Thursday, December 31, 2015

1915 Fire Reporting in DeKalb, Ill.: Early 911, Nipping It in the Bud

From the Dec. 29, 2015, MidWeek "Looking Back."

From Dec. 23, 1915, 100 years ago.

"The chief of the fire department asks The Chronicle to inform the people of the city that in case there is a fire to report that they do not take time to call the fire department headquarters on the telephone but just tell the operator 'fire call.'

"There is a special fire circuit by means of which the operator can send in an alarm without using the regular phone to the station and by this doing away with the calling of the number and letting the firemen realize instantly that a fire awaits them, several seconds can be saved which may mean the difference between a costly fire and one nipped in the bud."


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Second Battle of Aqua Priete, Mexican Revolution-- Part 2

From Wikipedia.

This was the battle Clayton Waterman of Sycamore, Illinois, participated in.

In early November 1915, the forces of Pancho Villa and the Constitutionalists fought at Aqua Priete, across the Rio grande River from Douglas, Arizona.  Pancho Villa's forces lost the battle and he attributed it to American interference especially from the large searchlights they turned on his troops.  This battle led to to even more disastrous Battle of Hermosillo on 15 November.

This engagement is referred to as the Second Battle of Aqua Priete.

The Constitutionalists at the battle were led by future Mexican President Plutarco Elias Calles, a supporter of Venustiano Carranza.  His force consisted of 6,500 while Villa had 15,000 troops.

Because of his blaming American forces for his defeat, he eventually attacked the American city of Columbus, New Mexico.

Camp Davis was built in Douglas, Arizona, in 1910.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Second Battle of Aqua Prieta: Mexican Revolution-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

On Saturday Dec. 26, 2015, I wrote about an article in the Sycamore, Illinois, newspaper from 1915 describing the role that Lt. Clayton Waterman from Sycamore had at Douglas, Arizona, involving the Mexicans.  I was unaware of this battle (or its name) and definitely confused by the statement where the American commander, General Thomas F. Davis "warned the contending armies to change the direction of their fire."

Were the Americans involved in the fighting, if so, why would they be warned about the direction of their fire?

I had to do some more research.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Halloween Pranks Back in 1940

From the MidWeek "Looking Back."

Seventy-five years ago after Halloween.

"It is greatly to be regretted that some young people have so little respect for the property of others as evidenced by the damage done to county school houses during the past week.

"The sawyer school had two panes of glass broken from the front door by stones thrown deliberately, while the Coolidge school suffered damage also."

Maybe those Kids Back in the Day Weren't So Well behaved.  --CootDidn'tDoIter

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Battling Against Mexicans in 1915: Local Boy Fighting

From the Nov. 11, 2015, MidWeek "Looking Back."

November 1915:  Lieutenant Clayton Waterman, a former Sycamore boy, likely stationed in Douglas, Arizona, and formerly for some time in the Philippines, is actively engaged near Douglas in the trouble with Mexico.

"In the battle just across the American line shots went across to American soil, and general Thomas F. davis, commanding 6,000  American troops on the border warned the contending armies to change the direction of their fire."


Halloween Pranks Back in 1915: Soaping the Tracks

From the November 11, 2015, Sycamore (Ill.) MidWeek "Looking Back."

November 1915, 100 years ago:  ""Street car boys in Sycamore reported that yesterday morning the rails of their line over Sycamore had been soaped supposedly by Halloween celebrators of that city.  This is a very dangerous practice and might have resulted in the loss of life had it not been discovered in time.

"If the boys who did this trick are apprehended, we understand they will be dealt with severely."


Friday, December 25, 2015

"A Christmas Story" Inside Scoop on the Triple-Dare-Dare"-- Part 2

According to Scott Schwartz he did not injure his tongue on that really cold day.  It was very cold, but the prop department had slid a piece of plastic over the pole and had cut a little hole in it with a suction tube and a little motor like a vacuum cleaner.

This made his tongue seem to stick to the icy pole.

The scene was filmed on two days of intense cold with wind chills down to -20 to -25 degrees.


"A Christmas Story":The Inside Scoop On the "Triple-Dog-Dare"-- Part 1

From the Dec. 12, 2015, Yahoo! Movies "That 'Christmas Story' Frozen Tongue Scene: The Inside Scoop on the Triple Dog dare" by Joal Ryan.

As I take a little break (or is it a brake) from chain-watching "A Christmas Story" on TNT (my favorite Christmas movie).

Scott Schwartz, now 47 and president of a child actor advisory group, was briefly on a #1 Box Office hit that quickly faded, but regained public awareness and popularity when it became a cable TV 24-hour marathon.

That movie, of course, "A Christmas Story"

He spent about six weeks working on the movie in 1983 and was 14 at the time and was a "pro" as he had already worked on "The Toy" the year before with Richard Pryor.

Schwartz was cast as Flick, best friend of Ralphie and says he gets calls from reporters every year around this time about his famous tongue-on-the-flagpole scene which showed school yard politics at their most intense (well, intense for back then).

And...  --Cooter

Thursday, December 24, 2015

WLS Top 40 Survey for December 24, 1965-- Part 5: "We Can Work It Out"

To see #40 to #11, go to my Down Da Road I Go Blog for the last several days.

10.  SHE'S A MUST TO AVOID--  Herman's Hermits
9.  JUST LIKE ME--  Paul Revere
8.  IL SILENZIO-- Nini Rosso   Italian jazz trumpeter and composer. (1926-1994)  Song went to #1 in Italy, Gerany, Austria and Switzerland and sold over 5 million copies.  Didn't chart in U.S., but at least made it to top ten in Chicago.

7.  IT'S GOOD NEWS WEEK--  Hedgehoppers Anonymous
6.  SOUNDS OF SILENCE--  Simon & Garfunkel
5.  TASTE OF HONEY--  Tiquana Brass
4.  OVER AND OVER--  Dave Clark Five

3.  5 O'CLOCK WORLD--  Vogues
2.  LET'S HANG ON--  Four Seasons

Name That Tune:  "Well I Went to a Dance Just the Other Night."  --RoadDog

MEMORY LANE:  "Coast-to-Coast"  Used to be an exciting term, now mostly replaced with world-wide or world-class.

"Over and Over"

Ten Things You Didn't Know About "Miracle on 34th Street"-- Part 2: Natalie Wood Thought Gwen Really Was Santa Claus

6.  Macy's and Gimbel's didn't consent to have their names used in the movie until filming was completed.

7.  O'Hara  never wanted the film to be colorized.

8.  Natalie Wood thought Gwenn really was Santa Claus.

9.  Macy's closed early so emp[loyees could see the film.  Some 12,000 workers got a half day off.

10.  They almost couldn't film the final shot (by the house) because the weather was bitter cold.

Great Movie and One I Always Look Forward to Seeing Come This Time of Year.  --Cooter

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ten Things You Didn't Know About "Miracle on 34th Street"-- Part 1: A Real Parade

From Country Living.  Has pictures and more information.

This past Monday, we watched the remake and colorized versions of the movie.  It is my fourth favorite Christmas movie.

1.  Co-stars were good friends off screen: Maureen O'har (Doris), Edmund Gwenn (Santa) and John Payne (Fred)

2.  The Thanksgiving Day Parade scene was actually completely real.

3.  Edmund Gwenn's cousin, Cecil Kellaway, almost played the role og Kris Kringle.

4.  The film's writer dreamed up the idea for the movie while waiting in line at a department store.

5.  John Payne really wanted to do a sequel.

Little Girl gets House and Father.  --DaChristmasCoot

By the Numbers: U.S. War Veterans-- Part 4-- Korean War to Desert Shield/Storm

KOREAN WAR  (1950-1953)

Service:  5,720,000
Casualties:  Deaths--  54,246 (36,574 in theater)  Wounded--  103,284
Estimated Living:  2,275,000

VIETNAM WAR  (1964-1975)

Service:  8,744,000  (estimated 3,403,000 deployed)
Deaths:  90,220  (58,220 in theater)  Wounded--  153,303
Estimated Living:  7,391,000


Service:  2,322,000  (694,550 deployed)
Casualties:  Deaths--  1,948  (383 in theater)  Wounded--  467
Estimated Living:  2,244,583  (2009 estimate and may include veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan

Lots of Wars.  --Cooter

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

By the Numbers: U.S. War Veterans-- Part 3: World War I and World War II

WORLD WAR I  (1917-1918)

Service:  4,734,991

Deaths:  405,399 (291,557 in battle)  Wounded  670,846

Last Veteran:  Frank Buckles, died 2011 at age 110.

WORLD WAR II  (1941-1945)

Service:  16,112,566

Died: 405, 359 (291,557 in battle)  Wounded:  670,846

Estimate Living:  1,711,100.


Monday, December 21, 2015

By the Numbers: U.S. War Veterans-- Part 2: Indian Wars to Spanish-American War

INDIAN WARS (1817-1898)

Service:  est. 106,000
Deaths:  1,100 est.
Last Veteran:  Fredrak Fraske, died 1973 at age 101.

MEXICAN WAR  (1846-1848)

Service: 78,718
Casualties:  13,283 dead, 4,152 wounded
Last veteran:  Owen Thomas Edgar, died 1929 at age 98.

CIVIL WAR (1861-1865)

Service:  Union 2,213, 363  Confederate 600,000 to 1,500,000
Casualties:  Union 364,511  Wounded 281,881  Confederate  unknown
Last Veteran:  John Sailing.  Died 1958 at age 112.


Service:  306,760
Casualties:  2,446 dead (385 in battle) Wounded 1,662
Last Veteran:  Nathan E. Cook died 1992 at age 106.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

By the Numbers: U.S. War Veterans-- Part 1: American Revolution and War of 1812

From the June 5, 2013, CNN U.S..

There are still 1.7 million Americans alive today who served in World War II  But, hundreds are dying every day.  The VA estimates that by 2036 there will be none alive.

The last American veteran of World War I was frank Buckles who died in February 2011.


Service: 184,000 to 250,000 estimated
Deaths:  4,435, Wounded: 6,188
Last veteran: Daniel F. Bakeman, died 1869 at age 104.

WAR OF 1812  (1812-1815)
Service: 286,730
Casualties:  Dead 2,260, Wounded: 4,505
Last veteran:  Hiram Cronk, died 1905 at age

Freedom Isn't Cheap.  --Cooter

Friday, December 18, 2015

German Bombardment of Hartlepool, England, in First World War

From the Dec. 15, 2015, ChronicleLive (UK) "Bombardment of Hartlepool in First World War to be marked by new museum gallery" by Tony Henderson.

This was the German Navy's first attack on a North East Town during the war.  just after 8 am on December 16, 1914, German warships commenced a bombardment of over a thousand shells on Hartlepool, killing 130 civilian and military personnel. and wounding more than five hundred.

The Hough Gun Battery on Headland returned their fire as best they could in what was the only battle to be fought on British soil during the war.

One of the battery's soldiers, Theo Jons of the Durham Light Infantry, became the first British soldier to be killed by the enemy on British soil.

There is a new permanent display at the Museum of Hartlepool.  It will have the role of the 130 killed at the battle as well as the "Bombardment Clock" which stopped when it was hit by a shell fragment.  In addition, it has a 6-inch shell fired by the German battlecruiser Blucher.

