Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Christmas Truce 1914

A cross, left near Ypres in Belgium in 1999, to commemorate the site of the Christmas Truce in 1914. The text reads: “1914 The Khaki Chum’s Christmas Truce 1999 85 Years Lest We Forget.”

Dec. 25, 1914

The Christmas Truce

The following story (and variants thereof) are being sent via email to people the world over. It may sound like an urban legend but according to Snopes and other reliable sources, it is absolutely true. From Snopes:


During World War I, in the winter of 1914, on the battlefields of Flanders, one of the most unusual events in all of human history took place. The Germans had been in a fierce battle with the British and French. Both sides were dug in, safe in muddy, man-made trenches six to eight feet deep that seemed to stretch forever.

All of a sudden, German troops began to put small Christmas trees, lit with candles, outside of their trenches. Then, they began to sing songs. Across the way, in the “no man’s land” between them, came songs from the British and French troops. Incredibly, many of the Germans, who had worked in England before the war, were able to speak good enough English to propose a “Christmas” truce.

The British and French troops, all along the miles of trenches, accepted. In a few places, allied troops fired at the Germans as they climbed out of their trenches. But the Germans were persistent and Christmas would be celebrated even under the threat of impending death.

According to Stanley Weintraub, who wrote about this event in his book, Silent Night, “signboards arose up and down the trenches in a variety of shapes. They were usually in English, or – from the Germans – in fractured English. Rightly, the Germans assumed that the other side could not read traditional gothic lettering, and that few English understood spoken German. ‘YOU NO FIGHT, WE NO FIGHT’ was the most frequently employed German message. Some British units improvised ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS’ banners and waited for a response. More placards on both sides popped up.”

A spontaneous truce resulted. Soldiers left their trenches, meeting in the middle to shake hands. The first order of business was to bury the dead who had been previously unreachable because of the conflict.

Then, they exchanged gifts. Chocolate cake, cognac, postcards, newspapers, tobacco. In a few places, along the trenches, soldiers exchanged rifles for soccer balls and began to play games.

It didn’t last forever. In fact, some of the generals didn’t like it at all and commanded their troops to resume shooting at each other. After all, they were in a war. Soldiers eventually did resume shooting at each other. But only after, in a number of cases, a few days of wasting rounds of ammunition shooting at stars in the sky instead of soldiers in the opposing army across the field.

For a few precious moments there was peace on earth good will toward men. All because the focus was on Christmas. Happens every time. There’s something about Christmas that changes people. It happened over 2000 years ago in a little town called Bethlehem. It’s been happening over and over again down through the years of time. God willing, it will happen again...

Just after midnight on Christmas morning, the majority of German troops engaged in World War I cease firing their guns and artillery and commence to sing Christmas carols. At certain points along the eastern and western fronts, the soldiers of Russia, France, and Britain even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing.

At the first light of dawn, many of the German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man's-land, calling out "Merry Christmas" in their enemies' native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer.

The so-called Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare. In 1915, the bloody conflict of World War I erupted in all its technological fury, and the concept of another Christmas Truce became unthinkable.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


The History of Thanksgiving

Early Puritans observed Thanksgiving days of prayer, but Sarah Josepha Hale's, the author of Mary Had a Little Lamb, crusade for a national day of thanks is what ultimately gave us Thanksgiving.

The Pilgrim's Menu

Foods That May Have Been on the Menu

Seafood: Cod, Eel, Clams, Lobster Wild Fowl: Wild Turkey, Goose, Duck, Crane, Swan, Partridge, Eagles Meat: Venison, Seal Grain: Wheat Flour, Indian Corn Vegetables: Pumpkin, Peas, Beans, Onions, Lettuce, Radishes, Carrots Fruit: Plums, Grapes Nuts: Walnuts, Chestnuts, Acorns Herbs and Seasonings: Olive Oil, Liverwort, Leeks, Dried Currants, Parsnips

What Was Not on the Menu

Surprisingly, the following foods, all considered staples of the modern Thanksgiving meal, didn't appear on the pilgrims's first feast table:

Ham: There is no evidence that the colonists had butchered a pig by this time, though they had brought pigs with them from England. Sweet Potatoes/Potatoes: These were not common. Corn on the Cob: Corn was kept dried out at this time of year. Cranberry Sauce: The colonists had cranberries but no sugar at this time. Pumpkin Pie: It's not a recipe that exists at this point, though the pilgrims had recipes for stewed pumpkin. Chicken/Eggs: We know that the colonists brought hens with them from England, but it's unknown how many they had left at this point or whether the hens were still laying. Milk: No cows had been aboard the Mayflower, though it's possible that the colonists used goat milk to make cheese.

Thanks to History.Com

Sunday, October 24, 2010

This Day In History-Over Niagra Falls In A Barrel!

October 24:

1901, First Barrel Ride Down Niagara Falls

On this day in 1901, a 63-year-old schoolteacher named Annie Edson Taylor becomes the first person to take the plunge over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

After her husband died in the Civil War, the New York-born Taylor moved all over the U. S. before settling in Bay City, Michigan, around 1898. In July 1901, while reading an article about the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, she learned of the growing popularity of two enormous waterfalls located on the border of upstate New York and Canada. Strapped for cash and seeking fame, Taylor came up with the perfect attention-getting stunt: She would go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

Taylor was not the first person to attempt the plunge over the famous falls. In October 1829, Sam Patch, known as the Yankee Leaper, survived jumping down the 175-foot Horseshoe Falls of the Niagara River, on the Canadian side of the border. More than 70 years later, Taylor chose to take the ride on her birthday, October 24. (She claimed she was in her 40s, but genealogical records later showed she was 63.) With the help of two assistants, Taylor strapped herself into a leather harness inside an old wooden pickle barrel five feet high and three feet in diameter. With cushions lining the barrel to break her fall, Taylor was towed by a small boat into the middle of the fast-flowing Niagara River and cut loose.

