Friday, December 19, 2014

Is it Over Yet?


Nope.

I'm talking about winter. I'm already tired of it and it doesn't even begin until Sunday Dec. 21st at 6:03 on EST, That's when the "Winter" begins astronomically speaking .

The sun will be directly overhead of the Tropic of Capricorn.

Ordinary people like us think Winter has been around at least a month, but what do we know. That's why we're called ordinary.  But personally I'm already sick and tired of the dark that's been showing up earlier and earlier each afternoon..

Many Doctors report that lack of light actually makes a lot of people sick.  Depression induced illnesses mostly. I can understand that. I ain't feeling too great myself.

So, after Sunday, the light will slowly begin to lengthen and before you know it, our moods will brighten along with our days!

Oh, By the Way...I got a nice note the other day from Ann Mitchell, who's living in Florida, happy and healthy and sends her best to all of us in the class of '54!

She said she doesn't do email anymore....and frankly, that's why I hadn't heard from her in so long.
I've lost contact with most of my old friends who don't have email.........I hardly remember how to write a letter anymore.



Don Nance sent me this picture from out of the past....it was taken here in Washington sometime in the 1980s.  It's of President and Nancy Reagan posing in the middle of two cardboard cutouts of Don and Me.

-Ed

Monday, December 15, 2014

"There are 8 million stories in the...


...naked city."

That line is from the TV series, The Naked City, which aired on ABC from 1958 to 1963.  That was a long time ago, but its trademark declaration has become a cliche.

Everyone DOES have a story; and if you've ever spent much time in a bar, you're probably "up to HERE" in...(since this is a family friendly site),..TALL TALES .

I'm amazed at how the TALES get taller and taller the more alcohol is consumed.


Mr. Average
I think I'll write a novel about it someday.  I'll call it, "Mr Average Goes to the Lion King Bar and Grill"....where he proceeds to down drink after drink of 100 proof "Loose Lips Bourbon."

As he begins telling his "Life's Story" to any and all in the bar, his accomplishments become more and more wild and strange.


"Yes, it's true," he says, "I invented the Atomic Bomb."

"Oh, the Hell you did," responded on of the listeners.  "Yes I did. I have the patent for it!" replied Mr. Average, as he downed another shooter of Loose Lips.

"I'm a history major", shouted another doubter, "and I know for a fact that Einstein invented it...and wrote President Roosevelt a letter convincing him that it would win WW2 for America."

"Actually," replied Mr. Average. "I wrote that letter and simply got Einstein to sign it, because he was famous and would be listened to.  Nobody ever paid any attention to me. I'm just Mr, Average. Old woolly headed Al didn't know diddley squat about an Atomic Bomb until I told him."

Well, with that, Mr. Average's audience began to disperse, obviously having had enough of his deranged imaginings.

"One more thing," he shouted," I just came from the Doctor's and he said my bladder cancer had completely disappeared.  I cured it myself with basically the same recipe I used for the Atomic Bomb."

"All Right, that's it," pronounced the bouncer, "Cured yourself with the Atomic Bomb, did you. Well, you're out of here. Atomic Bomb my butt.

You're the Atomic Bum!

And don't come back."

On second thought, instead of making a novel out of that, it could be a biography, because every thing Mr. Average said was true!  Except his name, which was actually Leo Szilard.

-Ed



My Thanks to QUORA  DIGEST (650 Castro Street #450, Mountain View, CA 94041)

' Szilard owned the patent on the atomic bomb. He was the epicenter of the first atomic bomb. He, more than anyone else (arguably Oppenheimer is up there too), is the father of the atomic bomb and always saw the bomb as a weapon of world peace, rather than of destruction - as a way to bring balance to the world. It would be the end of wars as he knew them, and it was his dream from the very beginning
When Szilard approached Einstein for signing the letter, Einstein had no idea about the recent advances in nuclear physics (fission), or the possibility of a nuclear bomb. Szilard explained the situation and got Einstein to sign the letter.

