Sarah Palin's enemies are automatically added to the Endangered Species List.

calendar   Monday - April 15, 2013

The Left Just Doesn’t Learn

Gadsden flag, called Tea Party symbol, removed from New York military armory


The city of New Rochelle, N.Y., has removed the historic Gadsden “Don’t Tread On Me” flag from a military armory, deeming the flag “too partisan” because it often is used by the tea party movement.

And in response, veterans groups have tapped the Thomas More Law Center to take up the fight.

It was after an official ceremony on March 21 at the New Rochelle Armory that a new American flag was unfurled to replace the previous weathered flag that flew at the location. Beneath the new American flag, the yellow Gadsden Flag was flown, as is common tradition on many military sites.

However, within a week of the ceremony, City Manager Chuck Strome ordered the Gadsden flag be taken down because of “unidentified complaints” that the flag was a symbol of the tea party movement.

Peter Parente, president of the United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Association of New Rochelle, sent Strome links to the history of the flag so he decided to allow it to remain.

Visit the “Don’t Tread on Me’ section of the WND Superstore, where you can find caps, flags, blankets and shirts – all with the famous slogan.

But the city council then stepped in, voting 5-2 to order the flag to be removed.

The five members who voted to uphold its removal were Democrats, while the two voting to reinstate the flag were Republicans.

That same day, the public works department removed the flag.

Now the flag fight is headed to court.

“Their outrageous decision to confiscate a cherished symbol of our War for Independence smacks of pure partisan politics,” Richard Thompson, chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, stated.

“Many Americans fought and died for our independence under that flag, and the law center will take available means to return the Gadsden flag back on the veterans’ flag pole. As one Revolutionary War hero said, we ‘have just begun to fight,’” he added.

That would be John Paul Jones, for all you who slept through history class. Or went to government schools, where military heroes are ignored so that history lesson time can better focus on how the blood thirsty barbaric Native Americans were abused by Evil White People.

According to the U.S. Navy website, beginning Sept. 11, 2002, all U.S. Navy ships have flown the First Navy Jack flag. The flag, first used by the Continental Navy in 1775, consists of a rattlesnake superimposed across 13 alternating red and white stripes with the motto, “Don’t Tread On Me.”

According to the site, Commodore Esek Hopkins used the First Navy Jack as a signal to engage the British in the American Revolution. The Jack in today’s fleet represents a historic reminder of the nation’s origin.

Over a half a century ago, New Rochelle chartered the veterans society, known as the UVMPA, to formally conduct veterans services, which include caring for memorials and monuments and upkeep and maintenance of armory flags throughout the city.

In the past, the city council has never sought to intervene in any aspect of the how the UVMPA fulfills its responsibilities. The Thomas More Law Center is confident it will be victorious in representing the interests of the veterans group.

The yellow Gadsden flag featuring a coiled snake and the phrase, “Don’t Tread On Me” is steeped in U.S. history dating back to its founding. It has been used by Marines and the Navy since 1775 and is often flown at Marine Corp bases and on Navy warships.

The New Rochelle armory was at one time a New York State Naval Militia Armory and training facility for both Navy and Marines.

“Those who don’t study history are condemned to be Democrats?” Did these total idiots think the Tea Party people just invented that flag ... (ahem) out of whole cloth??  rolleyes  rolleyes


An illustration missing from today’s schoolbooks on American History (link)

The Gadsden Flag uses the same rattlesnake metaphor as the “Snake On Stripes” flag; the two designs are essentially interchangeable. The US Navy has been flying the “Fake Snake” (there are historical doubts about it’s use during the Revolution) since 1975. The coiled rattler on a yellow background has been a symbol used by the US Marines since the very beginning.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/15/2013 at 09:04 AM   
Filed Under: • Democrats-Liberals-Moonbat LeftistsHistoryMilitary •  
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calendar   Wednesday - March 27, 2013

history in the news and (we hope) the remains of Alfred the Great could be found. ??

We are Soooooo close, an hour or so.  I think.  But under the present circumstances, so damn far away.  We’d both like to see this exhibit but alas,
well, thank goodness for the net. And newspapers.

Take a look at this.

The day the sky fell in on Sin City: Exhibition captures the moment entire families were burnt alive in Pompeii… but it also reveals how utterly depraved the Romans were

Relics from ancient Pompeii are going on display at the British Museum
The exhibition features 450 pieces, some never seen outside Italy
It will feature at the museum from Thursday until September 29

By David Leafe

The ‘parental guidance’ sign is small, discreet and in the unlikeliest of venues — not the foyer of a cinema, or a shop selling CDs by foul-mouthed rappers, but in the august splendour of the British Museum.

It’s next to a marble statue of a couple making love. Awkward enough to explain to young visitors, you might think.