The first barrel trip over the Falls was made by Annie Edson Taylor, a school teacher from Bay City Michigan, on October 4, 1901. Annie's barrel was curiously constructed, tapered almost to a point at the bottom and bound with metal hoops. It was padded with pillows and had a 45.4 kg (100 lb.) anvil in its bottom to keep it upright as it floated downriver.

It had an air supply, "enough to last her a week", forced into the barrel with a common bicycle pump after the barrel's lid was closed. To ensure that the barrel would float down the river and over the Horseshoe Falls, it had to be set adrift in the Canadian current. It would have been impossible for Canadian authorities to stop her trip even if they had wanted to, because Annie's handlers towed the barrel from Grass Island on the United States side and into the Canadian current where it was set adrift at 4:05 p.m. Knocked violently from side to side by the rapids and then propelled over the edge of Horseshoe Falls, the barrel tipped slightly forward as it went over the brink of the Horseshoe Falls and disappeared behind the curtain of falling water. Seventeen minutes later it floated out from behind the Falls and was stranded on the rocks close to the location of the present day Table Rock Observation Platform. The barrel was opened and Annie Taylor emerged, delirious and with a slight cut on her jaw.

Taylor reached the shore alive, if a bit battered, around 20 minutes after her journey began. She made the trip in an attempt to achieve fame and fortune. Taylor's fame cooled, and she was unable to make the fortune for which she had hoped. but achieved neither in her lifetime. She died in the poorhouse twenty years later. After a brief flurry of photo-ops and speaking engagements, she did, however, inspire a number of copy-cat daredevils. Between 1901 and 1995, 15 people went over the falls; 10 of them survived. Among those who died were Jesse Sharp, who took the plunge in a kayak in 1990, and Robert Overcracker, who used a jet ski in 1995. No matter the method, going over Niagara Falls is illegal, and survivors face charges and stiff fines on either side of the border.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

This Day in History:Kennedy Urges Americans to Build Bomb Shelters-Oct. 6,1961

Oct 6, 1961:

President John F. Kennedy, speaking on civil defense, advises American families to build bomb shelters to protect them from atomic fallout in the event of a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union. Kennedy also assured the public that the U.S. civil defense program would soon begin providing such protection for every American. Only one year later, true to Kennedy's fears, the world hovered on the brink of full-scale nuclear war when the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted over the USSR's placement of nuclear missiles in Cuba. During the tense 13-day crisis, some Americans prepared for nuclear war by buying up canned goods and completing last-minute work on their backyard bomb shelters.

On this day in 1961, President John F. Kennedy advised U.S. families to build bomb shelters to protect themselves from atomic fallout in the event of a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union. In a speech on civil defense issues, Kennedy assured the public that the government would soon begin providing such protection for every American.

Kennedy told Congress on May 25, on the eve of his Vienna meeting with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, that his “administration has been looking hard at exactly what civil defense can and cannot do. It cannot be obtained cheaply. It cannot give an assurance of blast protection that will be proof against surprise attack or guaranteed against obsolescence or destruction. And it cannot deter a nuclear attack.”
Then, on July 25, after the Soviets imposed a blockade on West Berlin, JFK said in a nationwide televised speech that “in the event of an attack, the lives of those families which are not hit in a nuclear blast and fire can still be saved if they can be warned to take shelter and if that shelter is available.”

The president went on say: “We owe that kind of insurance to our families and to our country. ... The time to start is now. In the coming months, I hope to let every citizen know what steps he can take without delay to protect his family in case of attack. I know you would not want to do less.”

In the aftermath of Kennedy’s speech, Congress voted for $169 million to locate, mark and stock fallout shelters in existing public and private buildings. A year later, with the advent of the 13-day Cuban Missile Crisis, some Americans prepared for nuclear war by hoarding canned goods and completing last-minute work on their backyard bomb shelters.

Visitors to the California State Fair in Sacramento, Sept. 8, 1961, took a close look at this 3,000 demonstration fallout shelter.
AP Photo

This is what we were supposed to be sheltered from...

Thanks to

Friday, September 24, 2010

Today In History! The Bullwinkle Show! Remember?

Bullwinkle Pictures, Images and Photos

1961 - "The Bullwinkle Show" premiered in prime time on NBC-TV. The show was originally on ABC in the afternoon as "Rocky and His Friends."

Bullwinkle Pictures, Images and Photos

Show Summary

The Bullwinkle Show is a funny animated cartoon about a dimwitted moose (Bullwinkle) and his spunky flying squrriel friend (Rocky) getting in and out of adventures and foiling the plans of their archenemies (Boris and Natasha). Rocky is the smarter of the two. He likes to fly in the air and cook… More salami soufflĂ©. Bullwinkle isn't the brightest star in the sky, he likes to hang out with his buddy Rocky. Boris is the short bad guy with the black suit and is the one with the "brains." Natasha is a tall skiny dark haired lady that assists in Boris's evil scheme. Both are sent to do evil plots by their boss, Fearless Leader. 

