Sarah Palin knows how old the Chinese gymnasts are.

calendar   Friday - November 04, 2011

eye candy

Before today’s paper, I’d never heard of these ladies before. But I like their photos. So I looked em up and decided to share a couple.





That’s All Folks


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 11/04/2011 at 03:59 PM   
Filed Under: • Eye-Candy •  
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having a heart attack?  call jesus. that’s what a nurse (?) did,while saner ppl called 999

What makes this scary story scary, is that articles like this are not uncommon.  Not the religious aspect. The fact that there are so many working here in health care, who are not quite up to the job.  There have even been foreign doctors with language problems that have been hired with ‘deadly’ results.
Scary indeed. 
Take a look at what her lawyer calls, “A bad day at the office.”

Nurse who threw her hands in the air and begged for Jesus to help as baby suffered heart attack is struck off


A nurse who threw her hands into the air and begged for Jesus to help as a baby suffered a heart attack has been thrown out of the profession.

Omolayo Abayomi ‘panicked’ when the child, who suffered from a chronic lung disease, turned blue and stopped breathing in his cot at home.
The 51-year-old called for divine intervention more than 20 times before the vulnerable boy’s mother told her to ‘shut up’.

‘The nurse was constantly saying “Jesus help him” and waving her arms around,’ a hearing was told.

The nurse ‘provided wholly inadequate care’ by leaving the frantic mother to resuscitate her lifeless son, while the father dialled 999.

Abayomi was found guilty of a string of charges by the Nursing and Midwifery Council at a hearing in central London.

Sydney Topping, for Abayomi, insisted his client’s behaviour had represented no more than a ‘bad day at the office’ and urged the panel to let her off with a caution.

‘Once in a while you have a bad day at the office,’ he said.
‘I would suggest that on April 8 the registrant had a bad day at the office. It was no worse than that. She has bounced back since then.’


Am I the only one who wishes we could go back to the days when foreigners with alphabet soup letters for a name, changed it so the natives could make sense of it?  Yeah I know. This one isn’t the worst we’ve seen. 


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 11/04/2011 at 03:16 PM   
Filed Under: • Health-Medicine •  
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thick heads abound

Martin Samuel, writing in the Daily Mail today, had two stories that hit home only because the wife and I can relate to the frustration felt by the subjects involved.
We’d been through much of the same in the last month.

With some hours before our flight back to London’s Heathrow airport, and after quickly clearing customs, we stopped for lunch one of the few restaurants at LAX.

Our waitress was a somewhat heavy, possibly middle aged (hard to tell) Oriental lady with fairly muddled Ringlish.  When my wife ordered an alcoholic drink, the dim wit insisted on an ID.  My wife is 66. At first we thought it was merely a joke or her way of being friendly. But no. She actually insisted on an ID.  There seems to be a thick headed dumb virus going around, because apparently as Martin reports, a market clerk insisted on an ID from a woman of 92.  People are being hired with little regard to their language skills, common sense is lost on them and their well speaking English natives in both our countries.
And then there’s the moronic thick heads at the US Immigration. Oh boy do I have a few things to say. But first ….

(For our American readers and others who may not have seen the term, an OAP is Old Age Pensioner.)

A 92-year-old asked for ID? I need a drink


Diane Taylor, a 92-year-old great-grandmother from Harlow in Essex, went into her local One Stop shop for a bottle of whisky. She was asked for ID. Diane produced an over-60s bus pass, an OAP card and her pacemaker certificate, to no avail. As she did not have a passport or driving licence, her purchase was refused.

‘We are sorry for the inconvenience, but staff are required to ask all customers for ID,’ said a spokesman. He claimed the shop had to enforce a strict policy or risk losing its licence, although there is a simpler explanation.

Some people are just really, really thick.

Unfortunately, they often end up in the service industries most governed by regulations and without the wit to assess a situation on merit (a 92-year-old widow probably won’t have a driving licence, or carry a passport, particularly if she is only nipping out for a bottle of Famous Grouse).
It is beyond them to fathom that an OAP card is also proof a person is over 18, even if the precise date of birth is not displayed. This would take something called common sense. It is an increasingly rare commodity.