But that’s only the half of it.

Closer inspection of this artwork reveals a human-like male in sexual congress with what is indisputably a nanny goat.



Well .... a bit closer to home and only 15 minutes by bus at the end of our street on the number 7 bus (stagecoach) into town, a bit of serious history closer to home.  King Alfred’s possible remains. Some call him England’s first king although he was not. But he was a major figure in the history of this place.


Alfred is the only English monarch to be known as ‘the Great’ and was the first to consider himself King of the Anglo-Saxons.

Although he is often portrayed as a great warrior in statues around Winchester and Wantage, he was not physically strong and is believed to have suffered poor health for most of his life.

One of the legends surrounding the king was that, while fleeing from Danish aggressors, he hid in the home of a woman who did not recognise him.

She asked him to look over her cakes that were baking in the oven but, troubled by his kingdom’s problems, he absent-mindedly allowed them to burn.

Alfred was born in 849 and died on October 26, 899. He had been King of Wessex from 871 until his death. It is not known how he died.

He was originally buried temporarily in the Old Minster in Winchester, then moved to the New Minster.

In 1110 Alfred’s body was transferred to Hyde Abbey. Soon after the dissolution of the abbey in 1539, during the reign of Henry VIII, the church was demolished, but the graves were left intact.

The royal graves and many others were rediscovered by chance in 1788 when a prison was being constructed on the site. No confirmed remains of Alfred have subsequently been found.

This statue of the great king stands at the bottom of our high street in Winchester.


Have we now found Alfred the Great? Archaeologists exhume unmarked grave in what could be one of the most significant finds ever

Removed from St Bartholomew’s Church in Winchester, on church orders
Archaeologists carried out the exhumation of the unmarked grave
Removal to undisclosed location came amid fears they would be stolen

By Tamara Cohen

t couldbe the year for discovering notorious monarchs.

Just weeks after remains found under a car park were confirmed as Richard III, archaeologists now believe they may just have stumbled on Alfred the Great.

Amid great secrecy, a team exhumed an unmarked grave at a more fitting location for a Royal burial - a churchyard in Winchester named in ancient documents as his burial place.

After a delicate 10-hour operation on Monday, human skeletal remains were unearthed in the churchyard of St Bartholomew’s in the Hyde area of the city, and taken for storage at an undisclosed location.

Unearthing Alfred the Great, the Anglo-Saxon king who fought off the Vikings and established the foundations of our law codes and justice system, would be one of the most significant finds ever.

Historians agree that the king, who died in the year 899 after a distinguished 28-year reign, had a great impact on Britain today, safeguarding the English language and Christian religion.

But archaelogists admit discovering him would be a very long shot, as unlike Richard III who remained under the same car park for five hundred years, Alfred’s bones were moved at least twice.

Earlier this year, Katie Tucker, an archaeologist from the University of Winchester leading the search admitted it would be difficult to prove any remains are his - but hoped her team could prove the age of the bones.

She said: ‘If the bones are from around the 10th century then that is proof they are Alfred and his family, because Hyde Abbey was not built until the 12th Century, and there is no reason for any other bones from the 10th Century to be there.’

It is not known how Alfred the Great died, but he was buried in the Old Minster, the Anglo-Saxon cathedral in Winchester.

read more


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 03/27/2013 at 12:15 PM   
Filed Under: • Archeology / AnthropologyHistoryUK •  
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calendar   Friday - March 22, 2013

TV Is Tacky. Yeah, So?

Not sure how to respond to this one ...

‘Amazing Race’ episode set in Hanoi sparks outrage over use of B-52 as prop, communist song

The popular CBS reality show “The Amazing Race” is under fire for featuring an episode set in Hanoi, Vietnam, where contestants go to a B-52 Memorial, which is the wreckage of an American bomber plane shot down during the Vietnam War, to find the next clue in their televised round-the-world journey.

In the episode, the twisted metal of the downed plane is treated as any other prop, with a bright ‘Amazing Race’ ‘Double-U-Turn’ signed planted in front of it, signifying to contestants the next phase of their scavenger hunt.

The show also had contestants learn a song that was performed for them by children in front of a portrait of North Vietnam communist leader Ho Chi Minh, with subtitled lyrics that included “Vietnam Communist Party is glorious. The light is guiding us to victory.”

“It’s like One Direction,” one contestant said of the performance, referring to the popular boy band.

“How did it not cross the producers’ minds that this might offend the men who fought in Vietnam and the families of those who died there?” Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld said on his late night show “Red Eye.”

Fox News contributor Bob Beckel agreed later on the news program “The Five.”

“I’m so outraged by this I can’t believe it. CBS is idiotic; they’re stupid,” Beckel said. “To have people go to a memorial where Americans died, then you ought to get off the network.”