The German ships also included the Seydlitz and Moltke.


Stars Remember the First Record They Ever Bought

From April 12, 2015, Parade Magazine Picks.

KELLY CLARKSON--  "Purple Rain"--  Prince

GLORIA ESTEFAN--  "El Pequeno Ruisenor Joselito"

BARRY MANILOW--  "Goody Goody"--  Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers

CARLY SIMON--  "Guys and Dolls Original Broadway Cast Recording"

KEITH URBAN--  "Bobby Dazzley"--  various artists

FRANKIE VALLI--  "Stan Kenton and His Orchestra"

My first album was "Herman's Hermits Greatest Hits."


Thursday, December 17, 2015

About Those Old Record Stores and Albums-- Part 3

I usually make sure to visit my local old record store on this special Record Store Day in McHenry, Illinois, named The Vinyl Revolution.  That is a real good name for a record store.  Even though I usually buy their used CDs much more often than vinyl.

But, I am always glad to see young people in their teens looking and buying the vinyl.  there is hope yet.

In addition to the crowds attracted to the special day, dozens of artists released limited edition vinyl for this day:

"The Night We Called It a Day"--  Bob Dylan
"Greetings from Asbury Park"  --Bruce Springsteen
Wake Up to Find Out--  Grateful Dead
"Purple Haze/Freedom"--  Jimi Hendrix
"The Family Way: Original Soundtrack Recording"--  Paul McCartney
"The Grass is Blue"--  Dolly Parton
"Songs for Young Lovers"--  Frank Sinatra
"Changes"--  David Bowie


About Those Old Record Stores and Albums-- Part 2

And, you can still buy turntables.  One new one is the Criosley Cruiser for $98.  A portable vintage-inspired record player comes in a faux-leather briefcase and has a built-in speaker.

Studebaker Wooden Turntable $85.  With warm nostalgic looks, it has three-speeds, an AM-FM radio and jacks in the back to add external speakers for more oomph.

Plus, I bought a couple turntable combos at Target including a cassette player and CD player.

There is a good coffee table book called ""Dust & Grooves" by Ten Speed Press.which focuses on some far-out vinyl record collections from around the world.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

About Those Old Record Stores and Albums-- Part 1: Record Store Day

From April 12, 2015, Parade magazine Picks "For te Record" edited by Erin Hill.

"Remember records?  Of course you do.  Happily vinyl is still spinning its way into the hands of music lovers--  whether they're 16 or 60--today.

"April 18 is Record Store Day--a global celebration of independent record stores, where vinyl is still king--  and the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl, 46, is this year's official ambassador."

He said: "Growing up in the '70s and '80s, my local record stores were magical, mysterious places that I spent all my spare time (and money) in, finding what was to eventually become the soundtrack of my life."


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

If These Items Could Talk.. History In Little Pieces

From the March 26, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Steve Johnson.

"They do in new Chicago History Museum exhibit" An Iroquois Theatre lamp sheds light on the fire as Leopold's eyeglasses give a view of the murder."

This is from the museum's new exhibition "The Secret Lives of Objects."  To get it, curators were sent back into the vaults to find stuff.  And, they liberated a lot of good stuff from the vaults.

Nathan Leopold's eyeglasses were evidence of a ghastly murder. They were found near the body of victim Bobby Franks and helped convict the two.   Ann Landers' typewriter gave lots of advice.  Booth One at Chicago's Pump Room was a marker for celebrities.

Some other things you can see:

**  The surveillance cards from the Chicago Police Department's infamous "Red Squad" filled out with notes on the activities of Chicago's leftest author and historian Studs Terkel.

**  Bamboo cane used by Charlie Chaplin for "His New Job" movie, the only film he shot in Chicago.

**  The piano on which Thomas Dorsey essentially invented gospel music.

*  The lamp that started the 1903 Iroquois Theatre Fire alongside the door hardware that prevented 600 people from exiting to safety.

**  The letters from the sign at the Palm Tavern, the famous Bronzeville jazz club.

**  The Colt revolver carried by Owen brown, son of abolitionist John brown, during the 1959 raid on Harpers Ferry, the attack that more than any one thing else led to the Civil War.

Forty-two objects made the final cut.  The exhibit continues until 2018.

Some Real History.  --Cooter

Death of Chicago Adman Rudolph Perz, Known for Creating Pillsbury Doughboy

From the the April 3, 2015, Chicago Tribune.


Most famous for creating the lovable Pillsbury Doughboy.  He developed the iconic spokesboy in his early years at the Chicago advertising agency Leo Burnett.

The Pillsbury Doughboy, otherwise known as Poppin' Fresh, was created in 1965 and is still used in commercials.  A 1977 Chicago Tribune  called him "a cute little anthropomorphic embodiment of fresh dough."

I always like the commercial of him giggling as he passed through an airport security point.

Perz said that early incarnations of the doughboy, originally animated, too closely resembled Caspar the Friendly Ghost, which led to the development of the three  dimensional character.  It was filmed using stop motion.

I Like That Doughboy.

Monday, December 14, 2015

World's Largest Sunken Treasure Found-- Part 2: International Legal Dispute

In 1982, Sea Search Armada, a salvage company owned by American investors announced that it had found the San Jose 700 feet deep.  Two years later, Colombia's government overturned a well-established maritime law that gives 50 percent to whoever locates a shipwreck and slashed Sea Search's finders fee down to 5%.

A lawsuit by them was dismissed in a Washington, D.C. federal court in 2011 and affirmed on appeal two years later.  Colombia's Supreme Court has ordered the ship recovered before the international dispute is over.

President Santos says this ship was discovered at a different site than the Sea Salvage one thanks to new meteorological and underwater mapping studies.

No humans have yet to reach the wreck but underwater vehicles have and brought back photos of dolphin-stamped bronze cannons that leave no doubt as to the ship's identity.

According to Santos, the ship was found Nov. 27 near the Rosario Islands which is close to Baru Peninsula.


World's Largest Sunken Treasure Found Off Colombia-- Part 1: "The Holy Grail" of Shipwrecks

From the December 6, 2015, Chicago Tribune nu Pedro Mendoza AP.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos hailed the ship,found off Colombia's coast more than 300 years ago as the world's largest sunken treasure.

The Spanish galleon San Jose was discovered with the help of an international team of experts and the president says he will personally see to it that its location is safeguarded.  It sank somewhere i the wide area off Baru Peninsula and the port of Cartagena.

On June 8, 1708, the San Jose sank, along with 600 people as it was trying to outrun a British fleet.  It is believed to have been carrying 11 million gold coins and jewels from the Spanish colonies of the New World.  This could be worth billions if recovered.

The ship is considered by maritime experts to be the holy grail of Spanish colonial shipwrecks and has been the subject of abn extended legal battle between Colombia, Spain and the United States pver who owns the rights to it.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Betty Boop: The "Boop-Oop-A-Doop" Gal

From American Profile "Ask American Profile."

A reader asked "What year did Betty Boop debut, and who was her voice?"  Betty Nielsen, Lakeport, California.

Pioneer cartoon animator Max Fleischer introduced Boop as an anthropomorphic French poodle in the 1930 cartoon short "Dizzy Dishes."  He transformed her into a person in the 1932 cartoon "Any Rags."

Margie Hines provided Betty's original voice, but it's the vocals of Mae Questel that most fans recognize as the "boop-oop-a-doop" flapper girl.  The actress supplied Boop's voice in 150 animated shorts between 1931 and 1939.

Questel, who died in 1998 at the age of 89, also was the voice of Olive Oyl in the Popeye cartoons for many years.

OK, Now, High Pitched Talking.  --DaCootBoop-Oop-Ap[

Christopher Latham Sholes "Father of the Typewriter-- Part 4: QWERTY

At this point, Soule and Glidden turned their shares to Sholes and Densmore.

Experimental versions of the typewriter were sent to a few stenographers for their criticisms and this helped improve it.  The first 50 machines produced had an average cost of $250.

They took the machine to E. Remington and Sons, a manufacturer of firearms, sewing machines and farm implements.  They offered to buy the patent from them.  Sholes sold his half of the patent for $12,000.  Densmore insisted on a royalty for his share, which eventually earned him $1.5 million.  Eventually, the machine became known as the famous Remington typewriter.

Sholes continued working to improve the typewriter in Milwaukee.  In 1873 he developed a new arrangement for the keys which became known, and still is, as the QWERTY keyboard.  (Hey, I just typed it.)  It was so made so that commonly used letter combinations were split up to prevent keys from jamming when typists pressed them too quickly.

The QWERTY keyboard was an instant success and has since made the transition from typewriters to computers.

Christopher Latham Sholes died on February 17, 1890, after a long battle with tuberculosis.


Friday, December 11, 2015

Christopher Latham Sholes "Father of the Typewriter"-- Part 3: Four Partners

Working again with Samuel W. Soule, and adding Carlos Glidden as a third partner who provided the funds, they began to develop their first version of the typewriter.  The keyboard resembled that of a piano with two rows of keys, the first made of ebony and the second of ivory with a wooden framework.

Sholes, Glidden and Soule received a patent for it in 1868.  It was one of many similar typewriter versions coming out at the time.  They sent out many letters typed on it in an attempt to encourage interest.

James Densmore of Pennsylvania thought it could be highly profitable and offered to buy a share without ever seeing it.  He was sold a one-fourth interest, but when he finally did see it, he believed it was worthless in its current state and needed to be improved.


Christopher Latham Sholes, "Father of the Typewriter"-- Part 2

But Sholes' real interest was inventing new and useful items.  He moved to Milwaukee and spent some time as editor of the Milwaukee News and later the Milwaukee Sentinel.  When Abraham Lincoln offered him the position as a collector for the Port of Milwaukee and he accepted.  he knew this would mean working fewer hours and he would have more time to work on his inventions.

Latham Sholes and fellow inventor Samuel W. Soule developed a machine that numbered pages in a book and they got a patent for it in 1864.  Another man, Carlos Glidden, an attorney, suggested that they might be able to make their machine also produce letters and words as well.

In 1867, Sholes ran across an article about a machine called the Pterotype which was a prototype of te typewriter which had been invented by John Pratt.  Sholes decided that the machine was too complex to work well so set about creating his own version.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christopher Latham Sholes "Father of the Typewriter"-- Part 1

From the July 15, 2015, Hi-Liter "Just our type: Kenosha newspaper editor recognized as 'Father of the Typewriter'  by Sandra Machaq.

Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Sholes is known as the "Father of the Typewriter" according to Charles Edward Weller in his 1918 book "The Early History of the Typewriter."  Sholes also is known as the inventor of the QWERTY keyboard which is still being used on computers.

Latham Sholes was born in Pennsylvania and became a printer apprentice after which he moved to Wisconsin and worked for his older brothers who owned and published a newspaper in Green Bay.  Next, he went to Madison and became editor of the Wisconsin Enquirer.

One year later, he moved to Kenosha, then known as Southport and became publisher of the local newspaper.He then got into state politics.


End of a World War-- Part 2: World War I

Or, as they refer to it in the United Kingdom, the First World War.

