Thursday, October 23, 2014

and then he told me...

Talk about a book that makes “history come alive;” I've got one that I mentioned on this website before but other than that, and perhaps the 12 or 15 people who purchased it, nobody else ever read it. It's by a man named Sidney Morris Davis, who was a Yankee cavalryman in the Civil war whose first brush with death happened about a mile from my house in Falls Church, VA when a Confederate sharpshooter's bullet barely missed his head as he rode in formation along highway 29.

His description of the landscape pinpointed exactly where the spot was.

I drive past it almost everyday.

Sidney Davis' experiences were almost unbelievable. He learned, quite accidentally during a brief furlough from the War, that he had been an indentured servant to the farmer he and his father had been living and working with outside Pittsburgh.

At the same time, discovered that his alcoholic mother, whom he never knew, had sold him for $35.

Before his experience as a COMMON SOLDIER was over he had been held as a prisoner of war by the Confederates and upon release, tried to return to his Yankee Unit, which he discovered had been disbanded. Having no way to prove his incarceration by the Confederates, he spent 6 more months in a Union prison charged with desertion.

Oh, and Sidney Davis was my wife's Great Grandfather. There may be a few more “greats” in there, but who's counting.

I remember one of my teachers at Central told the class one day about the joy of reading a book by a great man. She said it's just like he's there in the room talking to you!
Davis called himself a common soldier, which is the name of his book.

Davis was no "great man" by anyone's standards, but as I read Davis' words, the voice I hear is anything but common!

He was captured by the Rebels during the battle of Gettysburg and thus began the long march South. At New Market, Virginia the prisoners were crowded on train cars for the long ride to Richmond and their eventual destination Belle Isle prison.

"I do not think I shall forget that ride to Richmond during my existence in this life. The train
Sidney Davis
moved, as far as I can judge, at the rate of about 10 miles per hour.  The sun was fairly blazing in a cloudless sky. For the first few miles the novelty of the ride stirred up our spirits; but the journey soon became a monotonous one, and the utter impossibility of one's resting oneself when tired of standing added to one's agony.

Stoppages were so frequent that the expressed doubt as to our reaching Richmond before the month was ended seemed not to be so extravagant after all.

The men began to suffer from want of water, and , although we ran along the mountain side and saw the clear crystal streams come dashing down almost within reach of our hands, we could not quench our consuming thirst.  The harvesters were busy in the meadows; the farm houses in the distance reminded me of the contented days of "auld lang syne," the cattle in the fields raised their heads to look at the supremely bunches of flies, and as I looked on in my despairing soul, it seemed as if we were to be forever isolated from all this happy world.

The ride from Gordonsville to Richmond was devoid of interest. I remember that it grew dark soon after we left the former town, and that there seemed to be an endless monotony of pine forests and lonely fields.

But few words were spoken that night. I managed to secure a seat on the end of a car beside one of the guards...a tall, lean, lank man, forty-five or fifty years of age, with long reddish hair and whiskers...and as comfortable as circumstances would permit. 

About midnight I felt the guard lean heavily upon me, and from his hand slipped the dreaded musket.  As it fell I seized it, and thus prevented its loss. The man was sound asleep.

My first impulse, now that I had an enemy in my power, was to push him off suddenly between the cars, and have him crushed to death; but it occurred to me that such an act would simply constitute a cowardly murder; then the vision of a family in tears rose vividly before me.

I awakened him, gave him his gun, and cautioned him playfully as to his duty as a soldier.

He seemed very grateful, and said he was completely worn out from fatigue.  For a few moments he sat up, and then settled back again...sound asleep, and I once more caught the gun as it fell.

I allowed him to sleep until we reached Richmond, just before dawn, when I aroused him."

Common Soldier?

No way!  But he sure got the "uncommon war" part right!

-Ed





Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Take two, and call me in the Morning.

When the "muse" simply refuses to visit me down here in the Bat Cave, where I like to write little stories that amuse me, and, hopefully, you as well, it's usually because of an overload of bad news about the incompetence of our once trusted government.

I pray that the next two years doesn't drive us completely off the cliff and we survive this regime and begin to recover.

