Saturday, October 29, 2011

USS Wolverine and USS Sable

USS Wolverine IX64
  During World War Two the United States Navy had two side-paddle wheel aircraft carriers on Lake Michigan, homeported in Chicago.
  Both ships had started life as something else, passenger ships!   They were done over, quickly, to use as ships that new Naval Aviators would use to practice carrier landings and take offs.
  To my knowledge they were the only World War Two ships in the Navy that were propelled by paddle wheel.  They were never classified as aircraft carriers (CV), but designated as miscellaneous (IX), the only IX class ship now on active duty is the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides) in Boston.
  One 20 year old Lieutenant, Junior Grade who learned to land on carriers was George H W Bush, the Country's Forty-first President.
  The ships were also used to test "Drones" from the Naval Aircraft Factory and other manufacturers, the drones never entered active warfare but were used for target practice.
USS Sable IX-81
A Naval Aircraft Factory TDN1 takes off from USS Wolverine, another drone is parked.

Friday, October 28, 2011

What the heck is it?

The Paper Mill in East Millinocket Maine
  The mill up there at the top of the page is planning to have an additional product sometime soon.  The new owners have decided to make Torrefied wood pellets.  That caused me to wonder what the former New York Yankees and Dodgers manager Joe Torre had to do with wood products. (There's an insight into my thinking, right there).  As it turns out, Mr. Torre has nothing to do with the process of torrefication.
  Torrefication is a process similar to making charcoal.  Wood pellets, made on site, are heated to maybe 300 degrees in an oxygen free environment during which the pellets water content is reduced to near zero percent, the volatiles are removed.  Volatiles are made by the bipolymers like cellulose and lignins in the wood.  The result is a product that can be used instead of coal, to produce steam which in turn produces electricity.
  This would be a first for Maine.  With an abundant supply of wood Maine is already home to three plants that make wood pellets, with a fourth in the process of being built, pulp is made at one or two plants and shipped, by water, to China, and of course various kinds of paper.  The East Millinocket mill produces newsprint, a sister mill in Millinocket could also be used to produce the new product.
  So there you have it, torrefication of wood; if it works Maine will have one more product to place on the world market.
An example of Torrefied Wood Pellets (not from Maine).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A very early Navy commando

Lt. William B. Cushing, U S Navy
  On this date in 1864, Lt. Cushing and his small crew became the very first U S Navy commandos, at least by their actions.
  The CSS Albemarle, and iron clad gun boat was being too successful in harassing the Union Navy.  The ship was berthed in the Roanoke River when the daring men began their mission.
  Lt. Cushing with a crew of 13 men, brought their steam launch, a 30 foot long power boat, up the river under cover of darkness.  It was during the Battle of Hampton Roads that needed an end to the escapades of the Albemarle. 
  As the Union Navy steam launch made its way up river they were spied as they approached the target, ignoring the danger the men pushed on, then it was discovered that Albemarle was protected by log booms.  Lt. Cushing knew the logs had been in the water a long time and were slippery, so he drove the launch forward and over the logs, here's what happened next.
  The launch crew has affixed a fourteen foot long spar torpedo to the underside of the launch, the torpedo would be activated by pulling on a lanyard.  The launch got close enough to the Albemarle to make contact with the torpedo, Lt. Cushing pulled the lanyard (rope) and blew a nine foot hole in the ship, which sank almost immediately into the mud at the river bottom.
  The blast however threw everyone on the launch into the water, Lt. Cushing removed his uniform and swam to the shore and hid until daylight when he returned to the Union front.   Two of his men were drowned and eleven were captured, and later recovered.
  "Seal Team" One had accomplished their mission.
  Lt. Cushing was awarded a "Recognition of Congress" for his efforts, a high honor at that time.  He later married and was a happy man, for a while.  He developed “sciatica" a term that was used in those days without regard to cause for any inflammation of the sciatic nerve, or any pain in the region of the hip. Cushing may have had a ruptured intervertebral disc. (Wikipedia).
  He was treated with morphine, eventually became addicted and was a patient in the Government Hospital for the Insane, where he eventually died.  A hero.
The CSS Albemarle
A Steam Launch with torpedo attached, but not THE launch discussed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm waiting...