And then there is this …. take a look.

Again, from Martin Samuel.

A short while ago, I had the misfortune to attempt to travel from London to Newcastle with British Airways. The helpful staff let me check in and pass through security, without revealing my flight had been seriously delayed, making the journey redundant. My remaining hope was to make a quick turnaround and drive north — but first I had to clear the airport. 

‘You can’t come back through here,’ said security. ‘You have to be escorted out.’ This is how I found myself, with a crowd of similarly stranded people, in front of a useless BAA official who was to be our guide. ‘How long will this take?’ asked a woman. ‘I won’t lie,’ said the useless one, ‘it might be around an hour and a half.’
She said we had to go through immigration. I reminded her, in considerably more measured tones than the situation deserved, that I was a domestic passenger. I wouldn’t have had to go through immigration if I had completed my journey successfully. I didn’t even need a passport to travel. So surely there must be another way for me to exit the airport, without joining the end of a long queue of international travellers?
‘I don’t want confrontation,’ she said. And there our argument stalled. Whatever logic I attempted to inject, she didn’t want confrontation. Not that there was any.
There were just frustrated people looking to get on with their day, with the thick and useless forces of authority in league against them. The rules made no sense, but could not be questioned in any way.
Eventually, I went home. Somewhere, no doubt Diane Taylor got a drop of the hard stuff. Maybe if the world was given its long overdue intelligence upgrade, at 92, she wouldn’t have such need for it.

The wife and I visited home (California) last month. Perhaps for the last time. Nothing’s writ in stone, and I won’t go into the whole thing here but will hold it for another post.  Suffice it to say tho that I think we’ll be looking for a home here in this politically correct lunatic asylum, where at least the civil servants who work for the immigration dept. are actually civil. Imagine that. What a difference between here and the thick headed, miserable, unhelpful stone faced shits at US Immigration at LAX.

Small example of tiny minds at work with lots of authority. And no, this isn’t the reason for my rant above. Just one of things I don’t understand fully perhaps.

Any of you who’ve ever stood in a long line, especially at a busy airport, are familiar with the ropes that form a snake like line and move at a snail’s pace.
Well, due to the fact that my wife upon handing her passport over for inspection, was taken to an interrogation room where I wasn’t allowed, and was the last to be interrogated by the KGB therein, by the time she was through there was hardly a soul left in that terminal.  No kidding.  Like something outta Sci-Fi.
Imagine an empty terminal at LAX. Even the immigration inspection booths were empty. All gone. The only luggage in sight is yours, there’s no noise anymore, no voices or conversation or the rattle of the baggage conveyor. It too is still as a tomb.

So then .... here we are. The very last to leave. Hauling some carry stuff and pushing a baggage trolley we come to the exit part, there’s only one policeman and since there was not a soul to be seen, instead of walking the roped off snake like thingy, I thought it would be quicker to simply go under the rope and straight out.  Made sense to us.  But NO!  Comrade officer Herr Himmler told us to start at the far side and come through as it would normally be done, if there were lines of people there. 

It wasn’t that it took long or was a hardship on us. Of course it wasn’t.  But it just seemed so damn pointless.  Like the officials themselves.
That’s just a minor thing of no great importance.  But there’s so much more that this one last episode at LAX just stands out as another example of the unhelpful, mindless attitude exhibited by these automatons.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 11/04/2011 at 01:31 PM   
Filed Under: • Personal •  
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calendar   Thursday - November 03, 2011



Nah nah nah. Vindaloo!
Nah nah nah. Vindaloo!
Vindaloo vindaloo nah nah.
Vindaloo, vindaloo!
And we all like vindaloo!
I will be gone for one week not two!


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/03/2011 at 06:52 AM   
Filed Under: • Eye-Candy •  
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calendar   Wednesday - November 02, 2011

Is Pornography Art?

A turnabout from Chris’ post the other day.