Continuing with the Chicago Tribune headlines back then.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 1918:  No Truce-- Wilson

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10, 1918:  German Armies Run

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24. 1918:  Surrender! Wilson Again Tells Kaiser

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 1918:  Austria Quits War

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 1918:  'I'll Hold Throne'--Kaiser

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 1918:  Peace At Hand: Kaiser Off The Throne

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 1918:  Great War Ends

And So It Ended.  Cooter

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

End of a World War-- Part 1: End of World War I in the Headlines

From the November 8, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Chicago Flashback."

"'The Great War'--  the forerunner we now call World War I--  approached its final days in mid-October 1918.  German troops were in full retreat, their government's surrender imminent.  The U.S. president and the German Kaiser seemed to be negotiating the end of hostilities by international cable on the front pages of the world's newspapers.

"Here are select headlines from the last five weeks of the supposed 'war to end all wars.'"

These are from, of course, the Chicago Tribune which cost 2 cents daily back then, $1.50 now.

Monday OCTOBER 7, 1918"

HUNS CRY FOR PARLEY  Other headlines:

Using Torch, Germans Flee
'We Cannot Come To Terms With Them' --Wilson on Sept. 27  (President Woodrow Wilson)
No Bartering To be Wilson
Accept Wilson's Demands As Basis For Peace Negotiations

More to Come Tomorrow.  --DaCoot

Ten Little-Known Technological Firsts-- Part 2: First Commercial Flight

5.  First Commercial Flight--  January 1, 1914, between St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida.

4.  Xerox Alto--  First Graphical User Interface in 1972.

3.  First Video Rental Store--  Magneto Video in 1977.  Had 50 videos, also first to sell video.  George Atkinson bought one VHS and one Beta copy of each movie and offered to rent them.  It cost $50 for a year's membership.  The first video chain of stores was Video Station which eventually had 600 stores.

2.  Marsh Supermarket was the first supermarket with a Bar Code Scanner in Troy, Ohio in June 1974.  At 8:01, a ten-pack of Wrigley gum became the first item scanned..  That receipt is now in the Smithsonian.

1.  CERN's "World Wide Web Project" the first website on August 6, 1991.

Interesting Stuff.  --Cooter

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ten Little-Known Technological Firsts-- Part 1: First Person to Die in an Auto Accident

From the March 6, 2013, Listverse by Mike Floorwalker.

Of course, photos and more information at the site.

10.  First public radio broadcast: January 13, 1910/

9.  Mary Ward, First to die in a car accident.

8.  WTBS, first basic cable network, 1976.  HBO was the first pay cable network in 1973.

7.  Billy Joel's 52nd Street was the first album released on CD  His 1978 classic was re-released on Oct. 1, 1982, the same day that the CDP-101, the first commercially available CD player was released.

6.  Telstar I--  first communications satellite launched July 10, 1962, owned by AT&T.


Mystery of Hindenburg Air Catastrophe Solved

From the March 4, 2013, Lookout by Claudine Zap.

Researchers now are sure that static electricity that caused the airship to crash.

Seventy-six years ago, the German dirigible Hindenburg, the future of trans-Atlantic flight, docked at Lakehurst, New Jersey, on May 6, 1937.

The fire and crash killed 35 of the 100 passengers and crew.

It was also believe that possibly a bomb or exploding paint caused it.  Models have shown that these didn't cause it.

The airship had become charges with static electricity as a result of and electric storm.  A broken wire or sticking gas valve leaked hydrogen into the ventilation shaft.  When the ground crew members ran out to take the landing ropes, the ship became "earthed".  Fire appeared in the tail of the airship, igniting the leaking hydrogen.

Now You Know.  --Cooter

Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7, 1941-- Part 2: Two More Who Died on the USS Arizona

From the Dec. 6, 2015, Concord Monitor "Lost at Pearl Harbor, Edmund lives on in Epson" by Ray Duckler.

Bruce Roosevelt Edmunds was born November 10, 1907, and was the "first Epsom boy to lose his life in World War II."  His picture hangs in the Epsom American Legion hall.

Also, Edmund Cloues of Warner was killed on the Arizona.  His body is also still entombed on the ship  It is not clear if the two of them knew each other.

December 7, 1941-- Part 1: Nephew of Sailor Killed at Pearl Harbor Remembers the Date

From the Dec. 6, 2015, Sioux City (Iowa) Journal by Nick Hytrek.

John Christopher Thorman of Granville, Iowa, died on the USS Arizona that day.  His body is still entombed aboard his ship.

Jan George, his nephew, a history and government teacher at Sioux City West High School remembers his uncle though he died many years before he was born.

Mr. George has the Western Union telegram dated December 20, 1941 from Rear Admiral Randall Jacobs informing John and Marie Thorman that their son was among the missing.

He also has a piece of the USS Arizona taken from an area of the boat deck gallery which he got 11 years ago after learning that families of the Arizona's victims were able to get a piece as a way to connect them to their loved ones.

It took his grandmother a long time to come to grips with her son's death.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Divers Find First World War "Mystery Ship"-- Part 3: "Q-Ships"

The Stock Force was built at Dundee and was one of around 200 "Q-Ships" employed during the war.  The "Q" in the name of the ships is thought to be from Queenstown, the home port of some of the earlier ones.  Queenstown is now known as Cobh, in the Republic of Ireland.  The phrase is based on "Q" cars, which are unmarked police cars.

"Q-Ships" often carried cargoes of wood to make them more difficult to sink.

Today, only one of them remains, the HMS President, which is moored in the Thames River.

The submarine that sank the Stock Force is believed to be the UB-80, captained by Max Viebeg.

Harold Auten was born in Leatherhead, Surrey, and worked in the film industry in the United States.  He later moved to Bushkill, Pennsylvania, where he owned a hotel and a cinema.  During World War II  he returned to service and directed convoys across the Atlantic from New York.  He died in 1964.


Divers Find First World War "Mystery Ship"-- Part 2: Fight With a Submarine

The HMS Stock Force was 160-feet long and had the appearance of being a merchant ship and its Royal Navy crew were disguised as merchant sailors.  They even had a so-called "Panic Party," a group of sailors would row away from the ship if they saw a sub.  This would lure the enemy to within range.

The Stock Force, though was hit by a torpedo in its duel with the U-boat.  It damaged the enemy, but sank in four and a half hours.  The crew was rescued by a trawler and two torpedo boats.

After the war, the legend of the Q-Ships grew.  Lt. Harold Auten, the Stock Force's commander, published a book about his adventures called "Q-Boat Adventures."  In 1928, the silent film "Q-Ships" was released in which Auten played himself.


Friday, December 4, 2015

Divers Find First World War "Mystery Ship"-- Part 1

From the Jan. 27, 2013, UK Telegraph "Divers Find First World War "Mystery Ship" Which Ambushed Submarine" by Jasper Copping.

Acting as "bait" for German U-boats, the HMS Stock Force was one of the Royal Navy's top secret "Q Ships" or "Mystery Ships."  They were especially adapted decoy vessels carrying concealed guns to lure German submarines to the surface and then engage them.

The Stock Force was sunk in an engagement.  It's captain, Lt. Harold Auten received a Victoria Cross and served as the inspiration for an action film.

Its wreck was lost until now because its site was incorrectly listed.

Steven Mortimer lead a group which spent four years looking for it.  They found it eight miles from its charted site and is in 200 feet of water 14 miles off Plymouth, England.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Letter From My Great Uncle David Prince in World War I Camp-- Part 2

I haven't forgotten that watch case yet, as you just keep on waiting _?___ if nothing happens you should have it.

Now if I get killed in France I want you to have the "Liberty Bonds" which I have bought.  It will come to $200.00.  I also will my other money which I will get in case I get killed, but don't think I will, for I will surely come back all safe-- and sound.

I want to see you finish High School and then go to College and finish.  If I had gone to school and studied I would be an officer instead of an enlisted man.

What do you want me to give you for a Christmas present?  How is that little "Grantham man" getting along?

Tell Gertrude and Annie Mae, I said write to me sometimes, and be sure that you write me real soon.

Give this note to Papa.

With lots of love to you all, your brother, David.

A Letter from My Great Uncle David Prince in World War I Camp-- Part 1

I also came across a letter from my Great Uncle David Prince to his sister Julia (my Great Aunt).

At Camp
Tuesday Night

Dear "Little Sister"

Your much appreciated letter was received a few days ago, and I sure did enjoy reading your letter, and would have answered it sooner but we are kept very busy.

I sure would like to see you-all. but guess I will not have the opportunity to go home now.  We are all quarantined  and can't even go to town, and spend our money.

Yesterday was payday, and most all of the boys were happy altho they couldn't go totown, to spend their money.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

World War I Military Career of William G. Hood

From my mother, I learn the following:

He was drafted into the Army.  He went to training at Camp Jackson in South Carolina.

His father had tried to keep him at home as he was needed on he farm.

He never went to Europe  because he changed the flat tire of his camp's commander's wife and the colonel had him remain in camp as a personal chauffeur.

His platoon was sent overseas and involved in fighting.  At one point his clothes were sent overseas, but he never was.

Honorable Discharge of William G. Hood-- Part 3

On the back of the Honorable Discharge:


Name: William G. Hood
Grade: Private
Enlisted, or Inducted:  May 27th 1918, at Goldsboro NC

Serving in First  enlistment  period at date of discharge.

Prior service:  None
Noncommissioned officer:  Never
Marksmanship, gunner qualification or rating:  Not qualified
Horsemanship:  Not mounted

Battles, engagements, skirmishes, expeditions:  None
Knowledge of any vocation:  Farming
Wounds received in service:  None
Physical condition when discharged:  Good

Typhoid prophylaxis completed:  June 13th, 1918
Paratyphoid prophylaxis completed:  June 13th, 1918
Married or single:  Single
Character:  Very good.

Remarks:  No AWOL or absences under GO 45-14 or 31-12.

Signature of Soldier:  William G. Hood

Hugh S. Repare
Capt. Inf. USA
Commanding Co. F

Received Dec 11 1918
Office of Disbursing Quartermaster
Pay Division

Honorable Discharge of William G. Hood-- Part 2

Said William G. Hood was born in Goldsboro, in the State of North Carolina.  When enlisted he was 22 7/12 years of age and by occupation a farmer.

He had Gray eyes, Dark hair, Ruddy complexion, and was 5 feet 6 inches in height.

Given under my hand at Camp Sevier SC this 11th day of Dec, one thousand nine hundred and eighteen.

E.A. Early
Lieut. Col Inf USA

Honorable Discharge of William G. Hood-- Part 1

My brother found this in some old files in the attic above the garage of my grandparents on my mother's side a few months ago and this is my first chance to get a look at them.

This is the Honorable Discharge of my grandfather from the U.S. Army at the end of World War I.



This Is To certify That William G. Hood #1897589, Private Co. "F" 1st Prov. Deo. Regiment

THE UNITED STATES ARMY, as a Testimonial of Honest and Faithful Service, is hereby Honorably Discharged from the military service of the United States by reason of telegram wsAGO. Nov. 15, 1918.  Expiration of term of service per.