Later in life, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer, and doctors gave him a bad probability of survival. Using his knowledge of radioactive elements and biology, Szilard invented an experimental treatment method to irradiate the cancerous cells using gamma radiation from Cobalt 60 isotope. The doctors warned him that he would die because of the increased radiation, but Szilard persisted. Using this method, he cured his cancer and  made a complete recovery. This method of Radiation therapy has been used ever since to treat some cancers.'


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Grandpa Meets Grandpa


 ...not in person, but in a picture I ran across recently of a portrait of the Jolly family of Anderson, South Carolina taken around 1895. John Andrew Jolly was his name and he doesn't look very grandfatherly since  he was still a teenager when this particular photograph was taken.


The Jolly family of Anderson, SC taken around 1895


John Andrew  Jolly
From Kate Jolly's family Bible
He is the boy shown second to the left with his bicycle. I never knew him; in fact, my Mother hardly did either, since he died when she was three years old. My grandmother was left penniless with 4 little children. What a woman! He passed some of the "genes" along, but it was up to her to provide for and raise the children, all of whom became good, middle class American citizens who raised their own good, middle class Americans, one of whom became a war hero (Charles Mateer) one who became a well known North Carolina Judge (John R. Jolly), and one was a secret service agent (David Jolly).

Not bad for a family that began with so many strikes against them.

On his tombstone was the inscription, "An Honest Man"

Thanks Grandpa. Wish you could have stayed longer.

-Ed



Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Comptometers





 Searching through that old 1947 Snips and Cuts yearbook for my old football heroes, this ad in the back caught my attention.  What the heck was a comptometer?   And I don't remember ever hearing about the "Independence Building" either.

The almost competent research staff here at the CHS54 corporate headquarters in the Myers Towers discovered that the Comptometer was the first commercially successful key-driven mechanical calculator, patented in the USA by Dorr E. Felt in 1887.

Learning how to use the thing wasn't easy, so Comptometer Schools did a booming business for many years.

The Comptometer began to be replaced by electronic calculators around 1966.  But the first ones were expensive, costing over $1,000.  That's in 1966 dollars. That was about the time the first computers were showing up, but those machines cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and were so large that they required almost a complete building to house them.


 Texas Instruments invented the desktop calculator and by the 1970's they were profoundly changing the lives of Americans, and indeed the world. But they were still pricey, $200 was not unusual. By 1972, the prices had plunged to around $25.

I picked up a pocket calculator last week at Staples for $5.  I saw a few smaller ones on sale for a dollar.


Independence Bld

And, I learned that the Independence Building, once the tallest building in North Carolina built in
1909 by J.A. Jones Construction and imploded on September 27, 1981 to make way for 101 Independence Center. It originally had 12 floors but 2 more were added in 1928.

Ain't the Internet wonderful!


-Ed



Sunday, December 07, 2014

The Lady With the Mystic Smile

BB56
It's still hard for me to believe that somebody just paid 4.9 million dollars for a painting by an "artist" named Kazuo Shirago titled BB56.

Which he painted with his feet!

That sure doesn't make any sense to me, but what the Hell, it's the "Art Community" and they've been living on a different planet for a long time.

Art, of course, is very subjective but most will agree that there are certain common sense standards. BB56 defies all of them.


Mona Lisa
Simply put, BB56 ain't no "Mona Lisa."

And as long as we're talking "subjective,"  In my opinion the Mona Lisa...ain't no" Mona Lisa" either!

Say what?

The Mona Lisa is the most famous painting in the world, and some say the greatest ever created.  I disagree. I don't believe it's even one of Leonardo's best.

I'm not the first to say this, but I believe the fact that the painting was once stolen from the Louve is what turned a good, but not exceptional painting, into the most famous in the world.


JFK and French President and first ladies 1963
I saw the Mona Lisa when she came to Washington in 1963 for a couple of weeks. I was surprised at how small it was, and.........yes, it was her....and....well that was about it.