Dude, You Are Pedobear

“Artist", 46, creates bronze nude 3 legged handi-sculpture of Justin Beiber and Selena Gomez conjoined full torso


Such artistic skill: he looks like ET, she looks constipated

Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez have joined the rarified company of Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Oprah Winfrey by having their life-sized nude form cast in bronze by Connecticut-based artist Daniel Edwards.

“They’re pretty inspiring,” Edwards, 46, tells of his teen subjects. “They’re a beautiful young couple, and (Bieber) seems to have a lot to say politically. Being my age, he’s not exactly on my radar, but when he starts talking politically, I feel good about his future.”

Bieber previously called the American health care system “evil,” telling Rolling Stone, “Canada’s the best country in the world. We go to the doctor and we don’t need to worry about paying him, but here, your whole life, you’re broke because of medical bills.”

Wow, OMG, like, that’s so totally deep. Especially coming from a dweeb kid with tens of millions in the bank before he even has a driver’s license. Like, he’s so politically astute and all.  (more pics and story at the link)

The sculpture, entitled “Justin and Selena as One” features the couple conjoined at the torso, with a Canadian maple leaf and the Texas Lone Star covering their naughty bits.

In front of the couple, a Canada goose, wings in full display, mounts a Texas armadillo.


just in case his point wasn’t blunt enough, he puts this in to make sure you get it


No, it taint art. It’s pedoporn.

Wonder how long this couple will last, now that some 20 year old skank is setting herself up for statutory rape charges claiming that she had a 30 second backstage tryst with Justin when he was 16 and now has his baby?

The whole world is going to Hell. I’m going to the Bahamas.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/02/2011 at 05:18 PM   
Filed Under: • Art-PhotographyHollywood •  
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long ago and very far away …. a bit of personal history

Yeah, that’s me with hair and carrying about 50lbs or more less weight. Gee, I do miss the hair.

This photo had been lost to me for a number of years and has resurfaced within the last month.  It was among other things being stored in California.

Some time ago I wrote about this pix and what it represented. Well, a thousand words and no surprise, is no substitute for this one picture.

You must understand firstly that I regarded KFI as a kind of religion, and the building was my church.  I loved KFI and still do but over time I think what I loved most and worshipped so much, was the history and what the station once stood for and the many very talented people who lived behind the microphones, in the booths and earlier on the old broadcast stage itself.  For me personally, being at KFI was living the American dream.

See that glass dome?  Underneath sits the transmitter built by Earl C. Anthony, that’s part of his portrait on the wall behind me.  He built that on his mother’s breadboard.
I don’t think it broadcast very far, but by the time I got there around 1968 or 69, it was known as the Pacific Powerhouse.  50,000 watts of clear channel power.
Mr. Anthony not only owned KFI, in the day he was the Packard Auto distributor for So. Calif.  Which is how he got the money I suppose, to start KFI.  It wasn’t my job but I was forever making sure there wasn’t any dust or fingerprints (even mine after this shot) on that dome.  It was in the lobby (where I hope it remains today) on public display.  Every time I noticed someone looking at it or reading the info on display, when they left I’d quickly run over to it and wipe it down. 

BTW …. KFI had a jingle package that was without any doubt the best and most musical and most beautiful that any station anywhere ever had.  And I’m not saying that just cause it happens to be true.  I have the series on an old reel to reel stored someplace between Nashville and Calif.  Would love to get my hands on it again and convert it to play here, just to prove it. 

At one time, when the radio’s theater was in use, some of the best known and loved talent of both screen and radio graced that small radio stage. Another age altogether. One of glamour and some grace and lots of magic.
I miss all that.

I didn’t beg my wife to marry me, but I think I begged to have our wedding in the old KFI theater.  She didn’t care for that idea at all.  I never understood why.

We got married here instead. In San Marino, Calif. on July 15, 1970.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 11/02/2011 at 12:32 PM   
Filed Under: • Personal •  
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Time To Sanitize The Gene Pool

Philanthropist Lady Nearly Killed By Falling Cart

Laughing 12 year old thugs dropped it 4 stories onto her head

The wealthy Manhattan real-estate agent who was hit by a shopping cart that police say was dropped four stories by two 12-year-olds as she was buying Halloween candy for underprivileged children will “in the best of cases” be in rehabilitation for months, her husband told the New York Post.