I am not sure about Deo in his regiment or wsAGO.  These were hard to read.

Monday, November 30, 2015

North Carolina in the American Revolution-- Part 2: Battle of Peacock's Bridge

From the Carolana site.

In the last post, I listed four engagements in the state of North Carolina, one being the Battle of Peacock's Bridge.  I'd never heard of it before so further research was needed.

This battle occurred early in Cornwallis' move from Wilmington to Virginia in 1781.  He had been defeated at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse and was recuperating in Wilmington.  He sent Lt.Col. Banastre Tarleton's Legion forward toward Virginia to gather intelligence and to force mills along the way to grind grain for the British.

His troops consisted of 180 dragoons and a few light companies of the 82nd Regiment and the Royal North Carolina Regiment of Loyalists.  All were mounted.

On the banks of the Contentnea Creek, Col. James Gorham and 400 Pitt County militia met Tarleton's force at Peacock's Bridge.  The dragoons galloped across the bridge and easily scattered the Patriots.

This took place in Wilson County, N.C., near the Wayne and Greene County border.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

North Carolina in the American Revolution-- Part 1

From North Carolina in the Revolution by James C, Crone.

Members if the North Carolina delegation who signed the Declaration of Independence:

William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn


North Carolina militia served within the state, but five regiments with around 5000 men joined the Continental Army.  They served under Washington and Nathaniel Greene with an eight year term of service being from 1775-1783.


Battle of Moore's Creek--  Feb. 27, 1776

Battle of King;s Mountain--  April 1779

Battle of Guilford Courthouse--  March 15, 1781

Battle of Peacock's Bridge--  May 6, 1781


Thursday, November 26, 2015

World War I Causes Brass and Zinc Shortages in Illinois

From the Nov. 24, 2015, MidWeek "Looking Back."

November 2015, 100 years ago.  Sycamore, Illinois

The Turner Brass Works of this city are suffering as a result of the war in Europe.  With orders booked ahead that would tax the capacity of this large and well-equipped factory for many months, they find it almost impossible to obtain brass and zinc, which are used in large quantities, and unless this raw material can be acquired very soon, a large amount of orders must be cancelled.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Most Expensive Colleges in 2011

From Forbes Magazine.

And, remember, this is four years ago.  Tuition first, total second.

1.  Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY:  $45,201,    $$50,334

2.  University of Chicago  $42,041,   $57,598

3.  The New School, NY, NY--  $37,610,   $57,199

4.  Washington University, St. Louis--  $41,992,   $56,930

5.  Columbia University, NY, NT--  $45,290,   $56,681

6.  Vanderbilt University,  Nashville--  $38,952,   $56,334

7.  Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.--  $40,203,   $56,485

8.  Fordham University, Bronx, NY--  $39,967,   $56,454

9.  Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois--  $40,223,   $56,406

10.  Wesleyan University, Middleton, Ct.--$42,084,   $56,341

At least most of these schools, other than Vanderbilt, Northwestern and Georgetown aren't paying their athletic coaches the ridiculous amounts that other schools do.


Back Then: Giant Sea Turtle and South Vietnam

From the July 3, 2015, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then" by Scott Nunn.

I always love it when he writes one of these from news from the paper in the past.  Unfortunately it is no longer done on a monthly basis.

JUNE 19, 1915:  From Wrightsville Beach--  "A jumbo turtle weighing something like 500 pounds is on exhibit at the Oceanic hotel.  It will be kept on exhibit until tomorrow afternoon when it will be butchered by a skilled turtle butcher.

"It is expected there will be between 200 and 500 eggs in the turtle, which was caught in the surf by two experienced anglers from New York, who also caught several large drum."

You sure wouldn't be exhibiting a sea turtle and especially not killing it today.

JUNE 11, 1965:  Maxwell D. Taylor, U.S. ambassador to South Vietnam, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that there was no plan for a dramatic increase in U.S. ground troops there.  He said there was no truth to the rumor that troop levels would be going from 53,000 to 250,000.

According to the U.S. department of Defense, in 1964 there were 23,300 there and 184,300 by the end of 1965.  The number peaked at 536,100 in 1968.)

Liar.  --Cooter

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Challenger, Columbia Wreckage on Display for First Time

From the August 2, 2015, Yahoo! News/AP by Maurice Dunn.

For the first time, NASA has a new exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center showing one piece from each shuttle as well as reminders of the 14 astronauts who died in their explosions.

The intent of the exhibit is to show how they lived rather than died.

Among the personal items:  Challenger commander Francis "Dick" Scobee's leather helmet he wore from the StarJuster biplane he and his wife used to fly and his blue "TFNG" t-shirt from the astronaut class of 1979 which was nicknamed the "Thirty-Five New Guys."

Columbia commander Rick Husband's scuffed cowboy boots and well-worn open to Proverbs will also be shown.

Each of the 14 astronauts will have an individual display case.

The Columbia blew p Feb. 1, 2003, and 42 tons of debris was collected.

The Challenger blew up January 28, 1986.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Top Ten Giant Movie Monsters-- Part 2: Beware the Kraken!

5.  UNKNOWN--  "Cloverfield" (2008)  All that found footage.

4.  GAMERA--  "Gamera the Invisible" (1965)  Who'd have ever figured a giant flying turtle?

3.  THE KRAKEN--  "Clash of the Titans" (1981)  Hey, what about good ol' Capt. Jack?

2.  KING KONG--  "King Kong" (1933)  The big lug falls for te pretty little blonde.

1.  GODZILLA--  "Godzilla" (1954)  Ravaging Japanese cities for 61 years.

They didn't list my favorite, "The Beginning of the End" (1957)  Those giant grasshoppers who ate Chicago.

Godzilla Vs. King Kong.  --Cooter

Top Ten Giant Movie Monsters-- Part 1: Mothra

From the Oct. 8, 2011, Listverse.

10.  RANCOR--  "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi" (1983).  Jabba the Hut's pet.

9.  MOTHRA--  "Mothra" (1961)  Giant moth.

8.  REPTILICUS--  "Reptilicus" (1961)

7.  ANTS--  "Them!"  (1954)  See what you get with that nuclear testing.

6.  THE RHEDOSAURUS--  "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" (1953)

Mothra Vs. Godzilla.  --DaBigCoot

Spooky Chicago

From the October 3, 2011, Yahoo! Contributors Network "Spooky Chicago legends" by Janon Taylor.

There are hundreds of stories about ghosts in Chicago.  CNBC has named Chicago one of the most haunted cities in the United States.

Three Haunted Spots:

1.  RESURRECTION MARY-- Dating to the 1930s.  She was a teenager at a dance, got into an argument with her boyfriend and was hitchhiking home when she was struck by a car on Justice Avenue in Justice, Illinois.

2.  BACHELOR'S GROVE--  Cemetery in Midlothian which has hundreds of stories about balls of light, mysterious sounds and ghosts.

3.  RED LION PUB--  2446 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago.  Spirits of a different sort and ghosts in the bathroom.  It dates back to the 1800s.

Like, BOO!!!  --CootScared

Friday, November 20, 2015

DeKalb County in 1940: The Sheriff's Growing Marijuana and Wants You to See It

From the July29, 2015, MidWeek "Looking Back."

The two stalks of marijuana growing in the  county jail yard are doing well.  Being weeds, as noxious weeds, they do not need attention.  When the True Republican stated that the stalks were nine and seven feet in height, he took Sheriff William Runnel's word for it.

Last Thursday, the sheriff exhibited the stalks of marijuana.  In the meantime each one had grown two more feet, and gave indication of towering even higher.

Anyone who wants to know what this deadly Mexican looks like can see the two stalks growing in the back of the sheriff's residence.

Something You Don't Expect from 1940.  --DaCoot

DeKalb County in 1915 and 1940: Building the Modern Home and Gila Monsters

From the July 29, 2015, MidWeek "Looking Back."

July 1915. 100 years ago:

Art Driscoll is having a new modern home built in the Decatur Driscoll homestead, across the road from the old home.  Chas. Louchs has secured the contract for installing a lighting system in the house and barn.

July 1940, 75 years ago:

Mrs. Harvey Ide found a gila monster in her basement Sunday afternoon.

Mounds of dirt have been piled around the NIU Lagoon because of the dredging of it.

You Have to Wonder How a Gila Monster Got In Her Basement.  --Cooter

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Arthur, Ralph and Luther Roberts Recovering Bodies at the SS Eastland Disaster

From the July 29, 2015, MidWeek (Sycamore, Illinois)  "Looking Back" to 1915


Among those who rendered effective services, according to the statement of Chicago papers, after the awful disaster of the steamship Eastland on Saturday morning last were Arthur, Ralph and Luther Roberts, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Roberts, formerly of Sycamore.

These boys in their father's motor launch, 60 feet in length, were early on the scene, and from Saturday afternoon to Sunday noon assisted in picking up bodies, placing them in the launch and conveying them across the river to the temporary morgue, until they had recovered no less than 300 bodies of men, women and children.

I dis a quick search of these people and found no mention of them in connection to the disaster.  If anyone has anything about them, please let meknow.


Looking Back at DeKalb County's History-- Part 1

From the July 9, 2015, MidWeek  "Looking Back"

1915, 100 YEARS AGO--  Nelson Wood has small pox in a very light form.

1940, 75 YEARS AGO--  Fargo Theater (in Sycamore) will reopen in August, but will be renamed The State.  (The theater is still there with its "new"name.)

1965, 50 YEARS AGO--  The new NIU football stadium will have seating for 15,000 and has 1 and 1/4 miles of ramps.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

DeKalb County 100 Years Ago, 1915: Beautifying the Streets

From the April 1, 2015, MidWeek.

April 3, 1915:

**  Frank K. Balthis, landscape gardener and superintendent of grounds at the Illinois State Normal School at DeKalb (NIU), had started a movement for beautification of home grounds and streets in DeKalb and offered to do the same in Sycamore.  Beautification of DeKalb's Main Street would be of the Lincoln Highway.

He also called for DeKalb and Sycamore to "combine forces and see rto the embellishment of the new cement road (Il-23) between the two cities."

Pretty Roads.  --DaCoot

DeKalb County 125 Years Ago, 1890: Of Homes and Wolves

From the April 1, 2015, MidWeek.  DeKalb County, Illinois.

April 2, 1890:

**  David Condon sold his house and lot on West State Street to E.F. Button, who lives next door.  The price was #1.300.

**  In Rollo, Friday, W.M. Turner couldn't work in his new creamery because of a storm, so he went wolf hunting.  He captured six young wolves.  On Monday, County Clerk Conrad paid him $30 bounty for their scalps.

Things You Wouldn't Expect Today.  --CooterScalp

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

DeKalb County 100 Years Ago, 1915: Getting Tough On Liquor and Drugs Back Then

From the Frb. 25, 2015, Sycamore MidWeek.

FEBRUARY 24, 1915.

**  County Court Saturday.  Arguments will be heard in the liquor case of People vs. Hiram Gilmore involving the legality of the methods of business of the Fox River Express Company.

Judge Smiley of McHenry County rendered a guilty decision..

This is regarded as the most important so-called liquor case that have been before the courts of this county, and its effects will be far-reaching and of much import all over the state.