Meanwhile, I take a couple of what I call "optical tranquilizers" and feel better almost immediately!

Here are two of my favorites. See if they work for you!





Feel better now?

I thought you would.

-Dr. Myers

Monday, October 20, 2014

What's This Young Generation coming to? !

That's not really a question. It's a statement; and it's probably been made by every adult generation since mankind crawled out of the caves.

I think it's mandatory; it's in our genes, much like the "Flight or Fight Syndrome."  When a person reaches a certain age, the words just automatically blurt out one day, much like grey hair and wrinkles.

It was even said about US!  OUR generation!



 But then, there were some of us including me who were actually "wild."  I confess! I was one of those "going to Hell in a hand basket" boys who....occasionally "talked in class," smoked a cigarette or two, drove over the speed limit sometimes, "scratched off" in front of my girlfriend's house, sported a "duck tail" haircut and pegged pants, and even "sassed my elders" once or twice! 

 

































Then, a strange thing happened; we grew up.

That will happen with this generation too.







Eventually.


 It should.

I think.
























Good Lord, I HOPE so!
-Ed

Monday, October 13, 2014

LDL 10/14/14

This may seem like Monday, after yesterday's holiday, but it's Tuesday and time for this month's LDL!

Unfortunately, your handsome, lovable, and modest, webmaster is way up here in Virginia, right outside Washington (Disneyland East) and have never had the pleasure of attending any of those "jumping and jiving" LDL's.

But I hear that the conversations and witty retorts rival those of the celebrated Algonquin Round Table group of New York City writers, critics, actors and wits. Gathering initially as part of a practical joke they met for lunch each day at the Algonquin Hotel from 1919 until roughly 1929. At these luncheons they engaged in wisecracks, wordplay and witticisms that, through the newspaper columns of Round Table members, were disseminated across the country.
The Oak Room (Round Table Room)

The story is told that one afternoon, Round Table member Edna Ferber arrived at The Algonquin in a new suit similar to the one Noel Coward was wearing. “You look almost like a man,” Coward said as he greeted her. “So do you,” replied Ferber.


I think some of the best quotes that survived were by Dorothy Parker:



Dorothy Parker
Answering her boss on not turning up to work:


"Tell him that someone was using my pencil."

"The first thing I do every morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.

And. of course, probably her most famous was her tombstone request:

"Pardon my Dust."

The Algonquin Hotel is still there at 59 West 44th Street in Manhattan and, I believe, is now owned by Marriott.  The Round Table group never called themselves by that name.  They called themselves the Vicious Circle.

But that was then, and this is now and there's not a sharp tongue within a 100 mile radius of our LDL lunches!  Only, fine Southern Manners and class and old and new friends reminding us of our almost unequalled blessings!


This month's "LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on
Tuesday, October 14, 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!



-Ed



Sunday, October 12, 2014

Happy Indigenous Peoples Day

It used to be called Columbus Day, but Seattle, Washington has officially  renamed it Indigenous Peoples Day.
Soon, I predict our brilliant government "leaders" will make it official nationwide.
We're doomed.  Insanity rules.
This is just a small thing, but it's the latest example of  the real anti common sense bizarre behavior that has become so prevalent in our culture. How in the world did we, as a people become so stupid?
Is it the schools?  TV?  College?  Boredom? Permissiveness?
What the Hell has turned the once greatest (and smartest) nation on earth into a collective babbling idiot?
The only answer that makes sense to me is:
It's the DOPE, stupid.

People in their right minds don't act like this.

Prove me wrong.

PS...Just because Ebola and every other incurable disease imaginable is beginning to spread like wildfire into this country...if you think our leaders will do something as logical as closing down airline flights from Western Africa or securing our southern border, you are going to be very disappointed...and in fact may get yourself put on a list for "re-education camp."
-Ed


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Auld Lang Syne


My old radio and TV station, WTOP and WTOP-TV in Washington, DC held it's annual reunion luncheon in Thurmont Maryland this week. It was the 27th year that those of us who worked there in the 1940's, '50's and 60's have gathered in the little town about an hour north of Washington where Camp David, the Presidential retreat, is located. The fact a lot of the station's engineers spent many hours there is one reason that location was chosen for our luncheons.

