You ever wonder about…

June 8, 2019

A lot of us grew up watching cartoons on Saturday morning and I’ve learned some interesting things about one of my personal favorites, Popeye. The character was created by Elzie Crisler Segar in 1928 in Chester, Illinois. He started out in the comic strip “Dice Island” in 1929 as a sailor for hire.

I did not know Popeye was based on a real person. Frank “Rocky” Fiegal was born in 1868 and was a local legend in his hometown of Chester, Illinois. He was a lot stronger than he looked, smoked a pipe, didn’t back down from a fight, had a squinty (or missing) right eye, and at times butchered the English language when he spoke.

If you watched Popeye you remember Olive Oyl. Her character was also based on a real person. Dora Paskel owned a general store in Chester, was tall and thin, dressed like the cartoon character, and her gravestone is engraved with the face of Olive Oyl.

Remember “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”? That’s right, J. Wellington Wimpy was based on J. William Schuchert who ran the local theater and at one time was Segars boss. He was not a cheap person but did have a love of hamburgers and round shape.

And I also didn’t know that the first “Popeye the Sailor” cartoon was part of the Betty Boop shorts. So now we know the real Popeye didn’t live on the island of Sweethaven, but in Illinois.

Enjoy our Saturday and try not to think about old cartoons. Now for some coffee and a cookie.
Comments are always welcome.

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We must remember

June 6, 2019

Today is the 75th anniversary of D-Day, an operation that involved 150,000 soldiers and 195,700 naval personnel, that began the liberation of German occupied France. Allied casualties were over 10,000 with 4,414 confirmed dead.

And while I was watching the morning news one of the talking heads stated that our kids today believe we fought with the Germans against the Russians! I certainly hope that isn’t true.

Later in the program they profiled a Native American who became a combat nurse and served during that time and treated casualties of the invasion. Yet when she returned home there were no parades or fanfare, only signs in businesses in her home town that said ‘Indians and Dogs Not Allowed!’

We must remember and pass our knowledge on to our children and grand children so they remember after we’re gone. Today we are 75 years separated from D-Day and we don’t have many left who can say they were there. Sadly, in my lifetime there will be none.

And if you’re having a bad day think about the 18 year old boys who jumped off the LSTs and stormed the beach 75 years ago today. We owe them our freedom and respect so the least we can do is remember them.

Comments are always welcome.


Memorial day

May 27, 2019


Happy Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2019

This day is celebrated annually around the world yet is not a public
holiday in any country of the world. It originated as a Christian day
of feast to honor Saint Valentinus and is a cultural, religious
celebration of romance.

Stories include a written account of St. Valentine when the Romans
imprisoned him for performing weddings for soldiers and ministering to
Christians. Soldiers couldn’t marry in the Roman Empire and ministering
to Christians was persecuted. Legend claims that Saint Valentine
restored the sight to the blind daughter of his judge and he wrote her
a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell.

Today the celebration has come to include cards, candy, flowers, and
jewelry. In 2010 an estimated 15 million e-Valentines were sent as we
are also well into the computer age.

It is said that the verse “Roses are red” can be traced back to
Edmund Spenser’s “The Faerie Queene”(1590)-

She bath’d with roses red, and violets blew.
And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.

Before my time so I can’t swear all that is true but Happy Valentine’s
Day! Enjoy our Thursday as we will. Now I need some coffee to get my
strenght up for more shoveling.
Comments are always welcome.


Seen worse

January 31, 2019


Picture from the Iowa Historical Society

Since we are supposed to be over 40 degrees warmer tomorrow and
even warmer for a few days after that I thought one more mention
of winter of 1936 is in order. Some called it the “telephone
wire winter” due to a newspaper article by Jim Pollack that said
Lloyd Keller walked from Clarksville to his job at a college in
Cedar Falls with drifts so tall he touched telephone wires.

For a 36 day stretch that spanned January and February the
average temperature was -2.4 degrees. There was so much snow the
plows couldn’t move it, trains couldn’t push it out-of-the-way
to operate, businesses closed, and ice on the Iowa river near
Rock Falls was 42 inches thick.

About half of all wildlife died, livestock doubled their feed
intake along with drinking more water, farmers couldn’t get
their milk and eggs to market. mail wasn’t delivered, and there
was a coal shortage.

All during the Great Depression. This all happened after a hot
summer in 1936 and before a hot summer in 1937.

We have handled a short cold spell and above average snowfall
this go-round but feel it safe to say we’ve seen worse. And
people will do what has been done in the past and knuckle down
to get it done. Just please don’t pray for warmer weather as God
has a sense of humor and I don’t want a string of 100 degree
summer days coming up.

Enjoy our Thursday and keep warm if you’re still getting bit
by the Polar Vortex. Now I’m having more coffee while I make a
big omelet to keep up my strength.
Comments are always welcome.


Of steam engines and cell phones

December 28, 2018

Yesterday was one of those days I about had to beat myself up
to get moving. Everything hurt, my brain was disconnected, and
my body said ‘oh hell no!’ to anything that involved movement.
Not sure what the problem was but hopefully it’s just part of
getting older.

This morning I was thinking of Sprint Corporation for no
apparent reason and discovered something I did not know. You may
know that Sprint is a telecommunications company that provides
internet and cell phone services. But did you know its roots
can be traced back to a railroad?

The Brown Telephone Company and the Southern Pacific Railroad
are both said to be origins of Sprint. Brown Telephone began in
1899 to give phone service to rural areas in Abilene, Kansas
and was started by Cleyson Brown.

The Southern Pacific Railroad was founded in the 1860s as a
subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Company. The company operated
thousands of miles of track and the telegraph wire which ran
alongside the track. In the 1970s the company was looking for
ways to use these lines for long distance calling.

This spawned several lawsuits between the company, AT&T, and
the FCC. Prior attempts to offer long distance calling wasn’t
approved by the FCC so the railroad used a loophole that would
allow a fax service called SpeedFAX.

Southern Pacific Communications came up with a new name to
tell the difference between the switched voice service from
SpeedFAX and came up with SPRINT. This stood for Southern
Pacific Railroad Internal Network Telecommunications.

In 1982 GTE Corporation bought the telephone operation from
Southern Pacific. In 1992 Uninet (United Telecom Data) bought
enough of the Company to acquire the original company and in
1992 United Telecom officially changed its name to Sprint
Corporation. And that’s my story.

Enjoy our Friday as the weekend has begun. As soon as I have
another cup of coffee before getting busy doing what should have
been done yesterday.
Comments are always welcome.


Remember…

December 7, 2018

On this date 77 years ago Pearl Harbor was attacked and after
just 90 minutes 2,386 American servicemen died and 1,139 were
injured. Although few are left that were there that day we
cannot forget them.