Had I been visiting the Louve and known nothing about the painting I would have stopped for about 15 seconds, looked, and moved on.  I believe that's what most visitors to that famous Paris museum did UNTIL 1911, when an Italian handyman named Vincenzo Peruggia made worldwide headlines by stealing it. His motive was to return it to Italy, where he was praised as a hero.

Suddenly the world was inundated with headlines, pictures and stories about the Da Vinci painting
Leonardo Da Vinci self portrait
that continued for more than 2 years when it was finally recovered.


 Noah Chaney, highly respected author and professor of art history, said,

"If a different one of Leonardo's works had been stolen, then that would have been the most famous work in the world -- not the Mona Lisa," 
"There was nothing that really distinguished it per se, other than it was a very good work by a very famous artist -- that's until it was stolen," he added. "The theft is what really skyrocketed its appeal and made it a household name."

 I agree. Today that would be called the "Kim Kardashian Effect." It's famous, for being famous"


Over the years art experts and others have twisted their brains in knots trying to explain why the Mona Lisa is such a great painting.

Mona or Leo?

"Her eyes seem to follow you as you walk away..." 

Reality Alert!  All portraits of subjects looking "straight on" will do that!


"Look closely at her mysterious almost smile.  Is it, or isn't it?

Some even claim that Mona is really a self portrait of Leonardo himself.


Now, don't get me wrong. This is not a criticism of the great Leonard Da Vinci. Anyway, who am I to do something like that! I'm just saying the Mona Lisa in my opinion is NOT one of his best paintings!
For example:


DaVinci's Last Supper
Mona Kardashian



It just occurred to me that when whatever mind altering drug the poor sap who paid 4.9 million dollars for BB56, wears off,  he might want to consider paying somebody to steal it.

(Not to make it famous; Hell, just to get rid of it!)

-Ed.



“Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory.”


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Ready and Waiting

Jimmies of Mint Hill has just about completed preparations for this month's LDL that will happen on December the Ninth!

Here's Jerry's official announcement:

This month's "LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on
Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 11:30 AM
at "Jimmies" Restaurant in Mint Hill.
This is your personal invitation to join us. Spread the word! Invite other classmates to come! Even better, bring someone with you! Be sure YOU, come!
...and if you think about it, take along a camera and click a few snapshots to send to your kindly old webmaster.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Moonbattery

Beard of the week award goes to:


William Gilmore Simms

Bargain of the week goes to:


An unnamed Art Collector who paid 4.9 Million Dollars for a painting by Japanese "artist"
Kazuo Shiraga’s painting titled "BB56"





Kazuo Shiraga's  "BB56"
 
The Auction House's catalogue (Christies) describes it thusly:

 “Painted directly with the artist’s feet as he suspended himself above the canvas from a rope hanging from the ceiling, the painting represents a unity of the central tenets of postwar abstraction with performance art.”
And it’s from the most influential period of the artist’s work: “Painted in 1961, ‘BB56’ dates from a highly significant time for the artist,” the catalog description says, adding that 1962 “was the year in which Shiraga was given his first solo show outside Japan, at the Galerie Stadler in Paris, where this painting was exhibited.”


That it may look, to some, like a child’s finger painting is irrelevant. “A lot of contemporary art is aggressively ugly,” Professor Galenson said. “That doesn’t matter in terms of its value.”

****



"Aggressively Ugly."

You nailed it, Prof!



Non calor sed umor est qui nobis stupiditas
It's not the heat, it's the stupidity.

-Ed

We've Come a Long Way, Baby...

Yep.

Sugar rationing line, 1944


Black Friday, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

Heroes


I have had lots of heroes over the years, but it hard to top my first ones.
I'm sure you recognize all of them:


Leland Helms
Richard Foard



Richard Tiddy
When I first saw them, I couldn't believe what "big shoulders" they had. Mr. Weller, who had taken Jimmy and me to our first ever football game explained that those big shoulders were really "shoulder pads" underneath their blue jerseys for protection, because football was a rough, contact sport.

