Wednesday, July 01, 2015

An Oldie, But Goodie

With this nation's birthday coming up, I think it's a good time to "re-play" this classic from 1973.

This is about the country we grew up in, and loved.

Gordon Sinclair
The Americans

This editorial was broadcast from Toronto by Gordon Sinclair on 5 June 1973 as the United States was withdrawing from Vietnam
"This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth. Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States. When the franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.

"When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes. Nobody helped. The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, war-mongering Americans.

"I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas DC-10? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the International Airlines except Russia fly American planes? Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the moon?

"You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy, and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy, and you find men on the moon — not once, but several times — and safely home again.
"You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at. Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home to spend here.

"When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the American who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke. I can name you 5000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.

"Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those.

Stand proud, Americans!"

Sinclair published two autobiographies,  Will the Real Gordon
Sinclair Please Stand Up was published in 1966, followed in 
1975 by a sequel, Will Gordon Sinclair Please Sit Down.

Gordon Sinclair passed away in 1984.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Household Words

William Shakespeare
ED: How many times did you quote Shakespeare today?
Two, three, four?
My guess least three times.

READER: "Well, Ed, your time for the HOME has finally arrived. You've obviously forgotten that we're all plain old down home folks, like you, and have never gone around trying to impress anybody by quoting Shakespeare. We just speak in plain common household words. Now, all of a sudden, you start talking nonsense....for no rhyme nor reason you claim we go around quoting Shakespeare?  What a sorry sight to observe the sea change in your mental processes. It's high time to get you some help!"

ED: You have just quoted Shakespeare SIX TIMES.

READER:  OK, OK..... Something is rotten in the State of Denmark. The game is up.  What the Hell are you talking about?

ED:  You just did it again. Twice.
I came across a site on the Internet that listed all of the common sayings and cliches that we use in our every day conversations that originated (or were popularized by) with William Shakespeare. It's amazing.

Take a look:

Shakespeare's phrases grouped by play:

Full list of Shakesperian phrases:

Woe is me

What a piece of work this man was!


Saturday, June 27, 2015


New Horizons probe
Even as the mysteries of the dwarf planet CERES have yet to be explained, here comes another space probe that may turn out to be even more mysterious than CERES!

The mission was launched in 2006 and is called NEW HORIZONS and in about two weeks, for about a half hour,  it will take close up pictures of PLUTO!

That is, if they can find it.

Say what?

"If they can find it."

You mean after spending all that money (265 million dollars) and time (it was launched on January 19, 2006) and goes all that way (4.7 Billion miles) when they finally get "there"....they might not be able to FIND Pluto?

Yep, that's true.

According to an article in Nature magazine,

“Everything is pushed to the extreme,” says Bobby Williams, an engineer at KinetX Aerospace in Simi Valley, California, who heads the mission’s navigation team.  New Horizons must slip by just 12,500 kilometres above Pluto, a distance dictated by the spacecraft’s speed — nearly 14 kilometres per second — and how quickly it can rotate its instruments to look at the surface below. It must accomplish this manoeuvre even as Pluto dances a complex shimmy through space, pulled by the gravitational tug of its largest moon, Charon. After that closest approach, New Horizons must continue on a precise path into the shadows of both Pluto and Charon, for its sole chance to look back and explore atmospheres on those worlds.There is only one shot. “It’s not like an orbiter, where if you miss a day’s science you can make it up later,” says Williams.

If the probe does find PLUTO, NASA says we should expect

 to see Images sharp enough to resolve surface features

 as small as 200 feet across.  "If there is a football stadium on


 will spot it."

Back here on Earth, I'm still trying to solve a mystery that has

 puzzled me since the early 1940's.

What's the difference between PLUTO

and GOOFY?



Friday, June 26, 2015

Akela, Tom Mix and...

I read somewhere that at our age, "getting lucky" means walking into a room and remembering why you went in there.

There's a lot of truth to that.

But I'm working on a solution to that almost universal problem for people over 70.

Logic tells me that our memory banks have gotten too full.

Nature in all its wisdom automatically deletes, or greatly reduces the intensity of bad memories. So that's not what is clogging up our brains.  It's those left over "bits and pieces" of the good times that are the problem.

"Artifacts" is the computer word for them. Little tiny memory "shavings' floating around in our brains that were simply left over from the deleting process. They serve absolutely no practical purpose.  All they do is take up space in the brain.

I know that's the case with me.

So, I'm working on a plan to find a way to totally delete these little order to have more room for today's activities and events.

I don't see any reason whatsoever for my mind to be cluttered with such memories as:

Jake Barnhart told us once at a Cub Scout meeting that his great, great grandfather was Samuel Morse, the author of the Morse Code.
Cub Scout Law

Or, according to the Cub Scout Law:

The Cub follows Akela
The Cub helps the Pack Go
The Pack helps the Cub grow
The Cub gives good will

(I lied. I copied that off a Cub Scout plaque that somehow followed me all these years. My poor old mind is not the only thing that is cluttered up.)