They had discovered something that very few people other than all our Presidents since Roosevelt knew. It wasn't a state secret, but you have to have visited Thurmont Maryland to have discovered it.

The secret was: The Cozy Inn!

Thurmont, MD

The real reason Thurmont was chosen had nothing to do with the fact that Winston Churchill once had President Roosevelt stop his limousine so he could go into the Cozy and see that new fangled invention called the Juke Box.


Why we chose the Cozy had nothing to do with the Jukebox of course, but the FOOD!

I think the Cozy has been such a secret all these years is
because you have to have a reason to go to Thurmont, and
frankly, there's not a whole lot there to see.

"Let's visit Thurmont on our vacation next year!"..is number three on my list of "things that have never been said."

Number two is, "Yes Dear, I think your butt looks fat in that dress."





For lunch, the Cozy featured one great big buffet which in my opinion featured everything anyone could ever want and was as delicious as anything any one's mother and grandmother together could possibly have concocted!  And they never let us down, year after year, for 26 years.



Now admittedly my mind may be in a slightly altered state when inhaling cool clean mountain air in the presence of old friends talking about our brilliant accomplishments when we were young and beautiful. They say that everyone who falls "in love" is a little bit insane, at least for the first few months. I think the same thing can be said about "reunions."

So forgive me if I'm a little "over the top" as I write this.

But this was the 27th anniversary of our annual event, and unfortunately the Cozy had closed it's doors forever earlier this year. The Restaurant was founded in 1929 and upon the original owner's death the son took over and carried on the tradition. But his kids weren't interested in jumping through hoops the State of Maryland would put them through to meet some new never ending standards and requirements. So, they closed it down earlier this year.

Chalk up one more victory for the bureaucrats.  One more loss for everybody else.

We held our meeting at another nearby eatery. But it wasn't the same.


Last of the WTOP Thurmont Luncheon Group


Undoubtedly, for our little group that had once numbered 100 or more Dear Souls every year, there was a certain poetic symmetry.

Only 18 of us showed up.

 So, we voted to close down too.

-Ed


A few of WTOP's famous alumni: John Charles Daly,  
Walter Cronkite, Eric Severied, Roger Mudd, Arthur Godfrey, Sam Donaldson, Bill Diehl

Friday, October 10, 2014

This Tuesday is LDL !

I watched a TED lecture the other night by a young fellow who for the last 10  years or so has been taking one minute of random video of  each and every day of his life. He said it serves to help him remember everything.

Maybe it does, but who in the world would want that? 

Typical LDL at Jimmies

Somebody a lot smarter then me once said, "One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.” 
I think our brains automatically take care of those things we all are better off forgetting. 


And.........that leaves space for MORE GOOD MEMORIES!

Jerry Gaudet reminds us of  a great place to find them!


This month's "LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on
Tuesday, October 14, 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!



Saturday, October 04, 2014

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and...

Global Hand washing Day.

 October 15th is the day, and millions all over the world are already lining up to finally wash their hands.

Just kidding, just kidding!

I think.  (At least about millions lining up. Global Hand Washing Day is for real.)


For those of us who grew up in middle class America, washing your hands seems almost as natural as...breathing.  What's the big deal?

Well, according to survey by the American Society for Microbiology done four years ago, one third of Americans skipped washing their hands after visiting the restroom.

They recently repeated the survey and found that almost 50 percent skipped washing.

Now, these surveys were taken at public restrooms in New York, so that may have skewed it a bit, but clearly, there is room for improvement.

Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis
Actually history shows that the washing of hands is not the natural instinct of humanity.

In fact, the Father of hand washing, Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis, had one Hell of a time trying to convince the medical community of 1847 to wash their hands when operating on patients.

He proved his theory by reducing the deaths in his clinic from 10% to 1%.

His theory that the results were all the product of Cleanliness were extreme at the time (this was before the germ theory was confirmed by Louis Pasteur.)   He later widened his theory, according to the article I saw on the Internet "... to include all instruments coming in contact with patients."
Semmelweis was ridiculed, rejected, ignored, and finally dismissed from the hospital.
His contemporaries, including his wife thought he was losing his mind and shortly afterward committed to an asylum where he was beaten to death by the guards.