Marion Salmon Hedges has been in a medically-induced coma after she was struck in the head by the falling cart on Sunday while walking outside a Target store with her 13-year-old son in East Harlem, the paper reported.

“It’s still too early to tell with neurological issues,” he told the newspaper. “Every year on Halloween, 1,000 kids come to our block from less-privileged neighborhoods and we spend $500 to $600 on candy for them and that’s what she was doing—buying candy for those kids to do something nice for the community.”

The two young suspects were telling jokes and laughing with each other after they were taken into custody, police sources told the newspaper.

“They were just doing it for fun,” one law enforcement source said of the alleged crime.

The suspects were reportedly charged in Family Court with assault as juveniles.

The victim’s father-in-law, Michael Hedges, said prosecutors should “throw the book” at the two boys.

Hedges, a 47-year-old mother of two, works for Prudential Douglas Elliman. The New York Daily News reports that she is a volunteer at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center and also very active in her church.

The pint-sized perps were smiling, telling jokes and laughing with each other after they were taken into custody, police sources told The Post. At one point, suspect Raymond Hernandez of Harlem started crying like a baby — but clearly only because he got caught, not because he felt any remorse for leaving the victim near death, the sources added.

“They were just doing it for fun,’’ one source said of the horrendous cart-pushing stunt late Sunday afternoon outside the Costco on East 116h Street in Manhattan.

The boys had been part of a group of hooligans tossing Slushees over the 3¹/2-foot high railing of a parking-level walkway outside Target earlier in the day, cops said. Hernandez and pal Jeovanni Rosario, also of Harlem, then allegedly moved on to shoving carts. The pair slammed one cart, and it got stuck on the railing, law-enforcement sources said.

A 14-year-old buddy urged the duo to give it up, but Hernandez was so determined to make sure it went over the edge that he allegedly pushed it again, and it went crashing down onto the 47-year-old mom-of-two as she stood at a kiosk to pay for parking outside Costco with her son, Dayton, the sources said.
They were nabbed after their friend told authorities what happened and police went building to building in their neighborhood looking for them.
The two young suspects were charged in Family Court with assault as juveniles. Friends of both boys’ families insisted they’re “good kids.”

“Good kids” my bunghole. Thug scum is more like it.

They were wild 12-year-olds from the projects perched four stories above her on an unguarded walkway, horsing around with a shopping cart. At about 5:40 p.m. Sunday, police said the boys suddenly hurled the cart over the railing — they later told cops they were unaware that Marion Salmon Hedges was in its path. [yeah right]
Over at the Washington Houses, there was sadness — but not much surprise — that one of the boys identified in court papers as Jeovanni R. was implicated in the cart attack.

“That boy is the baddest boy in the building,” said his former babysitter, who asked not to be named. “His mom used to say, ‘He’s gonna be my problem, that kid right there.’”

Neighbors said Jeovanni’s mom, Rosemary, used to make ends meet selling homemade food from a cart and now works nights. His stepdad is a bicycle messenger who was recently busted for selling drugs to a narc, they said. Neither was home when a reporter knocked at their door.

“There is screaming a lot” at the family home, a neighbor said. “Screaming and arguing.”
Jeovanni’s alleged accomplice was identified as Raymond H. He lives at the Clinton Houses.

“I know what he’s accused of,” a woman at the family home said through the door. Asked if Raymond was guilty, she answered, “He is not.”

“I don’t think he’d intentionally try to hurt anybody,” added neighbor Tyrone Thomas, 26, a security guard who described the suspect as a polite kid. It was probably a stupid dare, a little kid prank, he said.

But other neighbors said Raymond was a terror.

“He s always outside”, said one who declined to give her name. “Truthfully, he s a bad ass kid. He’s very disrespectful. He’s got a bad mouth for a kid 12-years old.”

Absolutely typical: my boy is an angel, he dint do nuttin!  But even in a community known for closing ranks against the police and the press and lying like hell, these charming young urchins were thug enough to elicit some stark remarks. Makes you wonder just how awful they really are.