The boys in the blue jerseys beat the boys in the green jerseys who limped back to Gastonia in defeat probably not even aware that they had just been a part of a game that at least one old man would still be writing about some 70 years later.

Thanks to the Internet I finally discovered these pictures from their Central High "Snips and Cuts" annual of 1947,  I must admit I was surprised at the way they looked in real life. I had imagined them all looking like a combination of Julius Caesar, Attila the Hun and General Patton.

But, darn it, they looked like......high school kids.

But that probably was due to those old fashioned cameras they were using back in 1946. And the printing presses weren't as good as more modern ones either, because I noticed a lot of errors. For example, that unbeatable team of magnificent warriors was only given credit for winning about half their games!

Harumphhhhh..........

But, I know how great they really were!

Because I was THERE!

-Ed








Dick Tiddy


Richard Foard





Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014



O Lord that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.
~William Shakespeare


May the roads rise to meet you.
May the wind be at your back.
 May the sun shine warm upon your face;
 The rain fall soft upon your fields
And, until we meet again,
 May God hold you in the palm of His hand. 


                                -Irish Blessing 

Amen 

-Ed 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

They Don't Make em Like They Used to

Our Leaders in 1965

As the Baby Boomers take their turn at being our ruling class, it has become obvious that they are driving our country full speed ahead directly toward the cliff. Everyday they come up with new solutions to non problems and non solutions to real problems.

Michael Moore
They never rest.

Meanwhile, the run of the mill Lefties, Busybodies, DoGooders, the Deranged,
and the Nincompoops have nothing better to do than to demand that the Washington Redskins change their name.  They contend it is insulting to Indians.

Trying to make sense of all the ridiculous machinations of our "leaders" is  like trying to empty the ocean with a spoon.

I've given up. From now on, if I can help it, what brain cells I have left will concentrate only on my family, old friends and old memories.

Dan Snyder and Navajo chief
But having said that, maybe we can win at least one battle; Redskins owner Dan
Snyder says he will never change the name of his team!  I hope he's not forced to give in!

But if he does, I'll only know about it from news reports, because I've stopped watching my much loved Redskins as well as all the other football games.

The reason, in a way, is similar to what happened to me and the Democratic Party. It began shortly after JFK was killed, when the party slowly, but surely turned left;  leaving me and anyone else who happened to love this country, and was paying attention, behind.

Terrel Brown 6'10" 403 lbs
It's not so much the game, that has left me, but the players.  They're not to blame of course, but they've gotten SO big, SO fast and SO mean, that it's no longer a game of men;

it's a game of Freaks!

Freaks of Nature.

Back in the 1920s, when the NFL was just getting started, the average lineman weighed 190 pounds. Now they average 300 pounds.
That means Hall of Fame-er Morris "Red" Badgro, who played for the New York Giants in 1930, would lay down quarterbacks with about 970 pounds of force.

Ngata in action
Now, Baltimore Ravens starting lineman Haloti Ngata  weighs 335 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in just under five seconds. When he sacks a quarterback, he unleashes about 1,700 pounds of force.

Getting stopped by Ngata is literally like having a ton of bricks fall on you.

I was in the audience of a boxing match down in Charlotte in the late 1940's when one of the fighters died in the ring.

I'm not going to risk seeing a repeat of that on the football field.

And, sooner or later, common sense tells me that it's going to happen.

May God forbid that it does!

-Ed

Change the Redskins Name?


We already did that back in the 50's. Not officially, of course, but everybody in my hometown of Charlotte, NC and indeed throughout the South rarely mentioned their first name.

They were the "South's" team.  Redskin's owner George Marshall was the first NFL boss to have his team's entire season televised.  And he aimed it toward the Southern United States, where there were no other NFL teams at the time. The "Washington" part of the official Redskin name was pretty much lost in the South. From North Carolina to Miami, they were simply "our" Redskins.