Well Bob, perhaps I disagree with you on this too, along with everything else you say. We once were at war with this country, the North part in those days, and we did bomb the daylights out of the place. And while we lost bombers, they lost probably a thousand times more people. So I’m not terribly surprised that such a memorial exists. Granted, a chunk of wreckage in the middle of the street is a tad tacky. A bit on the raw side as memorials go, even for cost-conscious commies. But in another way, it’s extremely real; here’s a chunk of enemy aircraft that maybe fell to earth right on this spot. 40 years after the war you try and see both sides. But yeah, using it as a waypoint for the racers may not have been the smartest idea, IF they didn’t pause for a few seconds to comment on what was in front of them. That war was long over by the time any of them were even born. I’m sure there was some other statue, park, or architecturally unique building that would have worked just as well.

And learning to sing a song in the difficult local language sounds like a decent little challenge. Too bad that the network allowed themselves to be played by the local political commissars. If we wanted to hear songs praising Uncle Ho, we’d listen to Jane Fonda.

So half up, half down IMO. Could’ve been done better, sure could’ve been done worse. But outrage? Not really. Or am I seeing this entirely wrong? Opine away; it’s what the comments are for!

Video at the above link.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/22/2013 at 11:19 AM   
Filed Under: • HistoryTelevisionTURD WORLDWar-Stories •  
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calendar   Thursday - March 21, 2013

Sir Francis Drake

Worth £500 at the time, it is now on the market for £1.25m, with a Lordship thrown in. Listed in the Domesday Book, the house in Sampford Sampfo Spiney, Devon, is thought to date back to 1028. In the 12th century it belonged to Gerard Ge de Spine to, Lord of Sampford, for whose family lived there for so long the parish was renamed Sampford Spiney, rather than just Sampford.
It was in 1581 – seven s years before the Spanish Armada A – that Drake became the owner. Included in the sale is the Lordship of Sampford for Spiney and 202 acres of land. The house has five bedrooms and three reception rooms.


In 1581 Sir Francis Drake won this gorgeous Dartmoor mansion in a £500 bet. Now, for £1.25m, it could be yours (and there’s even a Lordship thrown in)

· Sampford Manor on edge of Dartmoor thought to date back to 800s
· Was once historic seat of the Lord of Sampford, Gerard de Spineto
· His descendants had to give deeds to Drake after losing £500 wager
· Current owners bought the house as a derelict shell 25 years ago
· But have worked with English Heritage to rebuild and refurbish it

By Simon Tomlinson

‘Nobody can quite say exactly when the house was built. It was first recorded in 1028 but we think it could have been build as far back as the 800s.

‘It was certainly well-established by the time of the Doomsday Book in 1086 when people were bringing their tithes here.

‘It was rebuilt and extended in the early 17th century after it fell into his disrepair after Drake’s death.

‘Inside the house we have the biggest bread oven you’ll ever see, they would have baked bread here for the whole of the village.

‘When I arrived there were stories of judges robes being found under the staircase and the kitchen was called the courtroom. It would have been the civic centre of the parish.

Having some super serious and maddening problems with the browser I’m using, so good place to end anyway.
See link for more and some photos as well.

Trying Safari and think I’ll uninstall the damn thing.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 03/21/2013 at 07:03 AM   
Filed Under: • ArchitectureHistoryUK •  
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calendar   Friday - February 08, 2013

Found It

I drive through Flemington NJ a couple of times every week. Up at the end of downtown, a couple blocks past the famous old courthouse, is the town’s little war memorial park. It’s on a little triangular island of land where three or four roads come together, right in front of the Presbyterian church. Like so many of them do, ours started out as a memorial to those who served in the Civil War but has had inscriptions added for each of the conflicts since. So it has a nice statue on a fancy plinth, a little walk around reflecting area, a flagpole, and of course an old cannon, pointing straight down Main Street. I don’t think anyone actually goes into the park to visit because it’s in the middle of a busy intersection, but we all see it all the time.

And for years I’ve been driving past it, and looking at that strange old cannon, and wondering what it was and when it was from. I’m no master of historic artillery, but I can tell the 1770s guns from the 1860s guns, and I can tell the difference between a naval gun, a coastal piece, and a field piece. (Ok, I also know a bit about Armstrong, Whitworth, Parrot, Borgard, Buffington, and the burst-proof laminated iron guns made by the good old Phoenix Iron Company who later used the same technology to make all those gorgeous little bridges around my county.) But this one always looked strange to me because it has an iron frame and what look like spring loaded hanging hooks sticking up above the carriage. It’s always been in the back of my mind to visit that little park one day, and see if I can’t read some maker’s data on the gun. But that never seemed to happen, and late last night I realized I really didn’t need to: I’ve got the whole world right here on my keyboard. Besides, my camera is still hiding in some box in the garage from when we moved, and it’s cold out. And snowing!! So start searching Drew.