 First airing on ABC in 1959 with Rocky and Bullwinkle, the show was called "Rocky and his Friends". At that time, the show was in black and white. Later in 1961, the show moved to NBC with Bullwinkle's popularity, the show was renamed "The Bullwinkle Show". Then, the show began to run in color. The show would always air with a Bullwinkle segment, the "Fractured Fairy Tales" then "Mr. Know-it-All", "Peabody's Inprobabale History" Another Bullwinkle segment and finally "Bullwinkle's Corner".

"Hello poetry lovers" One of segments on the Bullwinkle Show...Bullwinkle's Corner Bullwinkle always tries to recite a famous poem, but stuff always happens: Boris wrecks the poem, Rocky doesn't do his part right, or it's just plain Bullwinkle's fault!

 Rocky and Bullwinkle have been on TV for more than 40 years throughout various syndication. The show started in black and white called Rocky and His Friends, then went to color called The Bullwinkle Show. TV-G


Rocket J. "Rocky" Squirrel

 One of the main stars of the show. Rocky is just an all-american flying squrriel who wears a blue aviator's helmets.

Bullwinkle J. Moose

 The Main Moose. Bullwinkle is a dimwitted moose who always goes anywhere without little buddy (Rocky). He and Rocky live in a little town of Frostbite Falls, Minnesota.


The guy who lets ya' know what's going on. When narrating, he uses awful puns or confused words that makes you wanna laugh or wanna make Rocky, Bullwinkle, and everyone else get sore.

Boris Badenov

A Pottsyvainaian spy who is always wanting to "kill moose and squirrel" with his parter, Natasha.

Natasha Fatale

Boris's partner in crime.

Fearless Leader

 Boris and Natasha's boss and the one who comes up with the plans to defeat Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Mr. Big

A midget villain who wanted Bullwinkle's upsidasium. Then was sent to the moon, where he made metal munching mice to destroy American TV. He appears in "Upsidasium" and "Metal-Munching Mice".

Captain Peter Wrongway Peachfuzz

One of Rocky and Bullwinkle's friends. His fullname is Wrongway Peachfuzz and no wonder because he does everything the wrong way.

Gidney and Cloyd Moonman

 The moonmen duo and Rocky and Bullwinkle's friends. Gidney is the one with the moustache and Cloyd is the one with the scrootch-gun. They appeared in "Jet Fuel Formula" and "Metal-Munching Mice".

Chaunzy and Edgar

Two old timers that are frequently seen in the show. Usually you see them saying "Well there's something you don't see everyday Chauntzy" "What's that Edgar?"

Uncle Dewlap

Bullwinkle's dead uncle who was twice removed, once for vagrancy, and the other for loitering.


She introduced Fratured Fairy Tales and is always getting squished by the fairy tale book.

Edward Everett Horton

The guy who let's you know what's going on in Fractured Fairy Tales.

Mr. Peabody

A Genius dog who can go back in time with his "WAYBAC" machine.


An orphan boy that Mr. Peabody adopted.

Other Minor Characters

Dudley Do-Right

 A mixed-up Canadian mounty who is "always there to save the day". He appears in Upsidasium, Buried Treasure and The Last Angry Moose.

Nell Fenwick

 Dudley's vision of lovelyness. Nell is the daughter of Ispector Fenwick. She appears in Upsidasium, Buried Treasure and The Last Angry Moose.

Inspector Nathaniel Fenwick

The Inspector of the R.C.M.P. (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) and Dudley's role model. He appears in Upsidasium, Buried Treasure and The Last Angry Moose.


 Dudley's horse that Nell love. He appears in Upsidasium, Buried Treasure and The Last Angry Moose.

Snidley K. Whiplash

Dudley's archenemy and Nell's secret admirer. He appears in Upsidasium, Buried Treasure and The Last Angry Moose.


An ancient Greek fableteller and alway's had a moral. He appears in Upsidasium, Metal-Munching Mice, Greenpernt Oogle, Rue Britannia, Buried Treasure, The Last Angry Moose, and Wailing Whale.


Aesops's son. He appears in Upsidasium, Metal-Munching Mice, Greenpernt Oogle, Rue Britannia, Buried Treasure, The Last Angry Moose, and Wailing Whale.


Rocky and Bullwinkle was originally to be part of the "Frostbite-Falls Revue." It was about a group of forest animals running a TV station. The group included Rocket J. Squirrel, Oski Bear, Canadian Moose (Bullwinkle), Sylvester Fox, Blackstone Crow, and Floral Fauna. The show was created by Jay Ward's former partner Alex Anderson, but it never sold.

 Airing Format

From seasons 1-2 were formated as one Bullwinkle and Rocky cartoon, then a Fractured Fairy Tale (or Aesop and Son), Mr. Know-it-All, then Peabody (or Dudley Do-Right), another Bullwinkle and Rocky cartoon, and finally Bullwinkle's Corner. Season 1 and 2was in black and white, although, some syndicated stations play the colorized season 1 episodes, but NO ONE plays the black and white season 2 episodes.

From season 3-5 were formated as one Bullwinkle and Rocky cartoon, Mr. Know-it-All, then a Fractured Fairy Tale, another Bullwinkle and Rocky cartoon, and finally Bullwinkle's Corner, and one last B&R cartoon.