**  Physicians and druggist of Sycamore have been notified bt the federal government in requirements of the new internal revenue law in regard to the production, use and sale of opium and coco leaves and their derivities..  The tax for the fiscal year up to June 30 was 34 cents.

Hereafter it will be $1 a year.  Any persons or manufacturer making or dealing in anyway with opium and coco leave derivities must make record of all sales to people, also all physicians are bound to register at the Chicago Department of the Federal Government and keep a record of the use of specified drugs in their possession.


DeKalb County 125 Years Ago, Feb. 26, : Columbian Exposition

From the Feb. 25,2015 (Sycamore, Ill) MidWeek.

Feb. 26, 1890--  The old Harvester shops caught fire Sunday night of unknown cause.  The fire was fierce but fire companies were able to put it out.

**  News of the progress of balloting in the House of Representatives for the World's Fair eagerly watched by citizens.  Voting began with Chicago in the lead as was expected.  This was for the Columbian Exposition.

**  Booming sounds are being made by the prairie chickens during mating season are becoming frequent and sportsmen can expect a good hunting season.  They are a species of grouse and are now "the best game in this part of the country."  These almost became extinct in Illinois.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Illinois Veterans by War

WORLD WAR II--  70,933

KOREAN WAR--  87,394

VIETNAM WAR ERA--  253,578

GULF WAR (Aug 1990-Aug. 2001)-- 100,626

GULF WAR II (Sept. 2001-later)--  68,308



A Look at Veterans in Illinois

From the Nov. 11, 2015, Chicago Tribune "A look at veterans in Illinois."

November 11th was Veterans Day and the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there are nearly 3/4 million veterans currently living in Illinois.

Veteran Population in Illinois:  727,919

Unemployment Rate for Illinois veterans:  7.0%

Illinois veterans who are women:  5.7%

Illinois veterans who are homeless:  1,234

Illinois county with lowest percentage of veterans:  Cook with 5.4%

Illinois county with highest percentage of veterans:  St. Clair County 14.9%


Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Band of Brothers and Sisters-- Part 7: Scouts and Legion Baseball

The two organizations also serve their country in other ways.

Since 1919, American Legion posts have sponsored more than 2,500 Scouting units across the country and have a $10,000 yearly scholarship to the Eagle Scout of the year.

Legion baseball was established in 1925 and today has grown to 5,400 teams.  The Legion also offers Boys State and Girls State leadership programs.


A Band of Brothers and Sisters-- Part 6: Helping Vets

Both the VFW and American Legion have made significant strides to assist veterans.  The American Legion led an effort to create the U.S. Veterans Bureau, which later became today's Veterans Administration.  They also wrote the first draft of what is known as the GI Bill of Rights in 1944.  The American Legion also donated $1 million to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund for the construction of the wall in Washington, D.C..

In the past three years, the VFW has helped veterans file claims needed to recover$6.9 billion in earned benefits and compensation from the veterans Administration.  Since 2004, the VFW has also given about 3,775 grants to military families facing financial hardship

They also distribute the "Buddy" poppies each year which are made by disabled and needy veterans.  last year, ten million were distributed, raising $13 million for needy veterans.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Band of Brothers and Sisters-- Part 5: The American Legion

The idea for forming the American Legion came from a group of officers serving in the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I.  The AEF leadership was looking for ways to boost morale and approached the group of officers for suggestions.

One of the officers, Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt Jr., suggested an organization of veterans.  The idea was widely accepted and the first meeting was held in March 1919 in Paris and was chartered by Congress in September 1919.

There are currently 2.3 million members.

My grandfather on my mother's side was a World War I veteran and one of the earliest members of the American Legion.  I am a member of the American Legion's Sons of the American Legion Fox Lake Post 703 because of him.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Band of Brothers and Sisters-- Part 4: The VFW

There were actually two major veterans organizations predating these two.  After the Civil War, Union military members formed the Grand Army of the Republic and Confederate veterans formed the United Confederate Veterans.

The VFW was formed before the American Legion in 1899.  The American Veterans of Foreign service was founded to help veterans of the Spanish-American War.  In 1914, the organization merged with the National Society of the Army of the Philippines formed to help veterans of the 1899-1902 Philippines War.

It became the Veterans of Foreign Wars and was chartered by Congress in 1936.  there are currently more than 1.7 million VFW and auxiliary members.

A Band of Brothers and Sisters: The VFW and American Legion-- Part 3: Not the Same

The major distinction between the VFW and the American Legion is in their eligibility for membership.  The VFW offers membership to all current and former military veterans who served overseas in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Persian Gulf, Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan or other smaller expeditionary campaigns or occupation duty.

In contrast, the American Legion invites all active military duty or honorably discharged soldiers who have served during any of the seven eligible war eras to become members.  Reservists and National Guard members are also eligible for membership.

The service could have taken place here in the U.S. or overseas.  The seven war eras eligible include World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Grenada, Operation Just Cause Panama and Persian Gulf/War on terrorism.

So, the main difference is that in the VFW you would have had to been overseas which is in keeping with its name.

A Band of Brothers and Sisters: VFW and American Legion-- Part 2

Mike LaRocco, VFW District 3 Commander and a member of the Ted Sempien VFW Post 8821 in Chicago identifies the role of the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) as "being there to meet the unmet needs of veterans.  We support the homeless veterans program."  Plus there is the suicide situation which continues to get worse.  According to him, every day 22 veterans kill themselves.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Band of Brothers and Sisters: VFW and American Legion-- Part 1

From the Nov. 6, 2015, Chicago Tribune.

When many think of the American Legion or VFW they think of where they attended a Friday fish fry or celebrated a wedding or anniversary.  In reality, these organizations are a lot more.

George Ma'Aytech, commander of the William McKinley American Legion Post 231 in Chicago says that a few years ago, he saw a picture of a guy panhandling who turned out to be a serviceman who served in 1945 and was in Japan after the bomb was dropped.  he kept his picture in his office.

He finally located the man and connected him with assistance services.  Today, 89-year-old Eugene Towardy is the oldest veteran at Post 231.  he is legally blind and without nearby relatives except for his buddies at the post who take care of him.

Thank a Veteran Today or Anytime.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Happy Birthday to USMC

This date, 240 years ago, November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress passed legislation for the United States Marine Corps.

And, the rest, as they say, is history.

Saturday I will be working at the Marine Corps 240th Anniversary breakfast and Toys for Tots kickoff at the American Legion in Fox Lake, Illinois.  Serving that Marine Corps staple SOS and scrambled eggs and lots and lots of really strong black coffee.

Ooh-Rah!!  --Cooter

Ten Adorable Cartoon Animals

From the Oct. 4, 2011, Listverse  "Another Ten Adorable Cartoon Animals.

10.  NERMEL--  a cat from "Garfield"

9.  MAXIMUS--  Horse from "Tangled"

8. MORT--  ? from "Madagascar"

7.  ABU--  monkey from "Alladin"

6.  REMY--  rat from "Ratatouille"

5.  PUSS 'N BOOTS--  cat from "Shrek"

4.  PRINCESS TIANA--  frog from "The Princess & the Frog"

3.  DORY--  fish from "Finding Nemo"

2.  ARCHIMETIS--  owl from "The Sword and the Stone"

1.  THUMPER--  Bambi


12 McDonald's Items That Failed Spectacularly-- Part 2 Arch Deluxe

7.  ARCH DELUXE--  1996.  Intended for the adult market.  A quarter-pounder with bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese, onions, ketchup and secret sauce.  Failed even with a $100 million marketing campaign.

8.  McHOTDOG--  Enough said.  Though at one time McDonald's in our area of northern Illinois had Johnsonville brats which were mighty good, even without sauerkraut.

9.  McDLT--  mid 1980s.  Separated lettuce and tomato from the burger, keeping veggies cool and the meat warm.  But the extra-double container wasn't environmentally-friendly.

10.  McLEAN DELUXE--  For the health conscious from 1991.  91% lean meat used.

11.  BIG 'N TASTY--  Another assault on Burger King's Whopper.  Like the McDLT and Big extra.  The meat was angus burger.

12.  SUPERSIZE--  1993.  the 2007 documentary "Supersize me" pretty well killed it off, but you can still go "Large."

I Liked a Lot of These, Though.  --Cooter

Monday, November 9, 2015

12 McDonald's Menu Items That Failed Spectacularly-- Part 1: McLobster

From  Business Insider, Yahoo! Finance.

1.  McLOBSTER--   Lobster in a hot dog bun for $5.95.  I once saw these offered while on a visit to maine, but didn't try it as I figured they would be offered back in Illinois.  They weren't.

2.  McGRATIN CROQUETTE--  Created for the Japanese market.

3.  HULA BURGER--  Meant for Catholics not eating meat on Fridays.  Chicken patty, pineapple slice topped with cheese.

4.  PIZZA and McPIZZA--  Late 1980s.  Made-to-order pizza, but customers not willing to wait.  The McPizza resembled hot pockets.

5.  McSPAGHETTI--  Still around in some foreign markets and has a bit of a cult following.

6.  McAFRIKA--  Beef, cheese, tomatoes and salad in a pita-like sandwich.

I Sure Would Have Liked to Try a McLobster.  --Cooter

Presidential Yacht Mayflower-- Part 2: World War II and Israel Service

During World War II, it was purchased by the War Shipping Administration from Broadfoot Iron Works in Wilmington, North Carolina on July 31, 1942 and renamed the USS Butte.  It was transferred to the Coast guard and patrolled the Atlantic Coast operating against U-boats and escorted coastal shipping.

It was also used as a radar training ship.

After the war, the ship was owned by several interests before being purchased by Israel in 1950.  It was decommissioned and broken up in 1955.


Presidential Yacht Mayflower-- Part 1: Veteran of Four Wars

From Wikipedia.

After his recovery from the wound he received at Vera Cruz in 1914, seaman Leon D. Robinson of Sycamore, Illinois, served aboard the presidential yacht Mayflower in 1915.

The Mayflower was a luxury steam yacht built in 1896 for millionaire Ogden Goelet who died on board it in 1897.  The Navy acquired it for the Spanish-American War and it was commissioned the USS Mayflower 24 May 1898.  It served off Cuba during the war and mounted six 6-pdr. guns.

It was decommissioned and then recommissioned in 1905 and played a prominent role in the negotiations to end the Russo-Japanese War which netted President Theodore Roosevelt a Nobel Peace Prize.  from 1906-1929, it served as presidential yacht and hosted many diplomatic events.

President Herbert Hoover had the ship decommssioned and sold as a money-saving effort and in 1931, it was sold to a private individual.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Battleships Ordered to Vera Cruz in 1914

On April 14, 1914, the U.S. Atlantic Fleet was ordered to Vera Cruz with all available battleships.  Rear Admiral Charles J. Badger went there in his flagship, the USS Arkansas.  Also ordered there were Leon Robinson's ship, the USS Vermont, the New Hampshire, New Jersey, Michigan, Louisiana and South Carolina.

Leon D. Robinson, from Sycamore, Illinois, was aboard the USS Vermont.

We sure had a lot of battleships.