Guns on Main Street. Click for a huge picture.

Ok, what do I know? I know the carriage is made of metal, steel or iron, not wood, so this is probably post-Civil War design. So I started trying to Google up “cannon” and “field piece” with various dates. I also knew that by 1915 the US was using fully modern artillery, so my time range was 1870-1900. And I looked and I looked, and found everything under the sun except what I wanted. So it was back to square one. Hmmph. Ok, where is this thing? It’s in a park in Flemington. Fine, let’s Google “Flemington park cannon” ... and that started me in the right direction. It turns out that there are tons of little web pages made by folks who have a hobby called geo caching, where they go somewhere interesting, take down the coordinates on their GPS, then publish that location with some bit of a clue or a few pictures for others to go and take a look. And those that do, write comments on that page and a big discussion ensues. So I found one of those, and it lead me realize, DUH, that in this simplified age, the little park would be called a Soldier’s Monument instead of a War Memorial. Plug in those words. And ta-da. Mostly. A fellow UTwp resident had made a nice web page on the park, with a good picture of the field piece (I borrowed it above) and the thought that this was a 3” gun from the Spanish-American War. And he was right, mostly. The gun was actually from before the S-A War, had a 3.2” bore, and was technically obsolete when we sent it down there. But hey, so were our rifles and our food and our logistics and our medicine. That little war was the biggest FUBAR of the age. And with a bit more looking, I finally opened the floodgates. Heck, I found the user’s manual. I found the builder’s specs. I found photos of similar ones. And I even found a video of a bunch of 21st Century Americans literally having a blast shooting off real antique cannons which they own, shooting full power loads, with explosive shells. Legally. Was this a great country once or what?

The rest of the story below the fold, because this post will be long. But I’ll put in lots of pictures and data and links so hopefully it won’t be too boring. I hope. The whole post is another one of my “interesting history is all around you, open your eyes and amaze yourself at what you can learn if you try” posts.

See More Below The Fold


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/08/2013 at 08:07 AM   
Filed Under: • HistoryMilitary •  
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calendar   Wednesday - February 06, 2013

Cowardly Revision

Memphis Quickly Changes Parks Named After Civil War Heroes

It never happened! We always hated those guys! Racists!!

The Memphis City Council on Monday voted to change the name of the city’s Confederate Park [and] two other parks that honor notable members of the Confederacy.

...  the council voted 9-0 to pass a resolution renaming Confederate Park and Jefferson Davis Park, located in downtown Memphis and Nathan Bedford Forrest Park, which is located a few miles away. Three council members abstained from voting.

The idea for the resolution to change the name of all three parks emerged Monday morning, after council members learned of a state House bill that would prevent parks named after historical military figures from being renamed.
The resolution changes the name of Confederate Park to Memphis Park; Jefferson Davis Park to Mississippi River Park; and Nathan Bedford Forrest Park to Health Sciences Park.

The name changes upset those who believe the council is trying to change history by downplaying the significance of the Confederacy’s struggle against Union forces. It was applauded by at least one civil rights activist.

Chickenshits. Perhaps a better idea would be to erect a series of Learning Boards in those unrenamed parks, like the ones you see at nature parks showing you what kind of tree you’re standing under and what plant is giving you that rash on your arm. Show both sides of the story. Let people figure things out for themselves. Yes, it’s complicated. So?

Oh wait. Anything that might mention that secession and the rise of the Confederacy was a push back against excess federal powers would be a criticism against Obama and Statism. Can’t have that. Raaaaacist! Raaaaacist!! It was all about slaves!!!

Arrgh. Ok, I’ve got mixed feelings about the whole prelude to that War. 150 years later it’s tough to see it clearly. On the one hand, what was seen as excessive federal powers in those days would merely be a light hearted jest today, but that doesn’t mean they were wrong to object to it. On the other hand, the South had used the threat of secession for years and years as a club to bend things their way. The North finally called their bluff, and a few years later when they finally got serious about fighting, laid down some serious ass-kicking. On the third hand, it’s always going to boil down to slavery, no matter what peripheral “state’s rights” (states don’t have rights, only powers) may have been involved.

On the fourth hand, I’d like one of those Learning Boards to explain to some benighted people what “2/3 of a person” really meant, since that bit of the Constitution will go under the Root Causes column. OMFG it galls me when I hear some pineapple headed inner-city rabble-rouser getting all uppity about that one. Stuck On Stupid for 9 generations.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/06/2013 at 10:12 AM   
Filed Under: • History •  
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calendar   Wednesday - January 02, 2013

my daily larnin’ o’ stuff

Aksum, Maqurra, Alwa! Nobatia! Dongola!!

