Saturday, December 8, 2012

A different way to commorate Pearl Harbor Day

A U S Navy FM-1 WW2 relic is pulled from Lake Michigan
  Yesterday was Pearl Harbor Day.  The U S Navy Aviation Museum and other groups commemorated the occasion in a bit of a different manner.
  A World War Two era relic was recovered from Waukegan Bay of Lake Michigan, it was an FM-1 aircraft that had crashed during a training flight during that war.
  Airplanes flown from the Naval Air Station in Glenview, Illinois practiced landing and taking off from two aircraft carriers based at the Navy Pier in Chicago.  The converted coal burning paddle-wheelers were the USS Wolverine IX-64 and the USS Sable IX-81.  The IX denote a Miscellaneous designation versus a CV (aircraft carrier) for a "real" aircraft carrier.  Former United State President George H W Bush practiced on the USS Sable.
  I predict now that the use of manned fighter planes by the Air Force and Navy will cease to exist in the next 20 or 30 years.  Unmanned airplanes (X47-B) are being tested now on the USS Harry S Truman,  I believe there will come a day when the "fighters" will replace manned aircraft.
USS Sable IX-81
USS Wolverine IX-64 in 1943

Friday, December 7, 2012

The walls come tumbling down..

Packard Plant, Detroit MI, then and now - click to enlarge
Photo Brian Kaufman, Detroit Free Press
  Packard Motor Company manufactured cars from 1899 to 1955 in Detroit, at this factory complex.  It has sit idle since and has become a crumbling wreck.  The City of Detroit is taking step to demolish the plant complex and have level ground to offer for development.
  Packard also built engines during World War Two, with license from Rolls Royce, Packard built the engines for the P51 Mustang.  Also it built Packard V12 engines that powered the PT Boats, each boat had 3 Packard engines.
  When I was a boy the mailman (Rural Route Carrier), Bob Rand, drove a Packard, probable for the weight in the winter, he was also a large man, tall and barrel chested kind of guy.  I have always admired the cars made by Packard in this factory, after a merger with Studebaker cars were made in South Bend, Indiana for the 1956 through 1958 model year - they were just overdressed Studebakers, and didn't have the "Packard look".
The assembly line, then and now. - click to enlarge
Photo Brian Kaufman, Detroit Free Press
One of my "dream cars", 1948 Packard "woodie" - click to enlarge
get a look at a real car!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Conservation Land for Public use

A new Sierra Nevada Mountain parcel in California photo
  This recent purchase kept this, or these, parcel(s) from commercial development.  Here in Maine there are many parcels that are purchased with public funds for the public good.  The population isn't getting any smaller; opportunities for making money appear; or, development can be halted by a purchase such as these.
  I can imagine that hotels would have been built, condos, cabins and similar uses would have taken place on this parcel.  Instead the public will have a place to hike, hunt, or camp in.  It's a win win situation for the public.
Webber Falls Michael Macor photo
Lacey Meadows where the Lake meets land Michael Macor photo
The Little Truckee River Michael Macor photo

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

On Munjoy Hill, something old and something new

New building on Munjoy Hill? 54 feet tall? - click
drawing by Architype Architects
Portland Press Herald
  Okay, there is a reason I'm writing about this; it's a part of my personal history, at least the location is.  This proposed "music venue", a 54 foot tall, metal sided building would be built on the back lot (Munjoy Street side) of the partially demolished St. Lawrence Congregational Church (photos below).
The residents of this mostly residential area, Munjoy Hill, aren't too keen on this idea.
  When I lived on Munjoy Street about 1980-82 the area was probably lower middle class, working people and a few retired folks to.  Now it's another in-town area that has been 'gentrified' (that means a couple of things have been fixed and the rent tripled).  The middle class, if there is one anymore, has been pushed out to other areas, I guess.
The St. Lawrence Church during demolition of parts of it.
Portland Press Herald Photo
Where the geezer lived on Munjoy Street, 2nd floor left
Google maps
                                    Part of Munjoy Hill, enlarge this photo, Munjoy St. is
                                    about in the middle, I caught the bus across from Ft. Allen
                                    Park, used to see the sunrise.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Up in the trees in Singapore

The Tree Top Walk in the Singapore National Park
There are parks (2) in Singapore that hug the trees, high in the air you can stroll along and see "what it's like up there".  I imagine that in that climate the trees are quite tall so you would really "get high".
You can look in the address under the top photo or go to:
You will find dynamite photos that I can show only a couple of, so take the time and have a look-see.
I also know that most of us will probably never have the opportunity to go there and that makes it even more enticing to take a peek.
Henderson Waves at Telok-blangah Park in Singapore
photo from the link
This is an open/covered treetop walk, a long one too.
A rest area on the Henderson Wave photo
Man! Would I like to see this!