10 Tips for Planning A Unique Baby Shower!

When my son's wife was expecting my first grandchild, I decided to throw her a baby shower. The guest list had no limit. The baby wriggling around in there was a girl. That's where I started! So I'm going to give you all some tips for hosting a baby shower!

Tip #1

Round up and corral some help! Do not try to do this on your own! You will be so tired and cranky you won't be able to enjoy the festivities! I recruited my mother and my sisters. While we went 'round and 'round about everything, having more hands is great!

Tip #2

Decide whether or not you will have a general baby shower or a themed one. My daughter-in-law wanted to decorate the baby's room with a Noah's Ark theme, so away we went. Now I cannot begin to tell you just how many Noah's Ark gifts, decorations, clothing and housewares are avilable.

Tip #3

Plan your shower well in advance. Don't wait till the last minute. Please do ont try and co-ordinate dates with everyone. You will lose your mind! Set a date and if someone really wants to come, they WILL show up, gift in hand!

Top #4

Decide your budget for your shower, Including food, drinks, tableware, decorations, and games. Your pocket book doesn't get hit so hard when you're sharing expenses with friends and/or relatives.

Tip #5

Send invitations as if you are the recepient. Around 3-4 weeks in advance for the guests that live nearby. 4-6 weeks for those who live a long distance away. Make sure you add clear and concise directions. Also include several RSVP telephone numbers. Tiny Prints has some cute and fantastic baby shower invitations!

Tip #6

Plan your decorations, party favors, drinks and food. Try to stay within your budget. You are only limited by your imagination! For my daughter-in-law's shower we tied balloons to beanie baby animals and spread them EVERYWHERE. When you walked into that house, it looked like a fairyland! We used a diaper cake as a centerpiece on the table. Noah's Ark was around every single corner!

Tip #7

Greet all guests at the door as they arrive. It shows how much you care for them. Provide name tags so that everyone can identify other guests that they don't know. Introduce shower guests at the beginning of the shower. Having a seating arrangement helps by sitting people together who know each other or have something in common. Don't worry! Everyone will know each other by the end of the party!

Tip #8

Right away as they enter the door, engage your guests in some games so that they can have fun and interact with each other. The entrance game we played was a blast! We had done our homework and come up with celebrities that were pregnant. We included celebrity husbands, too. Each guest had a celebrity name pinned to her back and each had to ask the other guests questions about the celebrities, trying to guess the identity.

Tip #9

Be sure to have enough party favors! A few extra is good just in case! Get things moving on time nad keep the pace mocing at a good clip. Just how long does it take to eat, open presnets, play games, talk and eat cake? That's anybody's guess! Walk each guest to the door. I know that makes me feel special!

Tip #10

Understand that if you are hosting the shower you should show responsibility and consideration to everyone. The mom-to-be may be tired as well as excited. your mother may get on your last nerve!
Your sister may be uber angry when someone YOU invited wins all the shower games and gets all the gifts (including the Champagne gift basket she donated).

Just take a deep breath and relax...and swear you'll never do this again!

DISCLOSURE:I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Tiny Prints blogging program, making me eligible to get a Tiny Prints gift code worth $50, plus 25 FREE Tiny Prints greeting cards—a total gift value of $149.75! For more information on how you can participate, click here.

About Tiny Prints:

Tiny Prints helps you get together, keep in touch and share your love—one little card at a time. Tiny Prints was started in 2003 by three friends and a dream. With a shared a love of babies and an affinity for beautiful paper, they set out to create a stationery company that would offer the experience of a local boutique with the ease of an online retailer. Specializing in the celebration of all of life's special occasions, we're thrilled to offer a fresh selection of exclusive designs, from birth announcements and baby shower invitations to personal stationery and more, delivered with the best customer service you can find online or in stores.

Stop by the Tiny Prints Blog and follow us on Twitter @TinyPrints to discover news, trends and creative inspiration for social stationery, family celebrations and so much more!

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Today In History-September 10, 1897-1st Drunk Driving Arrest

 September 10

On this day in 1897, a 25-year-old London taxi driver named George Smith becomes the first person ever arrested for drunk driving after slamming his cab into a building. Smith later pled guilty and was fined 25 shillings.

In the United States, the first laws against operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol went into effect in New York in 1910. In 1936, Dr. Rolla Harger, a professor of biochemistry and toxicology, patented the Drunkometer, a balloon-like device into which people would breathe to determine whether they were inebriated. In 1953, Robert Borkenstein, a former Indiana state police captain and university professor who had collaborated with Harger on the Drunkometer, invented the Breathalyzer. Easier-to-use and more accurate than the Drunkometer, the Breathalyzer was the first practical device and scientific test available to police officers to establish whether someone had too much to drink. A person would blow into the Breathalyzer and it would gauge the proportion of alcohol vapors in the exhaled breath, which reflected the level of alcohol in the blood.

Despite the invention of the Breathalyzer and other developments, it was not until the late 1970s and early 1980s that public awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving increased and lawmakers and police officers began to get tougher on offenders. In 1980, a Californian named Candy Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, after her 13-year-old daughter Cari was killed by a drunk driver while walking home from a school carnival. The driver had three previous drunk-driving convictions and was out on bail from a hit-and-run arrest two days earlier. Lightner and MADD were instrumental in helping to change attitudes about drunk driving and pushed for legislation that increased the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. MADD also helped get the minimum drinking age raised in many states. Today, the legal drinking age is 21 everywhere in the United States and convicted drunk drivers face everything from jail time and fines to the loss of their driver's licenses and increased car insurance rates. Some drunk drivers are ordered to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. These devices require a driver to breath into a sensor attached to the dashboard; the car won't start if the driver's blood alcohol concentration is above a certain limit.

