An airplane tale

October 1, 2014

A little known plane crash during WWII has had my
attention lately so we’ll share the short story
of the Gremlin Special with you.


The Gremlin Special was a Douglas C-47 Skytrain
which crashed into a mountain on May 13, 1945. The
flight with nineteen passengers, including eight
women, and five crew members was looking for a
hidden valley in New Guinea known as Shangri-La.
Only three survived the wreck.

The survivors were T/Sgt Kenneth Decker, 1st Lt.
John S. McColom who lost his twin brother in the
wreck, and WAC Pfc Eleanor Hanna. Their story is

T/sgt Decker had burns and a bad head wound, Pfc
Hanna had burns while 1st Lt. McColom came through
with minor burns. The burns of Decker and Hanna
were bad enough they turned gangrenous before the
paratroopers arrived.

Paratroopers dropped in to treat the wounded and
get them back to base once healed. When the rescue
came it was nothing short of spectacular.

The rescue took 47 days and the final solution was
to use a C-46 to tow a CG-4 Glider up to the valley
and land it. Then some survivors and rescuers got
in and the glider was snatched up by a very low
flying C-46. Then repeat until all were rescued.

There are books on the subject and one we liked
is Lost In Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff. In this
short video he explains a little more.

To see pictures of some of the main characters
along with a timeline, go to the author’s page.

Commets are always welcome.

There’s an app for that?

September 30, 2014


The FBI has released an alert concerning an app
called StealthGenie. This app can record anything
you do on a mobile device. This includes smart
phones, iPhones, and tablets.

This undectectable app, once on your device, can
record your calls, monitor conversations within 15
feet of your device, read your email, listen to
your voice mail, and check your photos and videos.

The information can then be transferred to an
online portal and are also stored on the
StelthGenie website.

You can’t tell if your phone is affected and the
FBI says your best option is to do a “factory
reset” if your device has the spyware.

The CEO of StealthGenie has been indicted for
selling the spyware and the website hosting has
been disabled.

If you have pictures you don’t want public, emails
or voicemails you rather keep to yourself, or are
just unsure of want can be done with an app like
this, go to the FBI alert.

Please remember, don’t put anything on any
electronic device that you wouldn’t like the public
to see. We don’t have as much privacy as one might
Comments are always welcome.

From here to there

September 29, 2014

I was thinking of dubs, cars with really tall rims
and rubber band tires, when I came across some old
pictures. It brought to mind that everything old is
new again. The pictures were of old cars that had
a specific purpose.

Known as Railway Inspection Cars, some of these
looked very much like dubs to us. Take this 1920s
Packard for instance.


Just lose the cowcatcher on the front and it
screams dub. An even better example is this 1938


The inspection cars were equipped with steel
wheels to cruise down the tracks and couldn’t be
driven on the street. This was before the purpose
built vehicles of today and they were used to
locate any problems along the track that might
cause problems.

The leading cause of train wrecks was human error
and the second leading cause was defects. These
defects included bending, stresses, cracking, and
corrosion to name a few.

Now rails can be inspected at around 65 mph and
in the future it may be done with lasers and fiber
optics from a remote site.

In use the inspection car would look something
like this:

The cars shown above are railway inspection cars,
the one below is a dub.


See the resemblance?
Comments are always welcome.

Sunday snickers

September 28, 2014


After explaining the commandment to honor your father and mother, a Sunday School teacher asked her class if there was a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters.
One boy, the oldest in his family, immediately answered, “Thou shalt not kill.”

The Sunday School teacher was describing that when Lot’s wife looked back at Sodom she turned into a pillar of salt, when Bobby interrupted. “My mommy looked back once while she was driving,” he announced, “and she turned into a telephone pole.”

Another Sunday School teacher said to her children, “We have been learning about how powerful the kings and queens were in Biblical times. But there is a higher power. Who can tell me what it is?” Tommy blurted out, “I know, Aces.”
Comments are always welcome.

One amazing woman

September 27, 2014

Yesterday morning Barbie Ritzco died fighting
cancer. Gunnery Sergeant Barbara Ritzco had been
a Marine for 20 years. She was also a mother.


Shortly before deploying to Afghanistan she felt
a lump in her breast but ignored it to serve our
county. Four months later, in February of 2011,
she was diagnosed with Stage IIIB breast cancer
and left her troops. She had to deal with the
disease and the feeling she had abandoned and
deserted them.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer during one of
her tours in Afghanistan, ran a 27.5 mile marathon
while getting radiation treatments after 8 rounds
of chemo and following a bilateral mastectomy.

But Gunnery Sergeant Ritzco said wake up and leave
your mark on the world. “I aspire to inspire before
I expire.” And she did. Known in the breast cancer
community as the Warrior Queen, instead of
reconstructive surgery got a tattoo and got
involved in the cancer community.


She co-founded Flat and Fabulous, was part of the
Scar Project, and a member of Beyond the Pink Moon
(a Facebook group). She also received the USAA
Athletic Inspiration Award.

She has certainly inspired others.
Comments are always welcome.

Farm to the fair

September 26, 2014

The year was 1934. Rural Iowa didn’t have
electricity, horses still plowed the fields, and
farm houses didn’t have running water. When it got
hot back then farmers couldn’t plow in the heat of
day or the horses would keel over. At night they
slept on porches because it was cooler, and a
giant Studebaker was seen at the Chicago World’s


At the time it was largest vehicle in the world
and was big enough that an 80 seat cinema fit
inside of it. And that got us thinking. If that
farm family could make it to Chicago to see the
World’s Fair, how would they react?

Let’s say they walked into the Travel and
Transportation building and saw the giant car
above. It’s yellow, about 30 feet tall, 30 feet
wide, and 80 feet long. We’d bet it would be a
sight they would never forget.

In 1931 the world’s largest car resided in South
Bend, Indiana and it was also a Studebaker. This
version was a 1931 model 80 Studebaker Four Season
Roadster. Built by 60 craftsmen it was 41 feet
long, 13.5 feet tall, 15 feet wide, and weighed
5.5 tons. Each wire wheel had a 6 foot 8 inch
diameter and weighed 600 pounds.

This car was built in preparation of the bigger
World’s Fair car, and it was even in a movie. But
Studebaker knew they’d be ready for the fair.
Enjoy your weekend.
Comments are always welcome.

Sorry state

September 25, 2014


When did we become a caricature of what we once
were? At some point our country went from a place
where citizens had a ‘can do’ attitude to a place
I don’t recognize where people say ‘who’s going to
help me’?

We used to be united as a people yet now we are
deeply divided. The race card is predominant in
this division but just as problematic is the ‘I
am offended’ card and the trashing of religious
and gun rights.

While perusing headlines today we ran across one
that illustrates our point. It read “HS football
coach fired for not stopping players’ prayers?”

Catalina Foothills High School officials claim
they allow voluntary prayer when it is lead by
students, but district administrators claim said
coach crossed the line by promoting student

So because coach Gary Weiss didn’t stop the
praying he has been fired and banished from school
property. What? At a time when the citizens of our
country need God the most we push him away?

Have these people even read the Bill of Rights?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment
of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;
or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and
to petition the Government for a redress of grievance.

You have the right to be offended by the various
religions and you have the right to petition the
government for redress of your grievance, but you
do not have the right to stop others who are
exercising their right to give a nod to their God.

We Christians are offended that you are offended
by our faith. If you don’t like it there are many
other rights for you to try and micro-manage. Leave
ours to us.
Comments are always welcome.


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