But, as I was saying, my mind is filled with flashes of useless memories and scenes of the past that serve no purpose whatsoever.

Such as:

Birthdays of old girl friends....and their phone numbers

....all with either the ED or FR prefixes.

Rememberng everything about the day Bonson Hobson and I rode our bicycles on a street that was in the process of being paved and literally got covered with black tar.

Remembering exactly when and where I was when I first tasted what later became my favorite foods.

Remembering the day Wilson Snell and I spent all day drawing a "reasonable facsimile" of a Ralston Cereal "box top" to send in for a Tom Mix secret decoder ring. We spent half the day trying to find out what a "facsimile" was.

The name of Tom Mix's horse was "Tony."
Remembering chasing Martha Ann Caldwell and Judy Anderson around the Elizabeth School playground in the fifth grade.

Remembering how pretty those girls at Piedmont Jr. High had become....

Remembering how beautiful and exciting the girls at Central High were....and how wonderful their hair smelled!  I think the shampoo many of them used back then was called "Aqua Marine."

Remembering.....holding hands.....

and...that first kiss.....


Oh, forget it.

I'm going to hold on to my useless memory fragments.. What's so bad about forgetting why you walked into a room.....anyway.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

But Wait, There's More...

Sounds like a commercial on late night television, but it's's my translation of the latest NASA update on our friend, the dwarf planet CERES.

The Dawn probe is  in its second orbit now and is only 2,900 miles from the surface of CERES....and the latest photographs show not only more strange "lights," but a PYR AMID.

Well, not the kind the Egyptions built, but a PYRAMID shaped a mountain popping out of a flat surface.  Three miles or so high.  Plus more lights.

"Ceres’ story is only going to get more interesting. Dawn will continue to orbit 2,700 miles above the dwarf planet’s surface until June 30. Then, it will edge even closer, entering orbit at an altitude of 900 miles sometime in August.
When that time comes, it’s safe to say another strange chapter will be added to the book of Ceres."
The SCIENCE DEPT here at CHS54 will continue to keep you up to date on CERES.

CHS 55

Whatever happened to the CHS55 website?

Well, the late Len Phillips was handling it (and what a professional site it was!) but when he passed away a few months ago, he apparently didn't leave the "keys" the site was lost.

Frank Clontz has been carrying on by writting, and mailing his very "newsy" letter to his fellow "Fifty Five ers"

I thought we could help out a bit by adding a "link" to his newsletter to our site.

Besides, we all remember a large number of those "young whippersnappers" of the class of 55.

Here's the link


On the go...

I hadn't heard from our my old friend Don Nance lately, so I emailed him a note asking, "What's new?"

As Jack Benny used to say...."Well.........."  (It's impossible to write Benny used to say it.....but we "cronologically gifted" know.)

Don's reply:

"We have been on the go. On Memorial Day I sang at Lincoln Center in New

York. I was a part of a choir of 269 members. We sang "Requiem" by  Mark
Hays. Hays was the director the concert. 

Lincoln Center Concert  Memorial Day 2015

On June 13th., I did the wedding
for my oldest grandson Nathan. After the wedding Letty and I went to the beach for a few days. This past week-end we went to a baby show
for Charlotte . She will have our seventh grandson on July third.   His name is
Tristan. Jackson named him.

Tomorrow  night the Wytheville Community Choir
will sing at Chautauqua in the park. I will be singing a solo, "He Touched

On July 18th I will be performing the wedding for my great niece in
Fredrick, MD.  After the wedding I am plan to come by and have lunch the you
and Linda. I have made strawberry jam and I am now making blueberry jam. I
am planning to bring you a sample.

  With all that we have been doing, I am ready for August and all the great
memories of the past.

Don "

What Don is alluding to is our annual 2 man "Cotton Mouth" olympics...during which Don and I compete (preferably in 95 degree heat)..the thrills of the 1951-53 August morning and afternoon football practices, such as wind sprints, running around a quarter mile track several times and numerous "push ups" between events. 

The winner is determined by which one of us is the last one to be picked up by the Rescue Squad.


Monday, June 22, 2015


From the Internet:

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Still Going Strong

Report on LDLs

By Jerry Gaudet

"LDLs" continue to be moderately well attended and all seem to enjoy gathering once a month to again live in the past as well as catch up on how life has been treating us.

