see pictures and get more information atthe My Al Capone Museum site at www.myalcaponemuseum.com. //// Al Capone Slept here? --Cooter

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Jack the Ripper...in Illinois?-- Part 2

The November 1945 Chicago Tribune revisited the case of the death of Daniel Stott and reported that he was living alone, over the age of 60 and subject of attack from his malady (epilepsy). He decided to acquire the services of a housekeeper and hired one who had worked at the Belvidere (Ill.) honme of Myron Avery. Mr. Stott and the housekeeper (much younger than him) ended up getting married around 1880. //// The Oct. 28, 2008 RR Star mentioned that Daniel Stott was a depot agent (good pension and/or salary). //// And the Plot Thickens. More to Come. --Cooter

Jack the Ripper...In Illinois?-- Part 1

Back on December 31, 2013, I wrote about a possible victim of England's famed Jack the Ripper being buried out in a cemetery in Boone County, Illinois. I always thought Jack the Ripper to be strictly an English thing, so had to do more research. I found that this could be a great murder mystery plot with all sorts of twists and turns that I came across as I delved deeper into it. //// Many people Jack the Ripper to be this Dr. Cream. //// Before reading the rest, refer back to the Dec. 31, 2013, blog entries on the subject. ///// The Boone County Historical Society has a website and has a complete file on the murder of Mason (I'm presuming this name refers to the group he belonged to) Daniel Stott. //// A person wrote Ancestry.com looking for information on Daniel Stott saying he was Mr. Stott's GGG Grandson. //// Geneaology.com said Mrs. Stott left jail in 1882. //// The Nov. 16, 1882, Daily Citizen from Iowa City, Iowa reported that Daniel Stott was 73 (born 1808) and his wife was 33 (born 1848). That is an interesting difference in age. ///// And It gets Better. --DaCoot

Shorpy Photo: USNA Class of '92 (As in 1892)

The Dec. 22, 2013, Shorpy had an interesting picture of the United States Naval Academy's Class of 1892, including one midshipman who later became Commandant of the USMC from 1934-1936, Major-General John R. Russell. //// These men served in the Spanish-American War as junior officers and were involved with the rise of the Dreadnaught battleships as well as submarines and aviation. Quite a change to naval technology. They served as senior officers in World War I. //// --Cooter

Friday, January 3, 2014

That Bennigan's Restaurant Chain

From the July 30, 2008, Chicago Tribune. //// I remember going to Bennigan's ion several different locations, especially because a lot of their places had NTN/Buzztime, a game we love to play. Most often, we went to the one in Lake Zurich, Illinois, for NTN, drink specials and those absolutely fantastic Monte Cristo sandwiches. We've never had better ones. The Bennigan's in Springfield, Illinois, at the Hilton Hotel reopened, so we can still get our M.C.'s. I remember watching a great Illinois-Arizona basketball game resulting in an Illinois victory and a trip to the Final Four at the Bennigan's in Champaign-Urbana. We sure had a great time that night!!! //// Bennigan's was/is a sports and Irish pub and famous for, like I said, its Monte Cristo sandwich. The chain started in 1976, not long after T.G.I. Friday's pioneered the bar-and-grill chain concept. Bennigan's grew along with the casual dining sector. //// However, starting in the 1990s, Bennigan's became just another casual dining place as the market was flooded with similar-themed places and the casual dining market steadily diminished. //// By 2008, the chain faced problems from food inflation, increased minimum wage and a drop in consumer demand because of the economy. In 2008 the parent company declared bankruptcy and closed its 150 corporate locations, although some 31 have since reopened in 11 states. //// Getting Hungry for a You-Know-What. --DaCoot

Chicago's Eastland Disaster Largely Forgotten

From the July 25, 2008, Chicago Tribune "Eastland." Gladys Blum, 82, aid her father had been lucky and survived when the ship rolled over in twenty feet of water and said he never would talk much about it, but did say he climbed up on the hull and saved several people. //// The SS Eastland was nicknamed the Speed Queen of the Great Lakes and was just getting ready to shove off when it began to list and rolled over on its port side with an estomated 2,500 people. It was taking employees of the Western Electric Company to an outing in Michigan City, Indiana. //// Sad, But Mostly Forgotten.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

TV Stars Who Died in 2013-- Part 2

ALLAN ARBUS, 95-- Dr. Freedman on "MASH" //// FRANK BANK, 71-- Lumpy on "Leave It to Beaver" //// JONATHAN WINTERS, 87-- The baby on "Mork & Mindy." Between Mork and him it's a wonder how anybody kept a straight face. //// ANNETTE FUNICELLO, 70-- "Mickey Mouse Club" and movies. I'd have married her even if I had to wear mouse ears. //// ROGER EBERT, 70-- Movie critic on "Siskel & Ebert," Thumbs Up!! //// MALACHI THRONZ, 84-- False Face on "Batman."//// LOU MYERS, 76-- Restaurant owner Mr. Gaines on "A Different World" //// BONNIE FRANKLIN, 69--Mother on "One Day At a Time." I liked her and Scneider. //// NED WERTIMER, 89-- Ralph the doorman on "The Jeffersons." //// I'll Miss Them.