Nope, not magical words from some unknown Harry Potter spell. Cities. Kingdoms. Entire Civilizations. Gone. Put to the sword. Pretty much lost to history, and literally off the edges of the better known maps.

Until the rise of Islam, these were the names of vast areas in central Eastern Africa, from the south end of Egypt, down through Nubia, Kush, Ethiopia, Eritrea and into the Sudan and the outskirts of modern Somalia. At it’s height, the Aksum Empire controlled the southwest part of the Arabian peninsula (think Queen of Sheba) and the southern coast of what is present day Yemen.

They were not part of the Roman Empire, but they were Christian nations. Some fell quickly to the onslaught. Some lasted to 1415. Ethiopia is still a Christian/Jewish enclave, as are parts of the Sudan. And under constant violent pressure still. From Islam. For more than 1400 years now.


Buried Christian Empire Casts New Light on Early Islam

Archeologists are studying the ruins of a buried Christian empire in the highlands of Yemen. The sites have sparked a number of questions about the early history of Islam. Was there once a church in Mecca?

The commandment “Make yourself no graven image” has long been strictly followed in the Arab world. There are very few statues of the caliphs and ancient kings of the region. The pagan gods in the desert were usually worshipped in an “aniconic” way, that is, as beings without form.

Muhammad had a beard, but there are no portraits of him.

But now a narcissistic work of human self-portrayal has turned up in Yemen. It is a figure, chiseled in stone, which apparently stems from the era of the Prophet.

Paul Yule, an archeologist from the southwestern German city of Heidelberg, has studied the relief, which is 1.70 meters (5’7") tall, in Zafar, some 930 kilometers (581 miles) south of Mecca. It depicts a man with chains of jewelry, curls and spherical eyes. Yule dates the image to the time around 530 AD.


Yule has concluded that Zafar was the center of an Arab tribal confederation, a realm that was two million square kilometers (about 772,000 square miles) large and exerted its influence all the way to Mecca.

Even more astonishing is his conclusion that kings who invoked the Bible lived in the highland settlement. The “crowned man” depicted on the relief was also a Christian.

At the height of their empire, the king - the Negus of Aksum (love the title) - controlled the ocean and shoreline spice and silk routes from the Arabian Sea west of India right up to the borders of the Byzantine Roman Empire. Talk about your middle man.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/02/2013 at 08:51 PM   
Filed Under: • Archeology / AnthropologyHistory •  
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calendar   Saturday - December 08, 2012

What, No Pearl Harbor Post?

"Hey, did you guys forget it’s December 7th?” - Rich K.

No Rich, did not forget, but didn’t really see the point. Don’t always want to be a “samizdat” blog anyway.

Pearl Harbor was over and done long before I was born. Japan is no longer an enemy. There have been plenty of other wars and other attacks wherein we lost lots of servicemen that are equally deserving of remembrance but get almost none.

So what am I supposed to point out? That we were played for suckers in the early 40s? Gee, that hasn’t happened since. That our Socialist president at the time was very probably in the know and let it happen anyway? Gee, where have we heard that one ... just 90 days ago for the latest one. Can’t call it an act of terror, when it was a sneak attack that opened a war between nations. Around as many people died on 9/11, but our government won’t even call that terrorism at this point, and thinks that telling us that secretly killing one old goat buggerer in his bedroom ended the entire thing. Yeah right. So go out and lie your ass off and play CYA for months when that’s proved wrong ... and the majority of Americans simply accepts it.

So what would a Pearl Harbor post be for?

Perhaps I should do a post-Pearl post that celebrates the unified resolve of this nation at that point in time to actually defeat such an enemy, regardless of the time, cost, or loss necessary. That’s something that no longer exists ... America is afraid to fight, and even more afraid to win. Every last sub-group would cry the blues and claim instant mistreatment. And our own government is far worse. Pussy politics and political correctness have turned us into a nation of lazy chickens, far past the point where we have to spend an extra couple hundred thousand PER BOMB to make sure it not only falls exactly on a specific target, but that it doesn’t blow up one bit more than necessary ... only to fret and wet our pants when the talking heads on the news chastise us for supposed collateral damage. We’ve completely forgotten that collateral damage is half the damn point. And this is why we have troops rotting in Kosovo for nearly 20 years, why the Afghan campaign has taken more than a decade and is no closer to being over than it was on Week 4 (even though 2 months was ample time to destroy the entire country), why Iraq took ages, and why Somalia got away with piracy for years. We The People are afraid of our own might, and have lost our sense of righteousness and all of our resolve. If any war takes more than a single month we’ve grown tired of it.We are lead by cowards and morons, many of whom are blatant enemies to the American creed. Outright communists and anarchists, thieves and whores, there isn’t an inch of spine in the whole bloody bunch. And we keep right on re-electing them, never asking or wondering or demanding improvement ... on the news yesterday was the bit that the Presidential election cost TWO BILLION DOLLARS. Seriously? And where did that money come from? No way it was from donations from the people. So today let’s play Fiscal Cliff, and let our leaders send us, the brainless fat assed lemmings that we truly are, over the cliff. Because who is going to stop them? Will Boehner’s tears be enough? Please. The Dems are evil and the GOP is worthless, and We Teh People can just go the fuck to hell and pay out every cent we make to make the government and it’s thieves even richer, as they vote endless largess to themselves and the worthless layabout scum that are their constituencies.