Despite the stiff penalties and public awareness campaigns, drunk driving remains a serious problem in the United States. In 2005, 16,885 people died in alcohol-related crashes and almost 1.4 million people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Text courtesy of

Saturday, September 4, 2010

USS Shenandoah (ZR-1)

USS Shenandoah (ZR-1)

ZR-1 at the mooring mast.USS Shenandoah was the first of four United States Navy rigid airships. She was built from 1922 to 1923 at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, and first flew in 1923. She developed the Navy's experience with rigid airships, even making the first crossing of the North American continent by airship. She was destroyed in a crash in 1925.

Design and Construction

The Shenandoah was originally designated FA-1, for 'Fleet Airship Number One' but this was changed to ZR-1. The airship was 680 feet long and weighed 36 tons. She had a range of 5,000 miles, and could reach speeds of 70 miles per hour. The Shenandoah was assembled at Lakehurst Naval Air Station between 1922 and 1923, in the only hangar large enough for the ship to fit, Hangar Number One, built in 1921. (Her parts were fabricated beforehand at the Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia.) Lakehurst Naval Air Station had already served as a base for Navy blimps for some time, but the Shenandoah was the first rigid airship to join the Navy's fleet.

Construction of USS Shenandoah in 1923, showing the framework of a rigid airship.The design was initially based on the L-49 (LZ-96) Zeppelin bomber, which was downed during World War I in the American sector of France. The L-49 was a lightened "height climber", designed for altitude at the expense of other qualities. The design was found insufficient and a number of the features of newer Zeppelins were incorporated into the design, as well as some structural improvements. The structure was built from a new alloy of aluminum and copper known as duralumin. Whether the changes introduced into the original design of L-49 played a part in its later breaking up is a matter of debate.

The Shenandoah had a significant edge in safety over airships that came before it in that it was the first rigid airship to use helium rather than hydrogen. A similar precaution might have prevented the Hindenburg disaster twelve years later, had American authorities been willing to export the national resource to the Zeppelin company. Helium supplies were relatively rare at the time, and the Shenandoah used much of the world's reserves just to fill its enormous volume. The USS Los Angeles (ZR-3), the next rigid airship to enter Navy service, was at first filled with the helium from the Shenandoah until more could be procured.

The first frame of the Shenandoah was erected by 24 June 1922; and, on 20 August 1923, the completed airship was floated free of the ground.

Flight test run, steep angle docking at St. Louis on October 2, 1923.

After docking at St. Louis, Cmdr McCrary stepped out to meet Adm Moffet and Mayor Kiel; shown still inside the Control Car are Anton Heinen (German test pilot and consultant in the construction of the ZR1) and Cmdr Ralph D. Weyerbacher (design/build).

She was christened on 10 October 1923; sponsored by Mrs. Edwin Denby, wife of the Secretary of the Navy; and commissioned on the same day, Commander Frank R. McCrary in command.

Early Naval Service

USS Shenandoah took to the sky for the first time on September 4, 1923.

USS Shenandoah.Shenandoah was designed for fleet reconnaissance work of the type carried out by German naval airships in World War I. Her precommissioning trials included long range flights during September and early October 1923, to test her airworthiness in rain, fog, and poor visibility. On 27 October, Shenandoah celebrated Navy Day with a flight down the Shenandoah Valley and returned to Lakehurst that night by way of Washington and Baltimore, where crowds gathered to see the new airship in the beams of searchlights.

ZR-1's bow following the January storm.At this time, Rear Admiral William Moffett, Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics and staunch advocate of the airship, was discussing the possibility of using Shenandoah to explore the Arctic. Such a program, he felt, would produce valuable weather data as well as experience in cold-weather operations. With her endurance and ability to fly at low speeds, the airship was thought to be well suited to such work. President Calvin Coolidge approved Moffett's proposal, but on 16 January 1924, Shenandoah was torn from her Lakehurst mooring mast by a gale, and her nose was damaged. She rode out the storm and landed safely, but a period of repair was needed, and the Arctic expedition was dropped.

Shenandoah's repairs were completed in May, and she devoted the summer of 1924 to work with her powerplant and radio equipment to prepare for her duty with the fleet. On 1 August, she reported for duty with the Scouting Fleet and took part in tactical exercises. Shenandoah succeeded in discovering the “enemy” force as planned but lost contact with it in foul weather. Technical difficulties and lack of support facilities in the fleet forced her to depart the operating area ahead of time to return to Lakehurst. Although this marred the exercises as far as airship reconnaissance went, it emphasized the need for advanced bases and maintenance ships if lighter-than-air craft were to take any part in operations of this kind.

Flight across North America

The USS Shenandoah moored to the USS Patoka.In July of 1924 the oiler Patoka (AO-9) put in to Norfolk Navy Yard for extensive modifications to become the Navy's first Airship Tender. An experimental mooring mast some 125 feet above the water was constructed; additional accommodations both for the crew of Shenandoah and for the men who would handle and supply the airship were added; facilities for the helium, gasoline, and other supplies necessary for Shenandoah were built; as well as handling and stowage facilities for three seaplanes. Shenandoah engaged in a short series of mooring experiments with Patoka to determine the practicality of mobile fleet support of scouting airships. The first successful mooring was made 8 August 1924. During October of 1924, Shenandoah flew from Lakehurst to California and on to Washington to test newly erected mooring masts. This was the first flight of a rigid airship across North America.