TV Stars Who Died in 2013-- Part 1

From Yahoo! TV. These are not everyone in their list, just the ones inmportant whose shows I watched. //// SHIRLEY MITCHELL, 94-- The only surviving adult cast member of "I Love Lucy." Also on "Beverly Hillbillies," "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Three's Company." //// MARCIA WALLACE, 70-- Receptionist on "The Bob Newhart Show." Also the voice of Bart's long-suffering teacher on "The Simpsons." I didn't know that. //// LISA ROBIN KELLY, 43-- Played Eric Foreman's sister Laurie. //// DENNIS FARINA, 69-- "Law & Order." //// JEAN STAPLETON, 90-- "All in the Family": The one I'll miss the most. Her portrayal of Edith was something else. Always reminded me of my mother-in-law, Frances. //// More to Come.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

I'll Be Watching "The Parade" and, Of Course, Those Bowl Games

I'll be firmly parked in front of that 55-inch HDTV in a little while. That size and color should make the whole Tournament of Roses Parade all the better. And, those floats. Wow! Each one is impressive. And, I am a big-time flower guy. Yhe article I used for the last entries mentions that some of the more intricate floats start construction nine months earlier and that the flowers, all live ones, are hand-placed mostly by volunteers in the hours leading up to the parade. //// Liz and I briefly considered going to the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego the day after Christmas and then just hang around Southern California until Jan. 1st to see the parade, something I really want to do. //// Also, I love the horse groups and, of course, the marching bands of which there will be twenty including the Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Marching Band which has been in every parade since 1920. //// Another dozen marching bands are from high schools, always a huge honor to march in it. Selections for these are made two years in advance so members can raise money. //// Bring it On! --Cooter

There's A Reason They Call the Rose Bowl the Grandfather of All Bowl Games

From the Dec. 29-Jan. 4, 2014, American Profile Magazine "Tournament of Roses" by Marti Attoun. //// "Football became part of the Tournament of Roses in 1902 when the first post-season collegiate game ever was played on New Year's Day in Tournament Park in Pasadena. During that matchup, Michigan routed Stanford 49-0. (And Stanford is back again this year.) //// In 1916, football became a permanent Tournament of Roses tradition. Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena hosted its first Rose Bowl game in 1923. 2014 marks the 100th Rose Bowl Game." //// And, I always like it when the game matches the Best Pac 10 (or whatever number it is now) versus the Big Ten, 11, 12, 13 or 14, take your pick. //// Go Green and White. --DaCoot

The Tournament of Roses Parade-- Part 2: History (Which Came First, the Parade or Game?)

It (the parade) all started 125 years ago when the American West, especially California, was still largely unknown to folks back east and the Hunt Valley Club organized the first Rose Parade and held it on New Year's Day in 1890 as a way to promote the blooms and beauty os Pasadena, California. //// This was a way to show to people in the snowy Northeast and Midwest (no kidding, there was a half-inch on the ground yesterday morning and then it started snowing yesterday afternoon about 4 and is snowing right now. Last night, I used the snowblower on 4-5 inches.) how great it was out there. //// For the first parade, members of the fox hunting and social club twined roses around the spokes of horse carriage wheels and through their horses' tails and manes. They also had foot races, polo matches and a tug-of-war. //// New Year's Day was picked to have it as it is a time full of hope and aspiration for the year ahead. //// Right off the bat, this was a popular event and in 1895, the Tournament of Roses Association was formed to manage it. //// Early tournaments featured chariot races, ostrich races and once even a race between an elephant and camel. All that was replaced by a football game which became an annual tradition starting in 1916. This year's Michigan State-Stanford games marks the 100th fgame, although one, in 1942, was held in Durham, North Carolina, coming as it did within weeks of Pearl Harbor. I wrote about in posts on this blog. //// So, There's Your Answer. --Cooter

The Tournament of Roses Parade-- Part 1

From the Dec. 29-Jan. 4, 2014, American Profile Magazine by Marti Attoun. //// Kelly Roberts, 44, of Downey, California, has a 25-year passion about this parade of all parades, and that is to design, build, decorate and drive floats for his city in the 125-year-old Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. //// Downey, California, has been in the parade since 1955. //// The theme of this year's parade is "Dreams Come True" and Downey's entry is a Cinderella glass-slipper. Walnuts were ground up to create wood-like railings, crushed poppy seeds to color a water fountain and fresh orchids to resemble falling water and dazzling scroll-work from 15,000 fresh pink, red and yellow roses. I'll sure be looking for this one. //// Through the decades, the highly decorated carriages and wagons have been replaced by huge mechanized and animated floats, most built by professional parade companies like the Fiesta Parade Floats in Irwindale, California. Most floats are 55-feet long, but in 2011, there was one 120-feet long that featured a 6,600 wave pool. It had to be specially built to maneuver around street corners. //// Always One Impressive Parade. --DaCoot

Happy New Year and 2875th Post

Preparing for what should be another "fast" year. Man, time sure flies as you get older. I remember back in elementary school when the academic year went forever, but at least the summer went nearly as long...or so it seemed. //// This is my 2875th post to Cooter's History Thing, a blog that started at the end of 2007 when I decided I was writing too much history in my Down Da Road I Go blog. This was my tyhird blog (of seven). //// I called it "Cooter's History Thing as no one can take a person named Cooter too seriously. My two Civil War blogs and WWII one grew out of this one. The blog is about any history I find interesting other than the Civil War, War of 1812 and World War II, although there is music history in the Down Da Road I Go and lots of history in my RoadDog's RoadLog Blog (Og, Og, Og) which was my very first blog. //// Eight Years of "Wasting" My Time. --Cooter