Talk about "No good deed going unpunished!"

So perhaps GLOBAL HAND WASHING DAY  is not a bad idea. It's sponsored by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Hand washing with Soap  (PPPHW) a  coalition of international stakeholders (like soap manufacturers, etc) whose focus is hand washing and child health.

October 15th is the day, and it is directed toward Children, perhaps if the message sinks in,the day will come when the government and the States will be able to save some money by not posting as many wordy
signs in bathrooms like the ones we see now.

Of course, waiting for that to happen make take more time than I personally have, so fortunately, I've  mastered the art of opening restroom doors with my elbow.

I think that TV reporter Don Farmer also has a good idea.  He thinks that all the "Wash your hands" signs could be shortened, and even more effective with one simple sign that reads:

WASH HANDS OR DIE!

-Ed





Thursday, October 02, 2014

Sermon for Today


I found these powerful photos on the internet. They are by

a Texas photographer named Tom Hussy:








Amen.

-Ed

Sunday, September 28, 2014

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, No, it's...


Satellite Radio!

After all these years, I think Linda and I finally got a real good deal on a car.  It was "officially" a used car....however it had only been used by the dealer as a "loner."  Total mileage was 13,000 miles...which is considered "barely broken in."

Perhaps this is a gimmick that car dealers are using nowadays, I don't know, but we were very happy with the total price and the car itself.

One of its best features is Satellite Radio!  Now, I realise we have to pay to subscribe to that ourselves, when the dealer's contract with them runs out...but it hasn't run out yet, and we bought the car over a year ago!

But when it does, we'll gladly pay for it.  (I don't think it's very expensive for what we would want. I believe it's around $10 a month, but don't quote me on that.)

However if you had asked asked me before we bought the car if I wanted to have Satellite Radio installed...and pay for it. I would have said absolutely not!  We don't go on long trips anymore, and besides....etc,.etc,..etc...

You have a choice of, 100, 500...I don't know how many  channels....but the one we've chosen is the  SERIOUSLY SINATRA channel featuring the songs of Jerome KernIrving BerlinGeorge GershwinRichard RodgersHarold Arlen and other greats.

The Sinatra Channel, not only features Frank, but also most of the greatest singers of our time such as Ella, Mel Torme, Vic Damone, Nat Cole, Sarah Vaughn, Ray Charles,...in fact, every first rate singer you ever heard of singing "Our Songs" ...the popular Classics!

Until now, we didn't realize how much we missed listening to good music!

So glad to have it back in our lives.

An added attraction is featured singers that most of us associated only with their commercial hit songs,

such as Rosemary Clooneys "Come ona my house..." or some such awful song. No, no, none of that;

only really fine songs like,, The Nearness of You, or a Nightingale 

Sang in Berkeley Square...(pronounced Barkley) What a talent she was!  And they might feature 

Willie Nelson.....singing Autumn Leaves...with a full string orchestra!

also they play a lot of Doris Day songs....not her commercial ones, but the classics. I never 

realised the full beauty of her voice until I heard her singing great songs on Satellite Radio!

In my opinion, her very successful movie career distracted the public from realising what a

 terrific pop singer she was!


Doris at her 90th Birthday Party





















By the way, Doris emerged from her more or 

less "seclusion" last April to celebrate her 90th

 Birthday!  After all these years, I still have a place in my 

heart for Doris!  Even though, she went a bit nuts

over the animal thing. 





But, Nobody's perfect. 

-Ed







Saturday, September 27, 2014

Memphis Belle

It was great hearing from Warren and Becky Sparrow. They continue to spend their Golden years visiting interesting places and seeing amazing sights.
They didn't have to go very far a couple of weeks ago to see one of the Greatest Generation's most historical symbols of American Heroism:  THE MEMPHIS BELLE.
Becky and Warren and the Memphis Belle at the Winston Salem Airshow

The MEMPHIS BELLE is the most famous of WW2's Flying Fortresses, the Boeing B-17 bombers, which dropped more bombs than any other aircraft in WW2; 1.5 metric tons.