USS Solace (AH-2)

From Wikipedia.

This is the ship that carried Leon D. Robinson to the navy hospital at New York City after he was wounded at Vera Cruz.

Hospital ship used in the Spanish-American War and World War I.  Commissioned in 1898.  returned the wounded and ill to the United States from Cuba during the Spanish-American War  From 1909-1921, served with the Atlantic Fleet.

There is a postcard of the USS Solace during the Mexican Revolution while at Vera Cruz.

This was not the USS Solace (AH-5) that was at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  This ship was commissioned from 1941-1946.


Friday, November 6, 2015

USS Vermont (BB-20)

From Wikipedia.

A Connecticut-class battleship commissioned in 1907 and decommissioned 1920.  Mounted four 12-inch guns.  Leon D. Robinson was serving on this ship.

On 12 February 1914 departed for Mexico during the Mexican Revolution to protect American interests in Vera Cruz.  Arrived Feb. 17 and remained there until April 29, when it returned to the United States.


Sycamore's Leon D. Robinson, Wounded at Vera Cruz in 1914

I looked up Leon D. Robinson, whom I wrote about yesterday.  I was unable to find out where he was buried, but did come across two listings of him as one of the wounded in the U.S. Naval operations against Mexico at Vera Cruz in 1914.

The U.S. Navy Standard Publications listed him in "Names of Officers and Enlisted Men of the Navy and Marine Corps Killed or Wounded in Operations at Vera Cruz, Mexico, April 21, 22, 23, 1914."

LEON D. ROBINSON, seaman USS Vermont, right shoulder, will remove bullet; condition favorable.  Home address: Sycamore, Illinois.

Another source mentions that he was transferred to the USS Solace, later to naval hospital, M.Y.  Disposition-- on duty.

The USS Vermont (BB-20) was a battleship.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

U.S. Attack On and Occupation of Vera Cruz, Mexico in 1914

From Wikipedia.

I did some further research on the events in Vera Cruz that led to the wounding of Leon Robinson of Sycamore, Illinois.

This even was related to the ongoing Mexican revolution at the time and worsening U.S.-Mexican relations.  It was a direct result of the Tampico Affair where 9 American sailors were arrested by the Mexican government for entering an off-limits area of Tampico.

This upset the U.S. government and their release and an apology were obtained.  But a requested 21-gun salute was refused.  President Wilson ordered the port of Vera Cruz to be occupied.

On April 24, 1914, 502 Marines and 285 sailors from the USS Florida were landed. Later, another 384 sailors from the USS Utah were put ashore as well.  Fighting ensued and 22 were killed and another 70 wounded, one of who was Leon Robinson.


Looking Back 100 Years: Sycamore Resident Wounded at Battle of Vera Cruz in 1914

From the November 3, 2015, Midweek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

From October 1915, 100 years ago.

"Leon Robinson, a Sycamore boy, after being wounded in the first day's engagement of American seamen with Mexican troops at Vera Cruz over a year ago and finally recovering in the navy hospital in New York, being granted a furlough and visiting his father George E. Robinson in Sycamore and then getting married, has of late been serving on the President's yacht, the Mayflower.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Smithsonian Military Posters-- November 2015-- Part 2

Corn The Food of the Nation, Serve Some Every Meal.  Lloyd Harrison, United States Food Administration, circa 1918.

"In 1917 Herbert Hoover asked the housewives of America to register as members of the United States Food Administration.  Hoover encouraged all women involved in food preparation and management to pledge their service as household food conservators by following Food Administration recommendations for efficient preparation and consumption of food."


Smithsonian Military Posters Calendar, November 2015-- Part 1

This month's featured poster is "Corn The Food of the Nation," circa 1918.

If features a woman serving a pot of some kind of a corn product, perhaps grits?  .  It reads:  CORN

Serve Some Way
Every Meal


United States Food Administration.

There are containers of corn meal,  grits and hominy as well as a platter of muffins and pancakes and syrup.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Looking Back to DeKalb County History-- Part 3: A New Shopping Center, the Vietnam War and NIU in 1965

From the Oct. 14, 2015, Midweek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."


Ground was officially broken Monday for DeKalb's newest shopping center called Northland Plaza along Sycamore Road.  It will include a Woolco Department Store, a Kroger Super market, Super RX Drug, Leath Furniture Company and a Phillips 66 Gas Station.

U.S. military strength in Vietnam soared to a new high of 140,000 men.

U.S. Secretary of Labor, W. Willard Wirtz, a DeKalb native, will dedicate NIU's Wirtz Hall Tuesday.  NIU President Leslie A. Holmes announced this Wednesday.  The $1,750 building (I suppose this to be an error in print) building was named for William Wilbur Wirtz, the cabinet member's father who died last June 14.

He was a former NIU faculty member and served as chairman of the university's governing board.

Dredging work on the NIU campus' Lagoon is now completely finished.  They removed about 3 feet of silt from its floor in work that began in June.  The removed silt was used to build up the eqast shore of the Lagoon along the Kishwaukee River.  It is slated to be seeded and planted with trees by spring.

Lots of NIU News.  --Cooter

Looking Back to DeKalb County History-- Part 2: World War I Comes to Sycamore

From the Oct. 14, 2015, MidWeek "Looking Back."


  Holmes & Boyle in Sycamore have an interesting display of war trophies from Europe in their window.  It includes a German shrapnel exploded shell, a basket in which these shells are transported, German officer's coat pierced by bullets and stained with blood, A French officer's bayonet and cap, a Prussian's steel heel shoe and other trophies of great interest.

Of course, this was before the United States was involved in what has become known as World War I.


Looking Back at DeKalb County History-- Part 1: The WPA and a Bridge

From the Oct. 20, 2015, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back.


Work on the walk at the court house (in Sycamore) will begin on Thursday with about twenty men working on relaying the cement for the sidewalks as a WPA project.  A firmer foundation for the court house steps also will be provided.

The building of a temporary bridge north of the present bridge on Route 64 one mile west of Sycamore was started Monday. Workmen cleared weeds and shrubs along the bed of the branch of the Kishwaukee River.  After clearing, wooden pilings will be embedded  in the river and the temporary bridge constructed.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Arrest Records of 9 Men in Famed Sit-In to be Erased

From the January 28, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Meg Kinnard, AP

Nine black men arrested for integrating a whites-only South Carolina lunch counter nearly 54 years ago made them heroes in the Civil Rights movement, but the law still considered them guilty of trespassing.

On Wednesday, a Rock Hill, S.C., judge is expected to vacate the arrests and convictions of the men known as the Friendship Nine.

The eight students at Rock Hill's Friendship JuniorCollege:  Willie McCleod, John Gaines, Clarence Graham, W.T. "Dub" Massey, James Wells, David Wiilliamson Jr., Mack Workman and Robert McCullough (who died in 2006) were led by activist Thomas Gaither of the Congress of Racial Equality.

About a year had passed since the better-known lunch counter encounter at the Woolworth's in Greensboro, N.C. and they decided to do it in January 1961 at the white's-only lunch counter at McCrory's variety store.

They were arrested and convicted of trespassing and breach of the peace and opted for a month's hard labor rather than post bail.

Although their records are to be cleared, the men hope their nonviolence can be an example to protesters today.  "We still insist that nonviolence is the way to go," said Clarence Graham.  I think MLK would agree as well.

I am glad this happened.  They were very brave to challenge a horrible system intended to keep blacks down.

LBJ Letter to MLK's Widow Up For Auction

From the Feb. 20, 2015, Chicago Tribune "LBJ letter to King's widow up for auction" by Ian Shapira, the Washington Post.

It was written April 5, 1968, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee.  And it was sent by President Lyndon B. Johnson to Coretta Scott King to express his condolences and determination to find the murderer.

"We will overcome this calamity," he wrote.  She kept it until 2003 when she gave it to her husband's confidant, singer Harry Belafonte.

But he considered auctioning it in 2008, shortly before Coretta King died and King's three children objected and it wasn't.

But now, it is slated to be auctioned again.  Belafonte gifted the letter to his half-sister and brother-in-law who figured it was a good time to sell it because of all the 50 anniversary of the Civil Rights movement going on these days.  The minimum bid is $60,000.

They seem to be a bit too money-oriented and should have gifted it or sold it for a low price to the Civil Rights museum in  Memphis.

A followup in March in Reuters said it sold for $60,000 to an online bidder, but auctioneers had been expecting twice as much as I am sure Belafonte's relatives were as well.  Too bad, a piece of American history gone.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ten Most Famous Cemeteries in the U.S.-- Part 2: Hollywood Forever Cemetery

6.  HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY  Los Angeles.  Over 115 years old.  In the shadow of the famous Hollywood sign.  Among notables buried here:  Rudolph Valentino and Mel Blanc.

5.  BOOT HILL  Tombstone, Arizona.  They died with their boots on.  Up to 300 buried here.  One gravestone reads:  "Here lies Lester Moore / Four slugs / from a 44 / No less / No more."  Billy Clanton and Frank and Tom McLaury, victims of the OK Corral buried here.

4.  ST. LOUIS CEMETERY NO. 1  New Orleans.  Oldest of the city's three Catholic cemeteries, opened in 1789.  Built up because of low-lying land, vault on top of vault.  Marie Laveau buried here.

3.  FOREST LAWN MEMORIAL PARK  Glendale, California.   Final resting place of 250,000.  Among them: Gracie Allen, author L. Frank Baum "Wizard of Oz," Nat King Cole, W.C. Fields, Errol Flynn, Jean Harlow, Clark Gable and Walt Disney.

2.  GETTYSBURG NATIONAL CEMETERY  Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  The aftermath of the great battle and the famous speech.

1.  ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY  Arlington, Virginia.  The cemetery  built to "get" Robert E. Lee on his land.  Obviously, a real lot of famous people buried here.

Ten Most Famous Cemeteries in the U.S.-- Part 1: Olde Burying Point

From Listosaur.  They have more info and pictures.

10.   CAVALRY CEMETERY Queens, New York--  First burial in 1848.  Now has more than 3 million burials.  A lot of Medal of Honor winners and organized crime figures buried here.

9.  BONAVENTURE CEMETERY Savannah, Georgia.  The book "Midnight in the Garden of Evil" made this cemetery famous.  On the site of a former plantation.  Singer, songwriter "Moon River," Johnny Mercer buried here.

8.   SLEEPY HOLLOW CEMETERY  Sleepy Hollow, New York.  "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" written about the area and good ol' "Headless."  Opened 1849 and originally called Tarrytown Cemetery, but became Sleepy Hollow Cemetery after Washington Irving's death.  I wrote a lot about this one in my Not So Forgotten War of 1812 Blog this past week.  A lot of famous people buried here and for some reason gets very very popular this time of year.  Someone stole Irving's War of 1812 medallion earlier this month.

7.  OLDE BURYING POINT  Salem, Massachusetts.  Second-oldest cemetery in the U.S., established 50 years before the hysteria BUT no actual victims buried here.  Twenty residents put to death at the time, but only two have known graves.  The others were denied a Christian burial.  But many connected with the trial ARE buried here.  Also, another grave is of Captain Richard More, believed to be the oldest surviving male from the Mayflower when he died at 84 in 1696.