Attending the June'15 edition were Marie Beatty Robinson, Vic and Sylvia Brawley, John Culp, Robert Dodge, Jerry and Pat Gaudet, Barney Lisk, Mitzi Minor Roper, Ronnie Rallis Pourlos and husband Jimmie, Willis Ruth Rimmer, Al Selby, Anna Lynn Smith-Petersen Kearse, Frank Stack (MP'54) and son Jeff, Jo Anne Stone King and husband Joe (CHS'54), Charlie and Jean Willis

Jimmie Pourlos
Of special note was a birthday celebration for Jimmie Pourlos. Son, Chris, the current propriortor of Jimmies brought a cake that all of us enjoyed. Happy Birthday, Jimmie!

Keep us in mind when the second Tuesday of each month rolls around. We think you'll enjoy being with classmates for conversation, lunch...and celebrations!


Wednesday, June 17, 2015


I was sad to learn of the death of Blaze Starr last Monday morning.  She was perhaps the most famous "stripper" in the world in the late 1950's and early 60's.
At 15, Ms. Starr began performing at a club near the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va. In 1950, after moving to Baltimore, she stepped onto the runway of the 2 O’Clock Club on the Block, that city’s famous strip of adult entertainment shops and stages. 
Blaze Starr

She gained national recognition when she was featured in Esquire magazine in 1954, hailed as the successor to Lili St. Cyr on the burlesque circuit. Unlike Ms. St. Cyr, however, she made many of her own costumes, part of a stage wardrobe, including three mink coats, that was valued in 1967 at $20,000 (about $142,000 in today’s money).

You may remember the story I wrote on this site  5 years ago about that night shortly before my wife and I were to be married:

Washington, DC  September 1963

Linda and I had gone together for a little over 2 years, and I knew
she was a very bright and sophisticated lady......with a great sense of humor, and we were both in love, but........she didn’t have any idea how certifiable one of my best friends was.

Paul Niven at Kennedy Nixon Debate

His name was Paul Niven, who very few people remember now, but at the time was part of Ed Murrow’s team of reporters at CBS. He was moderating Face the Nation in the early 60’s and I was the announcer on that show as well as a number of Paul’s radio newscasts throughout the week.

Broadcasting was his job.

But practical jokes...the more outrageous the better...were his life!

Paul Niven, Pat Peyser, Lee Shephard
Both of us were bachelors during that time....and since our work schedules were more or less the same.......we ran around together a lot doing things bachelors do....going to bars....acting stupid...and a few times wandering 40 miles up the road to see the sights in Baltimore’s notorious Burlesque district known as “The Block.”

Paul was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known.....and one of the funniest.....and kindest.

But I knew that like all of Paul’s friends, I had a target on my back. And an up coming wedding was just too good an opportunity to pass up.

I was convinced that the “terror attack” would come right after the wedding or perhaps during the honeymoon.

So, a couple of weeks before the wedding,  I didn’t think twice when Paul asked us to meet him and his date at a very exclusive restaurant (The Rive Gauche) in Georgetown.

Blaze Starr
I spotted Paul right away when we entered and as Linda and I were being led to his table........Suddenly, I began to realize who his “date” was. I recognized her even without her “boa.” It was the “Queen of the Block” and probably the best known xcydiast in the country, Blaze Star.

This was ground zero....and the attack was about to begin.

Blaze performed her part well.....telling Linda that she had been sent by the city of Baltimore to plead with her not to marry me....because the entire economy of the “block” would collapse without my many trips to the bars....."have pity on the strippers’ hungry children," she pleaded......Paul had also paid a couple of waitresses to come by our table with picket signs...with similar "unfair to Baltimore's working girls".....messages.

I was dying.

Linda thought it was hilarious.


I figured after that, the next 50 years would be a breeze.

They were.


(After the initial shock....the rest of the evening was great. Blaze told us about beginning her career when she was 15.........and how she had been supporting her Mom and sisters in West Virginia ever since..and talked about her long-term romance with then-governor Earl Long.
It was, to say the least, an unforgettable evening.

Paul Niven died in a tragic house fire in 1979. Linda was pregnant with our third child at the time......and since our other two children were boys, we were confident the new one would be we decided to name him Paul, after our friend.

But, our third child turned out to be a girl, so we named her Kendall, which was Paul's middle name.

At Paul’s funeral Daniel Patrick Moynihan gave the eulogy. Among other things he said,

“A journalist’s life revolves around stories. And stories of Paul will be heard as long as any who worked with him or knew him gather in those barrooms around the world where the day’s brutality is somehow surmounted with laughter and a comradeship of equality and honor.”

Rest in Peace, Paul.  -Ed)

Blaze Starr

Blaze Starr

Blaze Starr was a classy lady!  So was her "act."
Remember, this was the early 60's, before this country went insane.

Everyone who knew Blaze, knew her as a loving, generous, kind, and very savvy business person.

With a great sense of humor.

The Baltimore Sun newspaper reported that shortly before her death, she had been very worried about her pet dog, who died shortly before she did.

I have no doubt that contributed to her passing.