We are doomed.

No, no Pearl Harbor post. We don’t deserve one. That America is dead.

The men who died there were for the most part not heroes. They were blown to smithereens, burned up, and drowned because they were caught with their pants down. At best 5% of them had a chance to fight back. Their deaths were tragic and horrible. Sad for them, but they have been remembered and honored for 70+ years now. The attack was the punch in the nose that awoke the sleeping giant. That giant is dead. Long gone. Other than lobbing a few dozen ICBMs at some attacking nation (which we would never, ever, never do), there is simply no way the USA could respond in a similar fashion today. We don’t have the factories. We don’t have the steel mills. We don’t have the ability to make our own clothing, ships, and so forth. We own 87 bombers, most of which are older than I am. All that awesome electronic stuff the military spends trillions on? It’s all made in the Philippines. Not in Texas. All of that production has been stripped away and sent to the other end of the world, and then our government has put in environmental rules to keep things pure that make it impossible for such production facilities to be created. Fuck, we can’t even make a single new nuke reactor or oil refinery in 40+ years. Every last commercial ship we own comes from either Norway or South Korea. Except for some tugboats and tenders that are built down the Gulf Coast. Gee, big deal. And in truth, we hardly even own any ships any longer. The vast majority of the merchant marine is foreign. We don’t even make our own damn hand grenades, the supply of which (as we saw in the last Gulf affair) can be curtailed by political differences with the producing nation. And I’m not even going to get started on the energy issue. Holy shit. Cost overruns and pie in the sky fantasy designs have given us a solid gold navy that is an absolute money vacuum. Super high end tricksy stuff that needs never ending high dollar maintenance, just to be marginally functional. And so on, and so on, ad nauseum. We’ve pushed excellence so far that it’s reached the point of non-functionality. But what you need to fight a real war is mass. Mass numbers of plain old ships, bombs, missiles, bombers, rifles that work, etc. We make one ship or one soldier do the work of 20, yet what happens when either one goes down?

America no longer stands on it’s own feet. America no longer has feet to stand on. There is no giant to awake, and no usable club for him to wield, and no leadership even willing to call an attack an attack.

So let’s just go back to sleep. Maybe you can read about Pearl Harbor in a book. For now. Until history gets rewritten and even that gets buried under a rock because there weren’t enough lesbians, bisexual gender amporhs, and other niche people in the service at the time. Plus there were no women, blacks, midgets or Apaches in any command position. Therefore everything they did and thought was probably wrong. And that kind of shit WILL happen - just ask Thomas Jefferson, that horrible twisted slave raper.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/08/2012 at 11:15 AM   
Filed Under: • History •  
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calendar   Thursday - September 27, 2012

Local Stories

Passing History In The Pass Through State

From Roller Coasters To Icicles And Landslides In Just Over 100 Years

History is all around you. Sometimes it’s next to you, sometimes it’s right in front of you. Sometimes you’re standing right on top of it, and never even know.

This is pretty much the same spot, a few miles to the west of me, separated by 100 years and about 100 vertical feet:

image image

Once upon a time, when America was young and able and believed in itself and got things done because it didn’t know how not to, New Jersey really was a back water state. Aside from a couple of nice colonial towns and a few cobblestone “highways”, the whole state was a forest, with isolated little farms and mines here and there. And nothing between them but dirt paths through the woods, hardly better than deer tracks.

But there was a demand for goods and services from elsewhere. And there was a demand to be able to get through this state in as short a time as possible. So the state came up with this nice little money maker called a charter. They chartered highways: for a certain amount of money, they’d sell you the right to run a toll road between this place and that place, and you could collect whatever you could as long as you kept the roads open. They didn’t make it. We had toll roads all over the place, called turnpikes, but we also soon had the NJ creation called a “shunpike” ... a sneak around the toll house so you wouldn’t have to pay. The chartered highways soon failed.