Could have been this one!
  I'm waiting for my car, it's now day three and believe me I'm ready.  The car went in the shop on Monday about 7:30AM, and I miss it!  The rental car is a huge beast and Ford did it's damnedest to bring back the 50's in interior design.
  The rental is a 2000 Ford Taurus, it's comfortable and has a nice foot rest.  Now for the bad part, it has a column shift, power locks that don't work on the drivers door; the seat belts are a wrestling match to put on, or off; the "check engine" light came on during day 2, I was told just to keep driving it, I did check the oil and coolant and it is still running.
  It's comfortable, unless you want to use the cup holder, then you just fold up and over about one-third of the front seat and get this big honking upper and lower deck contraption, odd! 
  So, Butler's Auto Body:  Any time you're ready!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jimmy Drake

Jimmy Drake
  Jimmy Drake was born in 1912 in the Oakwood district to Los Angeles.  He had a few hit records, but, to me, his biggest hit was in 1956.  That song which he co-wrote with a radio personality, Red Blanchard was aimed at the teen audiance.
  I find it strange that a man my fathers age wanted to do "rock and roll" or pop music for teens, but such things are done.  Anyway, Jimmy Drake had a hit, big hit, but he was also very shy and turned down an invitation to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show, and just kind of lived away from other people.
  Here is the hit, from Jimmy Drake aka Nervous Norvus. (they don't make them like this anymore!

 Tooling down the highway doing 79
I'm a twin pipe papa and I'm feelin fine
Hey man dig that was that a red stop sign
Transfusion, transfusion
I'm just a solid mess of contusions
Never, never, never gonna speed again
Slip the blood to me, Bud

 I jump in my rod about a quarter to nine
I gotta make a date with that chick of mine
I cross the center line man you gotta make time-
Transfusion, transfusion
Oh, man, I got the cotton pickin convolutions
Never, never, never gonna speed again
Shoot the juice to me, Bruce

 My foot's on the throttle and it's made of lead
But I'm a fast rideing daddy with a real cool head
I'ma gonna pass a truck on the hill ahead-
Transfusion, transfusion
My red corpsuckles are in mass confusion
Never, never, never gonna speed again
Pass the crimson to me, Jimson

 I took a little drink and I'm feelin right
I can fly right over everything everything in sight
There's a slow poking cat I'm gonna pass him on the right
Transfusion, transfusion
I'm a real gone paleface and that's no illusion
I'ma never never never gonna speed again
Pass the claret to me, Barrett

 A rollin down the mountain on a rainy day
Oh, when you see me coming better start to pray
I'm a cuttin' up the road and I'm the boss all the way
Oh, doc, pardon me for this crazy intrusion
I'm never, never, never gonna speed again
Pump the fluid in me, Louie

 I'm burning up the highway early this morn
I'm passing everybody oh nothing but corn
Man outa my way I don't drive with my horn
Transfusion, transfusion
Oh, nurse I'm gonna make a new resolution
I'm never, never, never gonna speed again
Put a gallon in me, Alan

 Oh, barnyard drivers are found in two classes
Line crowding hogs and speeding jackasses
So remember to slow down today
Hey, daddy-o
A make that type O, huh
Pasted from <>


Monday, October 24, 2011

Melanie Safka

Melanie Safka
  This woman as a musician, a much better musician than I ever imagined.  I have always thought she was a "one hit wonder", boy was I ever wrong.
  Here's the song I remember:

I got a brand new pair of roller skates,
You got a brand new key.
I think that we should get together and try them out, to see...
I been looking around awhile,
You got something for me
Oh! I got a brand new pair of roller skates,
You got a brand new key.
I ride my bike, I roller skate, don't drive no car,
Don't go too fast, but I go pretty far.
For somebody who don't drive
I been all around the world
Some people say I've done alright for a girl...
The actual title is: A Brand New Key,  I'm betting some of you remember the song, and now the rest of the story (sorry, couldn't help that).
  Born in Queens, New York in February 1947, she graduated from High School in 1966 just like a whole bunch of other kids; then attended the Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.
  She made her "professional" debut at age 4, singing "Gimme a Little Kiss" on the radio show Live Like a Millionaire.
  She signed a contract with a Record Company in 1969 and took up song writing.  Her, probably, best known song is the Theme from the TV show Beauty and the Beast - "The First Time I Loved Forever".

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A long dance

Ernest Tubb
  Born February 9, 1914 in Crisp Texas, the Texas Troubadour was born, son of a share cropper his family moved around and he work on farms at an early age.
  His first singing job was a 15 minute radio show every week in San Antonio, he wasn't overpaid and supplemented his income by driving a beer truck.
  By 1948 he was a regular on several shows, and he was the very first to have a hit with Blue Christmas.  He went on to record many hits including Waltz Across Texas, another one of those that keep going through my head.
  Mr. Tubb has a distinctive voice, to my ears at least and had a number of big hits in the 1950's and 60's, he co-wrote Waltz Across Texas with this brother Talmidge Tubb, and here it is:

When we dance together my world's in disguise it's a fairyland tale that come true
And when you look at me with those stars in your eyes
I could waltz across Texas with you
Waltz across Texas with you in my arms waltz across Texas with you
Like a storybook ending I'm lost in your charms
And I could waltz across Texas with you

My heartaches and troubles are just up and gone the moment that you come in view
And with your hand in mine dear I could dance on and on
And I could waltz across Texas with you
Waltz across Texas...

If it were possible, I'd just sing it for you, but this is one of your lucky days!