It's the Time of the Season.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Deaths for Week Ending October 4, 2015-- Part 2: Bagel Man and a Merry Prankster

Not only were there a lot of musicians dying, but also a lot of other interesting people.

VO PHLEN, 89--  Prolific Vietnamese author who preserved his country's wartime after landing in America as a refugee, producing the exhaustive collection "Van Hoc Mien Nam, Tong Quan," an overview of South Vietnamese literature from 1954 to 1975.  Died Sept. 29.

MARK SINGER, 67--  Architect whose dramatic use of concrete, rock, glass and exposed steel marked a sharp contrast from the traditional wooden cottages in the Laguna Beach, California, community.  Died Sept. 17.

DANIEL THOMPSON, 94--  Inventor of a commercially viable bagel-making machine who became a key figure behind what some have called "the industrialization of the bagel."  Died Sept. 3.

LEON VALSMAN, 64--  Prankster who came to the University of Wisconsin at Madison in the 1970s to study in "the graduate school of fun" and ended up masterminding such famous stunts as 1,000 flamingos on Bascom Hill and a Statue of Liberty head on frozen Lake Mendota.  Died Sept. 29.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Deaths for Week Ending Oct. 4, 2015-- Part 1: "Sea Cruise"

From the Oct. 4, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Deaths in the News"


BEN CAULEY, 67. Trumpeter and member of Stax Records group, the Bar-Kays who was the only survivor of the 1967 plane crash that killed most of his bandmates and Otis Redding..  Died Sept. 21.

WILTON FELDER, 75--  Bass and sax player and original member of the Crusaders.  Performed on hundreds of recordings with artists like Joni Mitchell, Michael Jackson, Marvin gaye and Steely Dan.  Died Sept. 27th.

FRANKIE FORD, 76--  Rock & Roll and R&B singer whose 1959 hit "Sea Cruise" brought him international fame at age 19.  Also recorded "Roberta," "Time After Time" and "You Talk Too Much."  Died Sept. 28.

PHIL WOODS, 83--  Leading alto saxophonist in mainstream jazz whose piercing solos could be heard on hit records by Quincy Jones, Billy Joel and Paul Simon.  Died Sept. 29.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fifteen Facts About the Original "Ghostbusters"-- Part 3 "Ghost Chasers"?

11.  While shooting in Central Park, Reitnab filmed footage of Murray and Ackroyd acting like a Greek chorus while dressed as homeless men.  It was not included because they were too recognizable.

12.  Ecto-1, or the Ectomobile, was originally a pink Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance rescued from a salvage yard.  It was originally painted jet-black but they realized it would be too hard to see in the night shots.

13.  The coveralls worn by the Ghostbusters were essentially the ones in Aykroyd's original treatment.  Oscar-winning costumer Theoni Aldredge tricked them out blue-collar way.  (remember how many people wore these for costumes back then?)

14.  The original title was to be "Ghost Smashers," then "Ghost Chasers before it became "Ghostbusters."  There was a 1970s live action show called "The Ghost Busters."  Contingency plans also had possible names "Ghoststoppers" and "Ghostblasters."  But when the crowd started chanting "Ghostbusters" the studio ponied up fopr "Ghostbusters."  Who you gonna call, Ghost Smashers?

15.  Merchandise took off in 1986 with the cartoon "The Real Ghostbusters" which ran for seven seasons.

"If There's Something Weird, and It Don't Look Good."  --DaCoot

Fifteen Facts About the Original "Ghostbusters"-- Part 2: "The Slimer"

6.  The Stay Puft Man was a cross between the Michelin Man and the Pillsbury Doughboy.  For the big explosion, gallons of shaving cream were dropped over the Ghostbusters.

7.  Other than Mr. Stay Puft, the most memorable ghost was Slimer.  He was originally known as Onionhead on the set because of his stench characteristic in early drafts.  Once Venkman said "I've been slimed!", he immediately became the Slimer.

8.  Most of the cast came from sketch comedy troupes like Second City, SNL and SCTV and so a lot of adlibbing occurred.  After capturing the Slimer in the hotel, the door flew open and out came Bill Murray who said a total of ten different things, seven of which were considered great.  But they kept the now classic, "We came, we saw, we kicked its ass."

9.  The first ghost, the "Library Ghost" was played by actress Ruth Oliver in human form.  The scary version was played by a puppet.  The exterior shots of the scene came from the New York Public Library and interior from the Los Angeles Public Library.  The transformation was filmed on a sound stage.

10.  Director Reitman spent nearly a month in New York City shooting on location.  Key sites include: Lincoln Center, Columbus Circle, the old Tavern on the Green Restaurant, Central Park and Columbia University. (as long as they agreed not to mention the school in the film, however, they proudly brag about it now).

"If There's Something Strange in Your Neighborhood."  --Cooter

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Fifteen Facts About the Original "Ghostbusters"-- Part 1: Dan Aykroyd Believes in Ghosts

From the October 26, 2015, Yahoo! Movies "15 Facts You Didn't Know About the Original Ghostbusters..." by Marcus Errico.

1.  Dan Aykroyd believes in ghosts and wrote "Ghostbusters."

2.  Dan Aykroyd dreamed up the original treatment around 1981 and called it "Ghost Smashers."

3.  The script was written for John Belushi to play Peter Venkman, but he had died of a drug overdose in 1982.  Then, they tried to get Eddie Murphy and later Chevy Chase for the role.  Chase did appear in Ray Parker Jr's "Ghostbusters" video.

4.  John Candy was tapped to play Louis Tully, the accountant, but Rick Moranis got it.

5.  Elements remaining from the original treatment that made it to film was the core team battling spooks fireman-style, the apparition with the voracious appetite and the monstrous Stay Puft marshmallow man.  They had several versions of what Terror Dog would look like.

Who You Gonna Call?  --DaCoot

Cubs' Ghosts-- Part 4: Fan Interference

2003--  We really thought this would be that evasive World Series year (last one was in 1945).  The Cubs led the Marlins 3-1 in the National league Championship Series, but lose the final three games including a Game 6 heartbreaker in which they are five outs from going to a World Series and a Cubs fan (I won't say his name) interferes with a foul ball and the team suddenly and inexplicably implodes on the field, then blows Game 7 as well.

I won't say the fan's name, but absolutely everyone around him was reaching for it as well, including that slickster lawyer who got it and made a lot of money off it.

2007--  The Cubs lose Game 1 of the NLDS to the Diamondbacks when manager Lou Pinella removes Carlos Zambrano in the seventh of a 1-1 game so he'll be fresh for his next playoff start.  Arizona scores two runs off Carlos Marmol and goes on to a 3-1 win en route to a three game sweep.  Zambrano's next start has to wait until 2008.  Guess he got adequate rest.

2008--  The Cubs lose Game 1 of the NLDS to the Dodgers after team executive Crane Kenney brings in a priest to spread holy water in the dugout and remove the goat curse.  James Loney's fifth-inning grand slam odd Ryan Dempster gives the Dodgers a 4-2 lead and turns Wrigley into a morgue.  The Dodgers go on to a 3-0 sweep, and the Cubs pay damages for breaking a water pipe at Dodgers Stadium and flooding their dugout.

A Long, Sad History.  --CootSad

Monday, October 26, 2015

Cubs' Ghosts-- Part 3: The Gatorade Glove

1984--  The Cubs lead the Padres 2-0 in the best-of-five NLCS, but lose the final three games, including a Game 5 heartbreaker in which a ground ball goes past Cubs first baseman Leon Durham.  Legend has it that Gatorade was spilled on Durham's glove  Steve Garvey's walk-off against off Lee Smith in Game 4 was equally disasterous.

1989--  The Cubs lose Game 3 of the NLCS to the Giants when reliever Les Lancaster wnters in the 7th with a 1-0 count on Robby Thompson.  Lancaster forgets the count and grooves a fastball on a 2-0 pitch and Lancaster hits a two-run, game-winning home run.  Lancaster admits that he thought the count was 3-0.  The Giants take a 2-1 series lead and go on to win 4-1.

1998--  The Cubs lose Game 2 of the National League Division Series to the Braves after leading 1-0 with one out in the 9th.  Javy Lopez's home run off Kevin Tapani ties the game, and Terry Mulholland loses it in the 10th.  remarkable seasons by Sammy Sosa and rookie Kerry Wood end with a 3-0 sweep by the Braves.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Cubs' Ghosts-- Part 2: Sonovia the Goat and the Black Cat

1932--  The Cubs lose Game 3 of the World Series to the Yankees at Wrigley as Babe Ruth allegedly points to centerfield and calls his home run off pitcher Charlie Root.  The Cubs get swept the next day, and Ruth's "called shot" becomes legendary, whether it actually happened or not.

1945--  The Cubs lose Game 4 of the World Series to the Tigers after Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis is denied admission to Wrigley because he refuses to leave his smelly goat, Sonovia, outside.  After the Cubs lose in seven games, Sianis sends a wire to the Cubs' owner: "Who smells now?"  Sianis places a curse on the team, saying they will never play in a World Series again.

So far, they haven't.

1969--  The Cubs blow an 8 1/2 game lead over the Mets in the National League East, along with their best opportunity in 24 years to get back to the World Series.  When a black cat crosses paths with Ron Santo near the on-deck circle Sept. 9 at Shea Stadium, the die is cast.  It remains the most epic of the Cubs failures.

As much as I like the Cubs, I have to admit that I wasn't watching too much baseball this year as I was still in mourning for the White Sox collapse in 1967.

Crying In My Beer.  --Cooter

Friday, October 23, 2015

Cubs' Ghosts: A Guide to Goats, Gloves and More-- Part 1

From the October 11, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Cubs' Ghosts: An illustrated guide to goats, gloves and more" by Paul Sullivan and Rick Tuma.

Just in time for Halloween, things that go bump in the night and scare the Cub faithful.

"Funny things have happened to the Cubs over the last century or so on their way to a world championship, conspiring to deprive fans of the ultimate celebration every year. Whether it's a lost fly  ball in the sun, a called shot, a black cat, a smelly goat or a momentum-shifting foul ball, it's always something.

"Here are 10 of the most miserable moments in Cubs history:"

1929--  The Cubs lead the Philadelphia A's 8-0 in game 4 of the World Series before the A's score ten runs in the 8th for a 10-8 lead.  Star outfielder Hack Wilson loses not one, but two fly balls in the sun, one that leads to a 3-run, inside-the-park home run.

Two weeks later, the stock market crashes, starting the Great Depression, but Cubs fans already have a head start.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Sears Home Legacy-- Part 4: For the "Man of Average Abilities"

Compared to conventional construction, homeowners saved about 30% by building their own homes from a kit.  Sears Roebuck promised a "man of average abilities could assemble a Sears kit home in about 90 days."  About half were constructed by owners.  Professionals built the remainder, charging and estimated $450 in 1908.  (I would have had to have a professional build my home as I have a problem with tending to hit my thumb.)

The first home catalog, issued in 1908, was 68 pages and offered  44 house designs ranging in price from $695 to $4,115.  By the time Frank Novak's Crystal Lake house was built at 297 McHenry Avenue in 1927, the options had grown.