We had chartered canals too. Several of them. For a couple of decades they were a great idea, because the toll roads were never in good condition and horse drawn wagons just couldn’t move the amount of cargo that canal boats could. But like the Pony Express delivering coils of wire for some guy named Samuel Morse, the canals carried the seeds of their own destruction; the very first one opened in the Delaware Valley carried a little steam engine imported from England and some iron tracks. The Stourbridge Lion, the first steam locomotive in the USA, went to the coal fields in PA in 1829 by canal.

The demand for produce and hard coal in Philadelphia and New York City was insatiable, so railways proliferated. Even the canals kept busy for 70 years. But trains were the future and everyone knew it.

I can’t begin to understand the various rights of way and the linage and trackage and all that choo-choo stuff, but New Jersey soon had dozens of railroads operating here. One of those early rail companies, actually a conglomerate of two earlier lines, the Easton & Perth Amboy Railroad, drove their tracks eastward across the state from the Delaware Valley, and tunneled right through Musconetcong Mountain. The same mountain that the locals today call Jugtown Mountain. The same one that carries a highway steep enough and twisty enough that I preferred not to face it in my little wind up rented Chevy Spark. And underneath me that whole time was a train tunnel, from 1872.

Jugtown Mountain is the southern end of a ridge that runs across the central western part of the state, called the Highlands. From the top of the mountain you can see a long long way. So when the tunnel was done, after the drownings and the race riots, and the new national record was set, the owners came out of the eastern terminus and saw what a great view there was. And decided to make money off of that.

The Pattenburg Tunnel, or Musconetcong Tunnel as it was more commonly known when it was built, was constructed from 1872 to 1875. It was bored through Jugtown mountain as the locals called it by the Easton and Amboy RR and was 4,893 feet long when completed. It was actually the longest tunnel constructed on the east coast until the Hoosac Tunnel was finished in Massachusetts around 1876. This huge project was constructed under the supervision of Henry Drinker who, at the time of the start of construction, was only 21 years of age. Construction was not easy for the young Lehigh University graduate and several large obstacles were met with difficulty along the way. In May of 1873 a very large underground aquifer was struck with an pneumatic drill which resulted in huge burst of water and severe flooding. Before the water could be entirely pumped out it destroyed several of the wooden support arches in place to hold the masonry work. This now empty underground chamber can still be seen today by walking 1/4 mile in from the west portal and shining a very bright light up at the ceiling. After things were eventually cleaned up the tunnel soon hit another obstacle many other business and industries ran into around that time - the panic of 1873. Another large problem was with the workers who were largely responsible for the construction of the tunnel. Long hours, exhaustion, race issues, and alcohol were responsible for a large number of fights with one in November of 1872 resulting in 5 deaths and many other injuries. Despite many setbacks and troubles, the Musconetcong Tunnel was finally holed through in Dec of 1874 and later opened in June of 1875. Eventually the Easton and Amboy RR was absorbed by the Lehigh Valley RR who decided later to build a vacation resort on the eastern side of the tunnel. Bellwood Park as it was called, was a popular place for traveling folks from PA to NYC to visit in the summer months. The park featured many rides including a roller coaster and a ferris wheel, however it later closed in 1916. Although this tunnel was a marvel in engineering at it’s time of completion, it constantly had water problems and was a little small for the newer locomotives in the early 20th century. A larger, better tunnel was constructed by the Lehigh Valley RR and opened in November of 1928. Although the tracks have been slightly modified in the tunnel, it still sees several trains a day from Norfolk Southern.

[The new tunnel is about 25 yards to the south of the old one. It’s taller and wider, and when the trains pass through it at night and blow their horns you can hear it all the way across the county]

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So above their leaky tunnel ... their possibly unstable tunnel, because no one had told the railroad that the mountain had been mined for iron ore for the past 100 years or more ... they built a theme park. Because the rail carried coal Monday to Friday, so they needed to make money on the weekends. So they put in a passenger line, built an amusement park, and brought folks in from New York City and from Easton PA. And they arrived by the thousands. To sleepy little Bethlehem Township. Unreal. Even if their roller coaster was only 50 feet high, the view from the top must have been fantastic. You could almost see across the entire state on a clear day, and easily see halfway to Philadelphia.

July 4, 1904. Opening Day at Bellewood Park brought more than 10,000 people to the amusement park in Pattenburg. Most families came by train, from the Lehigh Valley terminus at Allentown, Pa. to the west and Jersey City and New York City to the east.

Farm families from within Hunterdon County boarded the trains at local stops, such as Flemington and Clinton, or arrived by horse and wagon. Railroad sidings were constructed to accommodate the traffic and the park operated from Memorial Day to mid-October. Thousands arrived every day except Monday, but mostly on the weekends.

The Lehigh Valley Railroad hoped to supplement its income from the tracks, used mostly for hauling coal west to east during the week, with weekend excursion fares. The park proved an immediate success. The main attraction was the beauty of the area—the Musconetcong Mountain offered a panorama of rolling hills, flower beds bloomed throughout the park and picnic areas were available near babbling brooks and under shady trees.