Later Naval careerThe year 1925 began with nearly six months of maintenance and ground test work. Shenandoah did not take to the air until 26 June, when she began preparations for summer operations with the fleet. During July and August, she again operated with the Scouting Fleet, successfully performing scouting problems and being towed by Patoka while moored to that ship's mast.

Wreck of the Shenandoah

Fabric from the airship USS Shenandoah, recovered from the crash site.

On 2 September 1925, Shenandoah departed Lakehurst on a promotional flight to the Midwest which would include flyovers of 40 cities and visits to state fairs. Testing of a new mooring mast at Dearborn, Michigan was included in the schedule. While passing through an area of thunderstorms and turbulence over Ohio early in the morning of the 3rd, the airship was torn apart and crashed in several pieces near Caldwell, Ohio. Shenandoah's commanding officer, Commander Zachary Lansdowne, and 13 other officers and men were killed. Those killed were:

LCDR Zachary Lansdowne, Commanding Officer, Greenville, Ohio

LCDR Lewis Hancock Jr., Executive Officer, Austin, Texas,

LT. Arthur Reginald Houghton, Watch Officer, Alston, Mass.

LT. JG Edgar William Sheppard, Engineering Officer, Washington D. C.

LT. John (Jack) Bullard Lawrence, Watch Officer, St. Paul, Minn.

CPO George Conrad Schnitzer, Radio Officer, Tuckertown, N. J

AMM1C James Albert Moore, Radio Generator, Savannah, Ga

AR1C Ralph Thomas Joffray, Rigger, St. Louis, Mo.

AMM1C Bartholomew (Bart) B. O'Sullivan, Lowell, Mass

CPO James William Cullinan, Binghampton, N. Y

CPO Everett Price Allen, Chief Rigger, St. Louis, Mo.

AMM Charles Harrison Broom, Tom’s River, N. J.

AMM Celestino P. Mazzuco, Murray Hill NJ

AMM William Howard Spratley, Venice, Ill.

Twenty-nine survivors succeeded in riding three sections of the airship to earth. The survivors were:

Louis E. Allely

LT. Joseph B. Anderson

G. W. Armour

LT. Charles E. Bauch

CBM Henry L.Boswell

CBM Arthur E. Carlson

Warrant Officer Chief Gunner CWO Raymond Cole

Lester Coleman

James E."Red" Collier

Mark Donovan

John J. Hahn

Col. Chalmers G. Hall

Chief Machinist CWO, Shine S. Halliburton

Thomas Hendley

Benjamin O. Hereth

Walter Johnson

Aviation Machinist's Mate Ralph Jones

MM2C Julius E. Malak

CPO Franklin E. Masters

ACR, Chief Rigger John.F. McCarthy

LT. Roland Mayer

ACR Frank L. Peckham

ACMM August C.Quernheim

LT. Walter T. Richardson (Naval Reserve, traveling as a civilian observer)

LCMDR Charles Emery Rosendahl

ACMM William A. Russell

AMM1c Joseph Shevlowitz

Charles Solar

CBM Frederick J. "Bull" Tobin

The fatal flight had been made under protest by Cmdr. Lansdowne (a native of Greenville, Ohio), who warned of the violent weather conditions which were prevalent in the area and common to Ohio in late summer. His pleas for a cancellation of the flight only led to a postponement. His superiors were keen to publicize airship technology, and justify the huge cost of the airship to the taxpayers, so publicity, rather than prudence won the day. This event was the trigger for Army Colonel Billy Mitchell to heavily criticize the leadership of both the Army and the Navy, leading directly to his court-martial for insubordination and the end of his military career.

The survival of the 29 survivors has been attributed to the fact that the airship contained helium, which does not react chemically with air. If hydrogen had been used, the ship probably would have burned - as the LZ 129 Hindenburg would twelve years later.

Shenandoah Elementary School and Shenandoah High School in Noble County, Ohio, where the crash occurred, is named in honor of the ship and crew. Its sports teams are nicknamed "The Zeps".

A truck stop, Shenandoah Plaza, located in Old Washington, Ohio was built in the early 1970's in memory of the airship.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Love After Love by Derek Walcott (1930 - Present)

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored 
for another, who knows you by heart. 
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror. 
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott was born in 1930 in the town of Castries in Saint Lucia, one of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. The experience of growing up on the isolated volcanic island, an ex-British colony, has had a strong influence on Walcott's life and work. Both his grandmothers were said to have been the descendants of slaves. His father, a Bohemian watercolourist, died when Derek and his twin brother, Roderick, were only a few years old. His mother ran the town's Methodist school. After studying at St. Mary's College in his native island and at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, Walcott moved in 1953 to Trinidad, where he has worked as theatre and art critic. At the age of 18, he made his debut with 25 Poems, but his breakthrough came with the collection of poems, In a Green Night (1962). In 1959, he founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop which produced many of his early plays.

Walcott has been an assiduous traveller to other countries but has always, not least in his efforts to create an indigenous drama, felt himself deeply-rooted in Caribbean society with its cultural fusion of African, Asiatic and European elements. For many years, he has divided his time between Trinidad, where he has his home as a writer, and Boston University, where he teaches literature and creative writing.