Meanwhile Mrs. Hedges barely clings to life, and if she lives she might wind up a vegetable. Some thanks for trying to give back and help out, huh?

imageimage Now everyone stand in a circle, hold hands, sing Kumbayah, and blame the designers of the parking garage for not installing mil-spec tear-proof fencing over the openings, then blame the greedy Target corporation for not having an extra 1,000 security guards on site 24-7, and for not foreseeing such a thing and buying shopping carts made from Nerf foam. We certainly must agree that in no way shape or form can we ever hold these poor underprivileged children responsible for their own actions. Why, they had no idea of what they did AT ALL, which is why they thought is was still so funny hours later that they’d nearly killed a woman ( you KNOW they watched the cart fall and saw it hit her ). Why my goodness, we should also blame violent cartoons and video games for their attitude. And the TV show Jackass. And blame Bush, of course!

Like hell. Flog them bloody then set the little fuckers on fire in public and let them burn to death. Then throw the parents (if you can find them) in jail for a decade.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/02/2011 at 09:52 AM   
Filed Under: • CrimeCULTURE IN DECLINE •  
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clicky piccy.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/02/2011 at 08:41 AM   
Filed Under: • Eye-Candy •  
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calendar   Tuesday - November 01, 2011

Pre-Flight Jitters? Who me?

YIKES. Polish 767 flies out of Newark airport, flies to Poland, forgets the wheels, lands anyway. Video at the link! Everyone is fine.

And I don’t even want to think about this one.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/01/2011 at 03:31 PM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
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Reparations Passes

40 Acres and a Mule? Nah, just gimme $50,000 cash money

Pigford II gets the green light; $1.25 Billion to be paid out to 68,000 black “farmers” who missed out on the $1 Billion Pigford I windfall a decade ago

This is such blatant racist bullshit I can’t see straight. This is the scam of a lifetime. There aren’t 68,000 black farmers in America and there never were. Certainly not in the late 20th century. And now it’s going to be free money, uncontested to any who claim that they at least attempted to be farmers but gave up because they got discouraged because USDA was rumored to not be giving farm loans to black people. And all of this is the direct doing of a certain Senator from Illinois, one Barack Hussein Obama.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has approved the Pigford II settlement. U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says this approval is another important step to ensure some level of justice for black farmers and ranchers who faced discrimination when trying to obtain services from USDA. According to Attorney General Eric Holder - the settlement allows USDA and African-American farmers to focus on the future - and brings these farmers one step closer to having their claims heard. The bill approved by the House and Senate included strong protections against waste, fraud and abuse to ensure the integrity of the claims process.

Oh horseshit. There is no government program that isn’t chock full of waste, fraud, and abuse. It’s going to be a madhouse, and the rules will be bent so fast and so far you’d think they were made from rubber bands.

President Obama said in a statement that the settlement “is another important step forward in addressing an unfortunate chapter in USDA’s civil rights history. This agreement will provide overdue relief and justice to African-American farmers and bring us closer to the ideals of freedom and equality that this country was founded on.”

The implementation of the settlement to redress racial bias against black farmers comes during the term of the nation’s first African-American president, a point not lost during Friday’s White House briefing with reporters.

[regarding Pigford I from 1990] “The farmers didn’t think anything would come of it. They had been disappointed over the years by the government,” Friedman said, “yet 16,000 of them collected something like $1.1 billion in that case.”

Word spread that the government was willing to pay reparations, but other farmers who had valid claims of bias had missed the deadline to file. Friedman said Congress and the president then extended the statute of limitations “to get these disappointed people back in the case.”

Boyd said the problem now is making sure farmers who became “late filers” are now aware the settlement is ready to go.

“Some of these guys were in their 60s and maybe by now have passed away,” Boyd said. “Their family needs to know that if Daddy filed, they can still pursue his claim.”