The pilot was Robert K.Morgan from Ashville, NC. His plane was named after his sweetheart, Margaret Polk, a resident of Memphis, Tennessee. After completing 25 bombing missions, Morgan and his crew returned to the USA and flew the plane on recruting and war bond tours. Morgan wrote that during a flight over Ashville, he buzzed the town at a very low altitude and at one point, lowered his left wing in a 60 degree bank and flew between the City Hall and the Courthouse.



Capt. Robert K. Morgan
in later years. He died in 2004
One of the most amazing features of the B-17s was it's incredible ability to take an enormous amount
of damage...and still survive!

That old WW2 song, A WING AND A PRAYER immediately comes to mind.

-Ed

PS...Thanks Warren and Becky for giving me an excuse to research
and write about one of my favorite subjects!  -Ed









Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hurry Up and Stop


I remember a nationwide poll taken a number of years ago that asked the public to describe the "most dangerous driver" in America.

The winner was,

An Old Man Wearing a Hat!

Now I fit that description perfectly, but they weren't referring to me, or a particular person. They had the "generic" old man in mind.

That might have been true back in the 70's, but the correct answer for today is:

Just about EVERYBODY!

Look up the major causes of auto accidents  and you will see many of the obvious causes, speeding, drunk driving, distractions, etc.  But I did a quick search on the internet, and never once saw one of the major "culprits" mentioned:

FOLLOWING TOO CLOSELY.

Tailgating is the other word for it, and in my opinion it has become a veritable epidemic! So much so, that I'm almost convinced that it's being taught in driving schools.  Another ubiquitous technique that drives me nuts is the almost universal desire to speed up when approaching stopped traffic waiting at a red light.....then
slamming on the brakes. That doesn't make a bit of sense.  But look around, and notice how many people do it.

There will almost always be "distractions" and un-anticipated actions by other drivers whenever you venture out in your automobile. Anyone who doesn't plan on them is just asking for trouble. Give yourself time to react to them by maintaining a reasonable speed and keep plenty of room between you and the car in front to allow for you make the correction when necessary.

 The speed limit is a pretty good rule of thumb to follow. How foolish to speed around blind turns etc. assuming that no other driver is going to run a red light or stop sign or do anything stupid to cause you to be involved in an accident.

Why in the world would you assume all the other drivers are perfect and never make mistakes?

Finally, you and I aren't perfect either, so make sure you have at least $100,000 in liability coverage.

That may seem like "overkill" to us "depression kids"....but in today's environment, I'm assured by lawyers and friends who've been sued in minor fender benders by the the "other driver" who suddenly comes down with the "insuranceitis virus"   (a mysterious virus that attacks an iindividual who is involved in an auto collision that they didn't cause and isn't showing any signs of injury until the police and EMS arrive. Usually due to the fact that when these two organizations arrive, they begin to see dollar signs.)... 

$100,000 is pretty much the minimum. Check with your insurance agent about an "Umbrella" policy.

Unfortunately, it ain't the 1950s anymore. I speak from experience. A couple of years ago I was involved in the most minor of fender benders with a truck. Only damage was a slight dent in my car, not enough to get my insurance company involved. No damage to the truck.

Months later, I was slapped with a $100,000 lawsuit claiming the driver of the truck was injured (get ready for this)...........by putting on his brakes.

-Ed

And speaking of today's environment:

 Just in Case.....(from the internet)


Fraudulent injury claims are not uncommon in minor accidents where a seemingly harmless fender-bender turns into a drawn out battle between insurance companies and the parties involved. It is possible for the at-fault driver to contest a fraudulent injury claimand win. The driver, however, will have to be prepared to prove the case.

At the Scene

When a minor crash occurs, many drivers exchange information and go on their way with little or no thought about a problem arising down the road. The unfortunate truth is that injury claims can come in weeks or even months after a crash, causing problems for the at-fault driver. Motorists can protect themselves from accident fraud and fraudulent injury claims by:
  • Making sure the police are notified of a crash. Keep in mind that police often will not respond to minor fender benders. If this is the case, physically go to the station and file a report to make sure something is on the record.
  • Taking pictures of the damage that did – or did not occur – as a result of a collision. Make sure to take pictures of all vehicles involved. If there is no visible damage at all, record this, too. The lack of damage can speak volumes about fraudulent injury claims.
  • Making sure to get information, including names, addresses, telephone numbers and insurance particulars from the other involved motorists. Also take down information from any witnesses on the scene of a crash.
  • Refusing to admit fault for the crash. When speaking with others at the scene, be very guarded about what is said and what isn’t said. Leave the investigating and assignment of blame to law enforcement.