Monday, December 3, 2012

A new postage stamp

Lady Bird Johnson at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Texas
  A new U S Postal Service Forever stamp has been issued to honor Mrs. Johnson on the advent of her 100th birthday.
  While it's a bit unusual for a First Lady to be honored by the Post Office she is not the first, far from it.  The honor is because of her work to beautify the roadsides not only in Texas by nationwide.  I fully support those efforts and thank her for her work.  Maine has had a "billboard law" for years and years.  No billboards along the road makes a huge difference in what people see as they ride along.  Personally I do look for flowers, tree and keep an eye out for wild animals.
  Take a few seconds to send Mrs. Johnson a small "thank you".
A field of Texas Bluebonnets, a variety of Lupine
An editorial remark:
Photo from Wilbur

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Battery Park, no not that one

Bridge to the island, Battery Park, New Castle, Delaware
Photo by Pat Spencer via
  You see when you read newspapers from different places you learn a lot, for me about this park and some of the activities there.  It also brought back a string of personal history; even though I've never been in that park.  But, I have been to New Castle before, more about that later, first the park.
  The bridge in that photo was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, the rest of the park received little damage.  Every year Delaware citizens hold a celebration in this park, to mark to division of Pennsylvania and created Delaware.  Delaware is the "First State", by having it's representative sign the Declaration of Independence first.  It's also a good place to visit if you like salt water and all that goes with it.
  The Battery Parks home, New Castle, Delaware is the terminus of U S Route 202 which starts in Bangor, Maine.  For most of my life as a child and an adult here in Maine that road "202" has been a reasonably close neighbor.  202 runs through my childhood home town, Lebanon, the hospital I was born in sits on that road.  I live about eight miles from the starting point now.  I should try to drive the whole distance, but I won't.  Now about me being in New Castle:
  In the summer of, I think 1970, I left Alameda, California for the last time.  I had a passenger who I new from the AA Club in Alameda, Buddy.  Buddy was a retired truck driver, he drove one of those car carriers that bring the new cars to showrooms, he was going to Suffolk, Virginia.
  We drove from Alameda to just past Truckee which is in the mountains near Donner Pass.  Buddy and I smelled smoke and a check of the rear-view mirror showed smoke.  We stopped the car and could hear what sounded like the gasoline boiling.  As I opened the gas cap the fuel came rushing out, it was hotter than hell, it had been boiling.  We discovered that a hole in the top of the muffler was heating the gas tank, if I hadn't have just filled the tank there would have been a lot of vapors - - they would have exploded!  We drove back to Truckee (which is currently in the news for flooding) for a replacement muffler, without the gas cap on.  We then drove on and spent night one in Sparks, Nevada.
  A couple of days later, after some sleep and rest in an Ohio roadside park we started out at about 3 or 4 AM and drove south across Ohio, through West Virginia and a part of Virginia and I dropped Buddy off in Suffolk at his family residence.  I proceed on to nearby Norfolk and onto the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel.  It was only two lanes back then and fairly new.  It crosses the bay in 17 miles, or so, with a series of bridges (nice, nice for scenery) and tunnels (long ones with two way traffic).  The tunnels keep the bay open to shipping, which with the Navy in the Norfolk area and commercial ships to Philadelphia and in between is a good thing.
  After crossing the bridge/tunnel on US 13 you go through some of Virginia, Maryland and most of Delaware.  I had not had sleep since early that morning in Ohio, it was now late at night; I fell asleep, woke up suddenly just before I hit a large tree.  I stopped for coffee and donuts, and a New Castle, Delaware.  Got to love it.
A person and dog use the Battery Park trail after the Sandy Storm - click to enlarge
Photo from WDDE-FM via