Many thousands of claimants from the first go-round were thrown out because their applications were obviously fraudulent. Actually, most of the applications were fraudulent. Look it up; it’s all online. Now all some younger person will have to do is show up, claim that daddy made a claim, and that the government lost it due to racist behavior or some such crap, and they’ll get a Track A check for 50 large. Any real farmers will real claims will take Track B, which could net them payments of up to a quarter million dollars. Or more!

The settlement is the second one reached with black farmers led by Timothy Pigford, who filed a class-action suit in 1997 alleging racial discrimination in farm loan programs. According to the suit, beginning 1981 through 1996, USDA officials rejected loan applications from black farmers or approved loans with unfair terms.

The government paid out $1 billion in 1999 to thousands of farmers but thousands more were left out because they filed late claims.

Last year, the USDA reached a $1.25 billion agreement with farmers excluded from the first settlement. Congress had appropriated $100 million for the Pigford II case in 2008 through a farm bill, leaving $1.15 billion that still required approval.

Republicans led by Reps. Michelle Bachman (R-MN) and Steve King (R-IA) had withheld their support for the second settlement, citing fraudulent claims despite what agriculture officials said were strong protections against abuse.

Friedman, who also approved the first Pigford payment, said in his order there was minimal objection to the second settlement, which includes payouts and loan forgiveness for farmers who file valid claims.

And where do you think the money is coming from? Why, it’s coming from the Food Stamp funds, now that those rolls have more than doubled under Obama. Andrew Breitbart explains:

…Vilsack said in the interview he is reluctant to cut the food stamp program, saying that its budget authority already was reduced to pay for teacher salaries and to make settlements for farmers who had sued USDA for discrimination in the Pigford II case.

America’s poor are suffering to pay for Pigford fraud. Your government at work.

But it’s a proud, proud moment at the White House for the Proud family -

“Since my first day at USDA, I made it a priority to treat all Americans with respect and dignity and to ensure equal access to our programs. Court approval of the Pigford settlement is another important step to ensure some level of justice for black farmers and ranchers who faced discrimination when trying to obtain services from USDA,” said Secretary Vilsack. “President Obama, Attorney General Holder and I are thrilled by the court’s approval so we can continue turning the page on this sad chapter in USDA history.

Don’t let any facts get in the way, you could get hurt:

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstracts for the United States indicate that in the period from 1981 through 1996, in which the alleged discrimination took place, the number of black farmers in the United States peaked at 33,000 in 1982. But the 15,640 people who actually received compensation under Pigford combined with the 73,800 who applied for compensation after the deadline represent a total of 89,440 potential claims.

Back on Oct. 14, 1999, John W. Boyd Jr., who is president of the National Black Farmers Association, presented written testimony to the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry, in which he said that at the end of the millennium “there will be less than 18,000 black farmers” in the United States.

Another advocate Gary R. Grant, president of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association, said in a prepared statement at the same subcommittee hearing: “In 1920, 925,000 farmers (14 percent) were black. Today, there are less than 17,000 depending upon the USDA definition of ‘farmer,’ but I assure you the number is far less.”

Protection against fraud, abuse, and waste my arse. “far less” than 17,000 farmers, and Pigford I paid 15,640 of them. As if EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM had been screwed over by USDA. Right. Sure. But that fraud is in the past now, though it sounds to me like perhaps a couple hundred missed the filing deadline back then, yet somehow that number is now more than 68,000. In other words, it’s nearly complete fraud. The real farmers were compensated more than two decades ago.

PS - the 40 acres and a mule was never an actual promise from the government, or even from a general or a magistrate running one of the occupied areas in 1865. It was the policy of General Sherman “as he was marching through Georgia” to get local slaves to cooperate. More than 10,000 of them were given land in the coastal lowlands, but when the war was over and Lincoln was assassinated, the new President Andrew Johnson (a pro-slavery Democrat) kicked them all out and gave the land back to the earlier white owners.
Naturally, in the “blame Bush” inside-out way of the world, ”40 acres and a mule” has come to symbolize the failure of Reconstruction, which wasn’t a failure at all initially, and didn’t happen for several years after this to begin with.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/01/2011 at 01:37 PM   
Filed Under: • Democrats-Liberals-Moonbat LeftistsCorruption and GreedObama, The One •  
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Digging In To Local History

The Phoenix Column

An almost forgotten piece of the early Industrial Revolution

Drew drives around the corner to a window job and discovers a bit of history. It started with bridges but ended with improved artillery.