In Charlotte, 4:30pm on weekdays was "Briarhopper Time."(A famous local Hillbilly Band.)  And in the Fall, 1pm on Sunday afternoons was "Redskin Time!" We were seeing professional football for the first time. And what a show!  The Redskins even had a band, and cheerleaders; and our own Charlie Choo Choo Justice, although he never got to burst through the line for touchdowns like he did at Carolina, because they made a defensive back out of him.

The NFL, along with boxing and professional wrestling, (before the public learned it was "fake") were the pioneers of television sports.  Before 1960, Major League Baseball was the most popular sport in America. After that, it was no contest. NFL broadcast contracts are now among the most valuable in the world.

And the weekly broadcasts all began with George Preston Marshall's Redskins. That happened in the  early 1950's, which were the games we watched on good old WBTV.


Eddie LeBaron (L)
Who can ever forget number 14, that amazing, scrambling quarterback, Eddie La Baron, the
Little General! What a performer!
In 1952 when LeBaron returned to this country from serving in Korea, only one NFL team had any interest in him because of his diminutive size, 5'7'' 165 lbs. The Redskins drafted him in the 10th round.

In his rookie year, he threw 14 touchdown passes  and punted for over 2,000 yards.
Part of LeBaron’s magic was his unmatchable ability to “hide” the football from defenses.
Offensive lineman Jim Ricca said it best of his fake out skills:


“Eddie was a magician with the ball. You never knew who had the ball, he was so slick.
“I remember one time three different players on the defensive line got confused and all of a sudden Eddie’s standing in the end zone with the ball. He rolled out and had the ball on his hip, and he was gone. He was elusive and tricky, and he was so short that people couldn’t really see him.”

I don't believe the Redskins won a whole lot of games back then, but I don't think we cared. No matter the final score, we knew who the winners were; they were us!

What a show!

We learned lots of names we never knew before: Joe Kuharich (Coach), Chuck Drazenovich, Gene Brito, Dick James, and of course Eddie LeBaron.

I learned those too.......but more impressive to me (being a TV wannabe) were the names that rolled by on the credits at the end of the game; the big time television wizards who were responsible for bringing those exciting games to our living rooms!

Jim Gibbons, Eddie Gallagher, etc and the PRODUCER/DIRECTOR, Jim Silman

Those were my "Heroes;" the people I wanted to meet someday!

And, as those pleasant black and white memories slowly fade to black, a mental slide appears that reads, "Wait, there's more!"

There is:  I DID get to meet them all. In fact, the man who was inventing "How to televise football games" for the NFL, the Producer/Director, Jim Silman, was my boss for 10 years and my friend for 53.

He remembers those days too:

Lee . . .
Jim Silman

  When TOP got the Redskins' rights,  they were playing in Griffith Stadium. Eddie LeBaron had replaced Sammy Baugh a year or so before. Baugh was not in any of our coverage.

Our TV broadcasts were simulcast on the Amoco radio and television networks covering the south (all the way to Miami). I set up the network formats and disseminated them to the stations involved. And, as you know, our remote truck was on the road for all the out of town games with our crew. I was the producer/director for both radio and television.

Jimmie Gibbons (play by play) and Eddie Gallagher were the announcers for game coverage. The quarter time-outs and commercial breaks were handled by Arch McDonald for the radio network who would return it to Jim and Eddie for coverage. 

An interesting sidelight (I had never heard of this nor have I seen it since) was one of our cameras was aligned with a film projector for Amoco film commercials to be rolled between quarters. The film was projected directly into a field camera. Our own telecine on the road! 

We were doing three camera shows which meant taking one of the cameras away from game coverage ahead of the end-of-quarter breaks to prepare for the film commercial. The projector was on a similar high hat side-by-side with the camera. All the camera had to do was pan to the projector and be fitted by a gooseneck connector. Fun, Huh? 

-Jim 

Hail to the Redskins.
And to old memories...and old friends!

-Ed

Monday, November 17, 2014

WITHDMWG Club

As a card carrying, official, member of the WHERE IN THE HELL DID MY WAIST GO club of America, I'd like to offer some advice.