His Hamilton bungalow featured built-in seating in the dining room and a "delightful" window configuration.  Frank Novak bought his home 25 years ago from the original owner.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sears Home Legacy-- Part 3: Bob's House

My brother Bob sent me an e-mail about his Sear home in Goldsboro, N.C..  he said that it was built in 1920 and cost $4500..  It came without an optional bathroom which would have cost another $500.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sears Home Legacy-- Part 2: 750 Pounds of Nails

Homebuyers could select from 447 models.  Options included reversing floor plans, swapping wooden siding for brick, adding storm doors and windows, the addition of screen doors and asphalt shingles and the color of cabinetry hardware.

Entire homes from pre-cut lumber to carved staircases, down to nails and varnish--  would be delivered by rail.  Each kit contained 10,000 to 30,000 pieces of house-- the framing materials numbered to ease construction.

The Chelsea model, for example, came with 750 pounds of nails, 22 gallons of paint and varnish and 20,000 shingles.  There were also extensive instructions.

My brother lives in Goldsboro, N.C., in a Sears home.


Sears Home Legacy-- Part 1: A Catalog Home

From the Sept. 24, 2015, Northwest Herald (Illinois) "Sears home legacy to be explored at historical society program" by Kurt Begalka.

McHenry County resident Frank Novak doesn't just live in any old house.  he lives in a Sears home.  Most people don't know it, but at one point in the early 1900s, many Americans were buying their homes from the Sears catalog.

According to sears archives, about 70,000 pre-fabricated "modern homes" were sold between 1908 and 1940, including many in McHenry County.

Architectural historian Rebecca Hunter of Elgin talked about these homes, their impact and continuing legacy at a 2 p.m. Sept. 27 program at the McHenry County Historical Museum in Union.  The cost is $5 and includes museum admission for society members and $10 for nonmembers.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Big Ten Stadiums: Three Best Experiences

3.  PENN STATE--  Beaver Stadium (106,572)--  No place rocks like Beaver Stadium at night.  Add a "whiteout" in the stands, maybe some rain and a fierce Penn State defense, and the intensity is unmatched.  there's a reason nearly every Big Ten player calls this the conference's most intimidating venue.  Even more daunting, the traffic on the way out.

2.  NEBRASKA--  Memorial Stadium (85,000)  The "Sea of Red" has filled the stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, since 1962, an astounding 343 consecutive sellouts.  With an average home attendance of 91,249 last season, the Cornhuskers ranked fourth in the Big Ten (considering the other three all seat 104,000+ that is pretty good).  The historic feel of the 1922 construction has had upgrades to make this a comfortable, high-tech yet intimate stadium.

1.  OHIO STATE--Ohio Stadium (104,944)  If you don't like red, don't show up.  And, if you don't like the marching band's beautifully choreographed "Script Ohio" at half time, there's something wrong with you.  The  double-decker gives "The Shoe" (short for horseshoe) a massive feel.  I saw that Michael Jackson "Moonwalk" the band did.  Wow.

Big Ten Football.  --Cooter

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Big Ten Stadiums-- Part 4: Michigan and Wisconsin

5.  MICHIGAN--  Michigan Stadium (101,901) The Big House experience starts at a neighboring golf course where a huge pre-game tailgating takes place.  Once inside, you'll be amazed that a stadium this size almost seems compact because it is a bowl where even the top row yields no nose bleeds.  Noise escapes the bowl and Michigan fans are considerably less loud so not as intimidating of a place as might be expected.

4.  WISCONSIN  Camp Randall Stadium (80,321)  On the site of an old Civil War training camp, hence the name.  You'll never forget your first "Jump Around."  The House iof Pain anthem blares before the fourth quarter and everyone starts hopping, the stadium shakes and you hope that every nut and bolt holds.  It is the Big Ten's best stadium tradition.  So eat a brat, chug a Spotted Cow, toss a football on Monroe Street, grab a seat and look for Barry Alvarez in a red blazer.

--Ra-Ra-Ras, Kick 'Em In the Other Knee.  --Cooter

Friday, October 16, 2015

Big Ten Stadiums-- Part 3; The Middle Experiences, Northwestern

Especially since I will be at the Northwestern-Iowa game tomorrow.

9.  NORTHWESTERN--  Ryan Field (47,330)  Northwestern officials liken the former Dyche Stadium to Wrigley Field, without the ivy.  There is rooftop viewing, though, on Walker terrace at the north end.  The old-timey feel was captured on the film "The Express" about 1961 Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis.  Since Ohio State fans took over in 2006, NU has countered with ticket-selling schemes to keep purple the predominant color for the Wildcats.  However, red dominated last year when NIU played Northwestern.  A bonus  for the fans on the west side, a view of nearby Lake Michigan.

8.  MINNESOTA-- TCF Bank Stadium  (50,805)  Another corporate name.  One of the smallest stadiums in the Big Ten and also one of the newest, opening in 2009.  They even sell beer and it has one of the largest college football video displays, measuring 48 feet high and 108 feet across.  The Gophers are now outdoors after playing a long time inside at the Metrodome.

7.  MICHIGAN STATE--  Spartan Stadium (75,005)  It is not the biggest, coolest or most historic, but Spartan Stadium gets the job done-- especially at night, when crowds get wild.  Michigan State has been playing well here under Coach Mark Dantonio, going 15-1 since 2013.  The stadium opened in 1923 and has had frequent upgrades.

6.  IOWA--  Kinnick Stadium (70,585)  The Hawkeyes had an $89 million upgrade in 2006 with new scoreboards, more concession stands, rest rooms, private suites and a grand main entrance.  This is the place to be in Iowa City on game day, but the Hawkeyes have lost nine home games since 2012.

Ra-Ra-Ree  Lick 'Em in the Kneww.  --Cooter

Best Big Ten Stadiums-- Part 2: The Bottom Experiences

14.  PURDUE--  Ross-Ade Stadium (57,236)  Poor performance on the field leads to poor attendance.  Last among Big Ten teams with 35,269 per game while suffering a 3-9 2014 season for the Boilermakers.

13.  INDIANA--  Memorial Stadium (52,929)  Fans have dubbed it "the Rock" in honor of the Indiana limestone boulder the late Terry Hoeppner had installed in the north end zone.  A big challenge for the Hoosiers is to get fans to go to their seats instead of hanging out at the tailgates.  Maybe get Indiana's John Mellancamp to start performing for the games.

12.  RUTGERS--  High Point Solutions Stadium (52,454)  Thumbs down for a mouthful of a corporate name.  The stadium is not on campus either.  In first Big ten season, though, the Scarlet Knights drew 50,632 per game  Improvements are planned.

11.  ILLINOIS--  Memorial Stadium. (60,670)  The addition of the Grange Grove tailgating area has helped and a high definition video has been added, but the Illini still fail to draw fans, partly because of poor field performance of late.  Ranked above only Northwestern and Purdue in home attendance with 41,549.

10.  MARYLAND--  Byrd Stadium (51,802)Attendance is below capacity for terrapin games, but an upgrade in 2009 added 64 suites and 440 new mezzanine seats.  Students have proposed a name change because former university president for whom the stadium was named, was a segregationist.

Hep, One, Hup Two.  --DaCoot

Best Big Ten Stadiums-- Part 1

From the October 2, 2015, Chicago Tribune "The Shoe Fits" by Teddy Greenstein and Shannon Ryan.

"The Big Ten (-11, -12, -13, -14) is a conference of big dreams and even bigger fan bases.  So it fits that the nation's largest three stadiums reside in a footprint that now stretches from Nebraska to new Jersey.  With full-scale conference play beginning Saturday, the Tribunes offers its rankings of Big ten stadiums based on quality of its structure, its tradition, the enthusiasm of the fan base and game-day atmosphere."

I still don't know about Big 10-14 teams being in Maryland and New Jersey.  It IS a Midwest Conference.  Somebody seems to have forgotten that in the GRB race to riches.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Teachers Went Begging in Great Depression-- Part 7

In 1933, teachers almost got a measure of relief from the legislature until Governor Horner vetoed a bill allowing them to walk out of their classrooms once their pay was 90 days in arrears.  This got the teachers very upset and they began to have mass marches and noisy protest.

During spring break of 1935, 5,000 teachers converged on the Loop which led to quite a confrontation, though nonviolent.

During these times teachers were accused and denounced as radicals poisoning student minds with revolutionary ideologies.  Accusations were made that the students were being sacrificed because of their greed.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Teachers Went Begging in Great Depression-- Part 6: "Mutilated Paychecks"

Hoping to restore confidence in its scrip, the school board issued "mutilated paychecks."  When banks refused to cash them, the board offered to trade scrip for the checks.  In a 1932 Tribune headline it said, "Teachers May Be Paid With N.S.F. Checks."  City officials even considered lobbying the state legislature to repeal the law against writing bad checks.  By then, the board owed employees $12.9 million.

There wasn't much the educators could do.  They lacked the ultimate weapon used by teachers today: a strike.  And, the school board let it be known they were not in favor of teacher unions.  In 1915, school board president Jacob Loeb had denounced the fledgling Chicago teachers Federation as a bunch of "lady labor sluggers."


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Teachers Went Begging in Great Depression-- Part 5: The Situation Worsening

Agnes Clohesy, a teachers union officer told the Tribune on Nov. 4, 1931, "There are cases where teachers, until they received their September pay last week, had borrowed all they could, had no money for carfare, and were stinting themselves on their food."

The Tribune calculated that by the end of the year the board of education would owe $9,736,000 in overdue salaries to teachers and other employees with no prospects of getting the money.

One new teacher was "living on graham crackers and milk"  A year later, one said that she had been unable to make mortgage payments and was on the verge of losing her house:  "I am not getting younger, and I have always hated the thoughts of the poorhouse."  Even one teacher's child had died because of want of medical attention because of lack of money.


Teachers Went Begging in Great Depression-- Part 4

But in 1933, the board somehow found the money to secretly give the janitors, who were often patronage workers.  The janitors were already better paid than teachers.

When that news leaked out, John Fewkes, a physical eduaction teacher at Tilden High School, urged teachers to take to the streets.

Teachers were already angry with the payless paydays, scrip that decreased in value and weren't always accepted by local merchants.

Despite all this, teachers were still deeply concerned about their students.  In the Sullivan School District near the steel mills, teachers managed to feed and clothe needy students early on in the Depression, but by 1931 "helping their pupils was out of the question."


Monday, October 12, 2015

Teachers Went Begging in Great Depression-- Part 3: School Board Shenanigans

"Although the Chicago Board of Education recently adopted a budget with a $500 million hole in it, that risky gambit pales by comparison with the shenanigans of board members during the Great Depression.

"For many months, the board simply didn't pay its teachers and other employees.  Then the board tried to pay them with script, which wasn't much of an improvement as the paper IOUs had limited value.  Admittedly, the board was facing the worst economic crash in the nation's history (brought on by the greedy rich and greedy rich want-to-bes) and didn't have a lot of good choices.

"At one point, board members even considered asking the state legislature to repeal laws against check kiting so they could pay teachers with bad checks from empty coffers."

Hard Times.  --DaCoot