I took my favorite back road to a customer’s house the other day to give them a window bid. I didn’t get the job, but only because they wanted the work done right now and I’m going on vacation. So I hang a left in Cherryville and go down Hogback Road across the farm fields, into the trees and under the railway bridge that runs along the ridge, and come out in a little trout park in a sudden “middle of nowhere”. My county is like that; you’re on a major highway, you get off onto a main local road, you take two side streets and go half a mile and it’s like you’ve suddenly jumped to the Ozarks and gone back 50 years in time.

So I come through the underpass and there’s one of those “one lane bridge ahead” signs, and I find myself on yet another Victorian fairy bridge that I never knew was there. I call them fairy bridges, because as bridges go, these seem to be hardly more than iron versions of a few jungle vines. Another bridge that hardly deserves the name, compared to the fairly massive contstructs of reinforced structural concrete and massive steel I-beams that modern short bridges are. I couldn’t stop then, but after I did the estimate I parked there and gave the place a good look. I wish I had my camera with me, but hey, the internet provides:


the Lower Landsdowne Rd bridge. Photo courtesy of

I thought at first that this was another one of Lowthorp’s wonders like the one here in Clinton, one of those combination cast iron and wrought iron creations from the 1870s that dot our landscape; I wrote about them a couple weeks ago. But a minute’s examination told me different. Sure, it was another one of those pinned Pratt truss creatures, a through truss this time instead of a pony truss, but the pieces were seriously different. This bridge was made out of round sections like Lowthorp’s creations, but they were flanged and covered with rivets. The eyebars were square sectioned and had a hand hammered look, and I didn’t see the famous adjusting mechanisms where the chords and uprights came together. Ok, the builder’s plaque was different too, but that didn’t mean much as little bridges were often jobbed out to subcontractors. Time for some internet research.

The skewed 5-panel pin-connected 1885 Pratt thru truss bridge is supported on random ashlar abutments and has Phoenix columns for the compression members. The Phoenix section members are joined by compression fittings into cast iron nodes at the panel points. Shop marks and numbers are cast into all parts. The well-preserved bridge, one of the earliest known examples of Dean & Westbrook of NYC, is historically and technologically significant. It is the only skewed Phoenix section span in NJ.
A peculiar feature of this bridge is the manner in which the skew of the abutments was accommodated within the truss framing. All floor beams are perpendicular to the bridge centerline with the unequal panel length due to the skew taken up in the end panels. On this bridge the incline of the portals were kept parallel and the end panel of the top chords are of unequal length. This arrangement causes the top chord pins at the end panel points only to be offset from the bottom chord pins so that the end panel hangers are inclined.
What distinguishes this cast- and wrought-iron example is the use of Phoenix section columns and cast nodes for connection of the Phoenix-section elements and the way the skew of the abutments was accommodated within the truss framing. Its historical significance is increased by the fact that it is a documented example of the work of New York City-based fabricator Dean & Westbrook, a firm that took over the erection of highway bridges through a contractual arrangement with the Phoenix Bridge Company of Phoenixville, PA. Dean & Westbrook built highway bridges with Phoenix columns until 1896. The Lower Lansdowne Road bridge is one of about ten bridges in New Jersey that are built with Phoenix sections between 1878 and 1895.
Correspondence in the Phoenix Iron Company records preserved at the Hagley Museum and Library reveals that when this bridge was ordered, the wrong skew connecting pieces were shipped to the site. The error was not discovered until the bridge was being erected. The correct connecting pieces had to be ordered from Phoenixville.