What to Watch for

Even in very minor fender benders, motorists can sometimes notice behaviors that might be indicative of another driver’s willingness to make a false injury claim. Even if damage isn’t evident on the vehicles, pay attention for signs such as:
  • The motorist complaining of injuries or discomfort
  • The other motorist trying to assign blame even if he or she is clearly at fault
  • Insistence on the use of an ambulance even if physical damage is minimal or nonexistent

Why Disputing Claims Matters

While insurance will likely absorb the cost of a fraudulent injury claim if it is not disputed, the end result can prove costly to the driver blamed. Making sure to fight suspected cases of fraud can protect the driver from:
  • Inflated insurance charges
  • Cancellation of insurance coverage
  • Potential legal action to recover money above and beyond what insurance pays

Get a Lawyer

When a fraudulent injury claim is suspected, hiring a lawyer can be the defending party’s best course of action to take. A skilled automobile accident attorney can investigate a crash, request medical documentation and use collected evidence to successfully dispute claims of injury. Standing alone in this instance can prove costly for a motorist who believes injury reports are fabricated.





Sunday, September 21, 2014

Ghosts

The local stores around here are already jam packed with Halloween candy and stuff; I expect the Christmas merchandise to show up any moment now.

Ever since the early 70's whenever All Hallow's Eve approaches I think of my old friend and co worker at WMAL radio in Washington, John Alexander. John was a newscaster at the station and I was an announcer. It so happened that we worked the same early morning shift every weekend.  John had begun writing a book based on a Halloween show he had produced for WMAL and
John Alexander
asked if I wanted to help illustrate it for him by taking photographs of various "haunted places" in Washington.

He knew of my interest in photography and guessed that I would jump at the chance.  Which I did.

Neither one of us were ever sure the project would see the light of day, much less become the success that it did.  We just thought it was worth doing...and besides, would probably be a lot of fun; which it was.

John's book was published, and the US Park Service sold it in all their National Parks for years, they still might for all I know.

But fun, it was. I still remember fondly those Saturday afternoons clicking pictures of Washington landmarks, both famous and obscure, and visiting just about every old cemetery in D.C.

In those days, the city was not nearly as "up Tight" as it is today.  We couldn't have rummaged through the Washington landmarks today like we did in the early 70s.

It was a different era, although not that long ago.  We had complete and unfettered access to the Capitol where in a lower basement we discovered a bathtub and many forgotten long ago artifacts.

It was at a cemetery in Georgetown that I took the cover photo of the second printing of Johns' Ghost book.  The artwork makes the child's face look "spooky," but in reality the weather made tears simply make it appear very sad.

That photo haunts me to this day. I can think of nothing sadder than the death of a young child, which was oh, so common in the early history of this country.

The inscription on the tombstone is RANDALL.  I tried searching the Internet and discovered that his
Arlington House
father was a Civil War  reporter for a New York newspaper and the family lived in the "Arlington House"  I was unable to find out if  that was the once home of Robert E. Lee, which could have been turned into a hotel of sorts during the war....I have no idea.
Tad Lincoln's Tomb

The Lincoln Chair
Which disappeared shortly after I took
this picture.
As I recall that was the same cemetery that President Lincoln's son Tad, was entombed, and where Lincoln spent many nights sitting with the body, so he wouldn't be alone in that cold dark mausoleum which had been loaned to Lincoln until his son could be buried in Springfield.

The chair (R) inside the tomb where Lincoln spent many nights.

John moved to Charlotte in the 80s and started a video production  company, specialising in medical films. About 10 years ago he and his wife moved to Tennessee. I've lost contact with John, but hope he's doing well. He's a very talented ...and extremely nice ...guy!

-Ed