Biography from:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Romantic Poem Series- Poem #1 Edgar Allen Poe

Romance by Edgar Allan Poe

Romance, who loves to nod and sing
With drowsy head and folded wing
Among the green leaves as they shake
Far down within some shadowy lake,
To me a painted paroquet
Hath been—most familiar bird—
Taught me my alphabet to say,
To lisp my very earliest word
While in the wild wood I did lie,
A child—with a most knowing eye.

Of late, eternal condor years
So shake the very Heaven on high
With tumult as they thunder by,
I have no time for idle cares
Through gazing on the unquiet sky;
And when an hour with calmer wings
Its down upon my spirit flings,
That little time with lyre and rhyme
To while away—forbidden things—
My heart would feel to be a crime
Unless it trembled with the strings.


 EDGAR ALLEN POE was born in Boston, January 19, 1809, and after a tempestuous life of forty years, he died in the city of Baltimore, October 7, 1849.

His father, the son of a distinguished officer in the Revolutionary army, was educated for the law, but having married the beautiful English actress, Elizabeth Arnold, he abandoned law, and in company with his wife, led a wandering life on the stage. The two died within a short time of each other, leaving three children entirely destitute. Edgar, the second son, a bright, beautiful boy, was adopted by John Allen, a wealthy citizen of Richmond. Allen, having no children of his own, became very much attached to Edgar, and used his wealth freely in educating the boy. At the age of seven he was sent to school at Stoke Newington, near London, where he remained for six years. During the next three years he studied under private tutors, at the residence of the Allen's in Richmond. In 1826 he entered the University of Virginia, where he remained less than a year.

After a year or two of fruitless life at home, a cadetship was obtained for him at West Point. He was soon tried by court-martial and expelled from school because he drank to excess and neglected his studies. Thus ended his school days.

In 1829 he published "Al Aaraaf, and Minor Poems." "This work," says his biographer, Mr. Stoddard, "was not a remarkable production for a young gentleman of twenty." Poe himself was ashamed of the volume.

After his stormy school life, he returned to Richmond, where he was kindly received by Mr. Allen. Poe's conduct was such that Mr. Allen was obliged to turn him out of doors, and, dying soon after, he made no mention of Poe in his will.

Now wholly thrown upon his own resources, he took up literature as a profession, but in this he failed to gain a living. He enlisted as a private soldier, but was soon recognized as the West Point cadet and a discharge procured.

In 1833 Poe won two prizes of $100 each for a tale in prose, and for a poem. John P. Kennedy, one of the committee who made the award, now gave him means of support, and secured employment for him as editor of the "Southern Literary Messenger" at Richmond. After a short but successful editorial work on "The Messenger," his old habits returned, he quarreled with his publishers and was dismissed. While in Richmond he married his cousin, Virginia Clem, and in January, 1837, removed to New York. Here he gained a poor support by writing for periodicals.

His literary work may be summed up as follows: In 1838 appeared a fiction entitled "The Narrative of Arthur Gorden Pym;" 1839, editor of Burton's "Gentleman's Magazine," Philadelphia; next, editor of "Graham's Magazine;" 1840, "Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque," in two volumes; 1845, "The Raven," published by the "American Review;" then sub-editor of the "Mirror" under employment of N. P. Willis and Geo. P. Norris; next associate editor of the "Broadway Journal."

His wife died in 1848. His poverty was now such that the press made appeals to the public for his support.

In 1848 he published "Eureka, a Prose Poem."

He went to Richmond in 1849, where he was engaged to a lady of considerable fortune. In October he started for New York to arrange for the wedding, but at Baltimore he met some of his former boon companions, and spent the night in drinking. In the morning he was found in a state of delirium, and died in a few hours.

The most remarkable of his tales are "The Gold Bug," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Murders of the Rue Morgue," "The Purloined Letter," "A Descent into Maelstrom," and "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar." "The Raven" and "The Bells" alone would make the name of Poe immortal. The teachers of Baltimore placed a monument over his grave in 1875.

Poe has been severely censured by many writers for his wild and stormy life, but we notice that Ingram and some other prominent authors claim that he has been willfully slandered and that many of the charges brought against him are not true. His ungovernable temper and high spirit led him into disputes with his friends, hence he was not enabled to hold any one position for a great length of time. Like Byron and Burns, he had faults in personal life, but his ungovernable passions are sleeping, while the sad strains of "The Raven," the clear and harmonious tones of "The Bells," and the powerful images of his fancy live in the immortal literature of his time.

Biography from:


Marathon of Hope

Marathon of Hope

Terry FoxThe Marathon of Hope is a name given to the cross-Canada run undertaken by cancer patient Terry Fox in 1980. It is commemorated each year with the Terry Fox Run which is an international event that raises money for cancer research.

The initial goal of the run was to raise $1 million to be used for cancer research. After running through Port-Aux-Basques, Newfoundland, Terry changed his goal from raising $1 million to raising $1 for each person in Canada at the time ($24 million).

Beginning in Newfoundland Terry Fox was to run across the country ending on Vancouver Island - a distance of 5,000 km (3,107 miles) at a pace of 42 km (26.1 miles) a day. Unfortunately, Terry Fox's cancer returned while he was in Northern Ontario, and he had to stop the run on September 1, 1980, just outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The goal of the run was to raise money and awareness for cancer research. In order to get the Canadian Cancer Society to support him he had to get corporate sponsorship for the run. Terry Fox sought no personal or financial gain for his efforts. His run was also a 'true' run across Canada; not taking the fastest route, he made sure that he would pass by the most populous regions of the country.