First, an explanation.  As we get older, our bodies change. You remember puberty, right?  Well, it's just like that, except opposite.

Instead of adding tissue, muscle and body matter...as we age, our bodies start subtracting that stuff. What puberty gaveth, Old age taketh away.

The obvious result is that your waist winds up closer to your chest, than down where your hips used to be.
George P. Marshall (middle), early member of  WITHDMWG

But all is not lost. No way. Nature, in its infinite wisdom makes up for the loss of muscle, and bone mass in our hips and things, and adds up to 30% of body fat in our stomachs at the exact spot we used to pull our pants up to.

Now that's a problem. Most men solve it by pulling their pants up past what some call the Santa Claus bowl, since there's no longer enough hip bone left to hang them on.

Problem solved, right?

Nope.


Nature is not through with us yet. Just about the time we think the "belt just below the chest" solution has solved our fashion problem, it becomes apparent that while we weren't looking, we got about 3 inches shorter!

So now, the pants legs are dragging at the bottom!

Oh, the humanity!


So, what's the solution!?  I think there are two:






We could adopt the fashion of the rappers and gangstas....and wear our pants like they do......










or we could take a page from the popular "Duck
Dynasty" TV show and dress in Camo!

(As you can see, this is a one piece suit!)


That's the route I'm going with: THE CAMO SOLUTION

But as you know, like any other fashion, the Camo is constantly being upgraded and improved. The latest in Camo Chic is an even more intense emphasis in obscuration.

I've ordered a whole new outfit in the latest line of CAMO outfits for "Men of Distinction" like myself.




-Ed

(The photograph of the original Washington Redskins owner, George P.
 Marshall (Middle) with Eddie LeBaron former quarterback (far Left) and my father in law, George Hartford (far Right) was taken sometime in the 1950's at a Redskin training camp, probably at Carlisle, PA.) 


Monday, November 10, 2014

Whew!

What a load off my mind!

American Ingenuity
It's said that one major reason we won World War 2 was the practical superiority of the average American Soldier.  For example, if the Jeep or truck he was riding into battle in were to beak down, the GI would jump out, take a look under the hood, fix it, and return to battle; whereas, the German Soldier would have no idea why his truck broke down...and would have to wait by the side of the road for someone to come a fix it.

This kind of practical knowledge was expected of us boys of the 50's as well. And many of us carried on the mechanical tradition very well.  But I wasn't one of them. But thank goodness for the average filling station attendants back then. They bailed me out of some very sticky situations. Just imagine having the fan belt on your car break and fall off in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday night.

That happened to me about 50 miles outside of Charlotte chugging along in my little foreign TR3 roadster.

Gas Station Mechanic
Luckily, I found a station that was still open and even luckier was the fact that the attendant was
probably one of those ex GIs who helped defeat the Nazis.  He had never seen a little foreign car like mine, and his gas station certainly didn't stock TR3 fan belts, but he though maybe one of the tractor belts he had in stock could be made to fit my car.

It did, and I went merrily on my way home.

That was just one of many times, some nameless gas station mechanic bailed me out of trouble. After each incident, or course, I vowed to learn something about automobile engines so I wouldn't be such a helpless nerd.

Well, cars got better and better in the 60's and 70's and I'm naturally lazy, so I kept on remaining ignorant....and feeling guiltier and guiltier...until today I read an article in the UK TELEGRAPH
by


"There's never been a better time to know nothing about cars."



It goes on to say:

"Perhaps there was a time when men really were men and could repair their car with nothing but their wits, an elastic band and the foil from a cigarette packet. If mechanics are your thing then so much the better, but otherwise it’s now a task for a specialist. As this week’s study points out, engines are more complicated - or sophisticated - than ever before, with key parts in different places in the current popular models, and other components hidden from view. "

But the article does say everyone should know how to check your oil level and change it regularly to protect the engine. I can do that. "As the old saying goes, if you can't find the dipstick, the dipstick may be you!"

What a relief!

-Ed