Score! is a fantastic web site. But what the heck are Phoenix columns? I’m thinking some kind of odd construction method that pulled the iron up from the fire and ashes, or used recycled metal and gave it a rebirth or something, but as usual my fanciful conjectures are far too romantic. This is a Phoenix column:


It’s a wrought iron column made from 4, 6, or 8 pieces, heavily flanged, and tightly riveted together. They were invented by Samuel Reeves in 1862 and were made by the Phoenix Iron Company that he was a co-owner of. A phoenix column is at least as strong as a cast iron column of the full flange diameter, considerably stiffer, and much easier and less expensive to produce. Back in the day when the steel I-beam wasn’t yet available, and the iron I-beam wasn’t quite yet universal, Phoenix columns were used to make tall buildings, towers, and bridges. The Phoenix Iron Company in Phoenixville PA (28 mile NW of Philly) made a fortune making these things, and even had their own bridge building subsidiary company for a number of years. Eventually the Phoenix Column was bypassed by history, due both to the emergence of good steel and by the difficulty other builders had integrating the things with standard iron works. You had to use the cast iron end cap that was only made by the Phoenix Iron Company, and that added too much cost. I-beams were easier.

So almost all the upper parts of this little bridge were made from Phoenix Columns, and they are quite tiny. I doubt if any of them is more than 8” across, and about a third of that span is taken up by the flanges. Like I said, fairy bridges. They’re so thin and light they’re almost difficult to see. Neato!

Even more neato: Looking a bit into the Phoenix Bridge Company and the Phoenix Iron Company, I found that these bridges were built out of common pieces, boxed up, and sold by mail order. Bridge in a Box, some assembly required. That explains the “wrong skew connecting pieces” line in the quote above. You could order your bridge plain or fancy and in various lengths. The one in this picture, near the old factory in Phoenixville PA, is nearly identical to the bridge I saw on Landsdowne Road. It’s just a little longer and made from the next size up 4 part columns, and you can see how the through sections across the top were later replaced with plain square or L section metal. Another one is here, a fancy model with all the trimmings, but it’s still right out of the catalog. The IKEA solution to infrastructure development.

So how did the Phoenix Iron Company get so good at cranking out curved bits of iron, when everyone else was making T, H, and I section beams (and railroad track)? They had lots and lots of experience at bending sheet iron into curves. It turns out that the PIC had another aspect to their company. Sure, they made train tracks and railroad spikes too, but they were also a part of the early military industrial complex. Prior to the Civil War they made Dahlgreen guns for the Navy, lumbering fat assed cannons made in moulds from cast iron. Casting cannons is a difficult task, and even if you do it properly they take a week to cool off and often have weak spots in them. Enter John Griffen, an engineer working for the company. He came up with the bright idea that the guns could be made in layers, almost like Damascus steel. Griffen patented the idea of making cannons by hammer welding criss-crossed iron straps together over a mandrel, and then carving and boring the guns to shape with a lathe. He modestly called it the Griffen Gun, but the Army knew it as the 10 pound Ordnance Rifle. And they bought at least 1000 of them, at $350 each. And those were 1862 dollars, thank you.


Two 10 pound rifles: 3” bore Griffen Gun left, 3” bore Parrot Rifle right

The Griffen Gun weighed about 100 pounds less than the Parrot Rifle, making it easier to maneuver. Both could use a full pound of coarse blackpowder to shoot a 10 pound shell over a mile with accuracy in a flat arc. Visit just about any Civil War battlefield and you’ll see them: the short cannons with the ridges, belled muzzles, and fancy embellishments are 12 pounder Napoleons, either in iron (Union) or bronze (CSA); the smooth sided, industrial looking guns are Griffens, and the long barreled guns with the extra sheet of iron wrapped around the breech end are Parrots. Parrot guns were made from cast iron, and had the wrought iron sleeve added later. They needed it, because it kept the gun from exploding. Cast iron is the wrong stuff for guns. The Griffen did not explode, period. It was much stronger than the Parrot, and preferred by artillerymen on both side of that conflict. You can spot the Griffens easily, even though the South had their own copy cat version. All of them have PIC engraved on the bang end.


So there you go. I dig into local bridge history and come up with robust artillery. Love it.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/01/2011 at 07:36 AM   
Filed Under: • ArchitectureDaily LifeHistory •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


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