The run

The run begins

Terry Fox began the marathon on a foggy April 12, 1980 from St. John's, Newfoundland. He started by dipping his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean. The beginning of the run was marked with little fanfare; only one camera crew from the CBC Television was there to witness his start. He was joined that first day by the mayor of St. John's, who ran for a portion of the marathon.

While running through Gambo, Newfoundland on April 21, Terry was quoted as saying:

"It was an exciting day in Gambo. People came and lined up and gave me ten, twenty bucks just like that. And that's when I knew that the Run had unlimited potential."

Two weeks later while in Port-Aux-Basques, Newfoundland, Terry's idea of raising $1 for each person in Canada was born. In less than 2 hours, the community of 10,000 people, raised $10,000, equal to one dollar per person. Several weeks after Terry left Newfoundland, he found out that this total increased by another $4,000.

The run enters Central Canada

On June 10th Terry entered the Province of Quebec. Still largely unknown, he found it difficult as rude drivers honked their horns or nearly ran him off the road. Some thought he was a hitchhiker and offered to give him a ride. Since he spoke no French, he found it difficult to communicate with Quebecers. As he made his way to Montréal, he garnered more attention from the media and the general public. In early July, Fox arrived in the national capital of Ottawa, where he met with Governor-General Ed Schreyer. On July 4, he met with Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, but the meeting was awkward because Trudeau had returned from a trip to Europe and was not briefed on Fox's situation.

Into Toronto

By the time Terry finally reached Toronto, he had become a media sensation. The streets of the city were lined with thousands of supporters, and a public rally at Toronto City Hall had a crowd of over 10,000. His achievements also began to gain international attention. He was interviewed (while running) by the then popular American current events show That's Incredible!.

The run ends

Statue of Terry Fox overlooking the Trans-Canada HighwayOn September 1, 1980, his run stopped just northeast of Thunder Bay. Poor breathing prevented him from running further; Terry visited a local hospital, where he discovered that his cancer had spread to his lungs. Due to his poor health, from both the return of the cancer and the grueling pace of his running, he had to stop his journey across Canada. By this point he had run for 143 consecutive days totalling 5,373 km.

He returned to British Columbia for further medical treatment. While in hospital, Terry received a telegram from Four Seasons hotel executive Isadore Sharp (who had recently lost his own son to cancer) telling him that his Marathon of Hope would be continued in his honour with an annual run, and that they would not stop until Terry's dream of beating cancer was realized.

Today, a life sized bronze statue of Terry Fox in motion is located in a memorial park along the Trans-Canada Highway, overlooking the spot where he had to end his run.

c.1905 Edison Phonograph w/HP ROSES MORNING GLORY HORN-Exquisite!

I came across this beautifully exquisite 1905 Edison Phonograph! I was on Google looking for Morning Glory photos and this site popped up with all these gorgeous photos and descriptions. The site I landed on was selling this vintage piece, but the listing had ended and it wasn't sold. Oh, how i would love to have it, but it is out of my price-range. So at the end I will include all the info and if any of you are interested, you'll have the contact info!


c.1905 Edison Phonograph w/HP ROSES MORNING GLORY HORN

This is the Edison Home Model (B?) with model C reproducer and was manufactured by Edison's National Phonograph Co. We believe it dates from 1905 to 1911. (Prior to 1905 the decal was small and on top of the case.) (The history and additional information about this gramophone can be found on pages 105 to 107 of the "Edison Cylinder Phonograph Companion" book by George L. Frow.) Exquisite beautifully handpainted horn. Oak base with dovetailed rounded corners and fancy "Edison Home Phonograph" decal in Excellent condition (vertical streak in photo is a reflection from camera).

Floral detail and gold striping on horn is in very good to excellent condition, with some paint loss generally restricted to the background painting around the opening and on the outside of horn. Gold designs are bright and clear with only the center part of outer line behind the crane showing wear from use. Overall, the florals are vibrant and fresh as the day they left the factory -- extraordinary condition for an all original antique. We did not see any dents or damage to the horn itself. (We like the character of the aged look but if you wish, with a little retouching this would look like new!) The serial number is 152832.

This is all original as far as we can tell but we think the tube at the base of the horn that connects it to the machine may have been replaced at some point. Finish, paint, decal and all other parts, including case, base, decals, motor, winding shaft, weights, springs, and lid, as far as we can determine, are all original, clean, and in close to mint condition. Includes front-mount horn crane, with original foot and chain. As you can see in the photo, the black plate is exquisitely detailed in gold and shows minimal wear.

This is a beautiful Victorian style horn that looks like it came straight out of "Dark Shadows" or a Victorian Gothic tale. Plays 2-minute black wax cylinder type recordings, not records. It is super clean. We do not have any cylinders, but a friend who owns a similar machine tried one of his cylinders on it and it did work. We will include a copy of the original instruction booklet that came with the gramophone. (We do not have an original - only the copy, but we will give it to the lucky new owner of this fabulous piece of history and art!)

Dimensions: Base measures 16.5" wide, 9.5" deep, and 12" high. Horn is about 20"

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How I hope whoever buys this piece or who has already acquired it enjoys this bit of history!