So they made extra cash for a decade, and then closed the joint when business started to fade, taking away every building, board, and scrap.

For the more adventuresome and eager the park offered a wide variety of activities—a dance pavilion, boat rides, a roller coaster, a German beer garden, a shooting gallery, a bowling alley, a carousal, a Ferris Wheel, a fun house, a Tunnel of Love and a penny arcade. A photo studio was also on the grounds.
President Teddy Roosevelt stopped at Bellewood Park in 1905 and mixed with 6,000 people there that day, mostly from religious groups. On any given day, the park attracted Grand Army groups (Civil War veterans’ associations), church groups, ethnic groups and singing societies for outings.
Despite its success, Bellewood Park closed in October 1916 after a 12-year run.

Pretty hard to believe, as Pattenburg doesn’t have a population of 500 these days I think, unless you’re taking a much bigger unincorporated township area under consideration. And then there was the mining disaster in 1989…

When chunks of granite from a nearby quarry tumbled into his backyard last spring, Gus Dobes of Bethlehem Township complained to the state. Months earlier, when he and his neighbors noticed that their houses were shaking more than usual from the quarry’s blasts, he signed a petition that was also sent to the state.

Now that Mr. Dobes has lost at least an acre of his backyard to a 60-foot-deep chasm that he thinks was created by unsafe mining by the owners of the Pattenburg Quarry, he has opted for a different strategy. ‘’I think I will have the lawyer do the talking,’’ he said. For Mr. Dobes, who has lived for 20 years in the same house, which is roughly 400 feet from the quarry, the story is pretty simple: a crack in the road outside his door in late October, a blast of dynamite in the quarry in early November and then, 20 minutes later, a 250-foot-long landslide that swallowed some of his land.

And if you look at a map, you’ll see the landslide in the quarry is just a short distance down hill from the eastern end of that 1873 railroad tunnel, the one that always had the water leakage problems for 115 years before the slope gave way with some dynamite help.

History everywhere. And 150,000 cars and trucks a day clamber up the highway over Jugtown Mountain and down the other side, bound for parts east or west at 80mph, and never know what they just drove past.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/27/2012 at 01:53 PM   
Filed Under: • HistoryMiscellaneous •  
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calendar   Tuesday - September 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Buttzville

Your bridge is 110 years old.

Built in 1902. And she never looked better.

Well done.


The bridge on Mill Street in Buttzville in Warren County NJ is the kind of somewhat rare truss called a Double Intersection Warren through truss, because it’s a triangular Warren truss with another triangular Warren truss superimposed on top of it, offset half a length, and it’s the kind of bridge that goes up high and is connected over your head, so it’s a through type, not a pony type. A Double (intersection) Warren is very easy to confuse with a Howe truss, which were common at the time, although Howes always have all the verticals. The bridge in the picture only has hip verticals under the end end posts. Unfortunately, none of the variations of the Warren truss have any special names, so this one isn’t a Parker, or a Camel, or a Petite, or a Baltimore, or any of the nice names that the variations of Pratt truss have (if it were a Pratt it would be a Whipple). Lame, but I don’t set the rules.

This one is almost completely original, save for a few dozen rivets replaced with nuts and bolts over the past 110 years.  The floor of the bridge is 6” timber, and that is brand new. An inch or so of asphalt goes over that as a wearing surface for you to drive on. The floor beams may be original; if not, then at least they are proper I beams and not the wide flange H beams used today.

Barely a block away is where the north-south road to Princeton (Route 31) meets the west-east road to New York City (Route 46). Thousands and thousands of cars and trucks hammering down the highway every single day, just behind the white house in the back of this picture. But one block back, here on Mill Street, time stopped long ago.

In the half hour I took to photograph this bridge, which is only 10 minutes up the road from where I bowl every week, not even one vehicle crossed the bridge. A couple of crows flew by, and I swear the trout in the stream were watching me when my shadow fell on them. But that’s it.  Just like in my county, the modern world exists mostly on the main roads. A block or two back and it’s whatever year you want it to be, except you’ve got HDTV and internet and modern stuff whenever you want.

See More Below The Fold


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/25/2012 at 09:10 PM   
Filed Under: • BridgesHistory •  
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calendar   Saturday - September 08, 2012

History On An I Beam

The Day The Music Died


Yes, it’s a picture of a bit of a local bridge. One built in 1901 by the Dover Boiler Works actually. Just one of the dozens of pony Pratts we have around here. But that’s not important.

What is important is the company name. The people who built the steel that this bridge was made from. Jones & Laughlin. The extra “S” is for Steel Corporation.  Abbreviations were different in those days.

So what?

Jones & Laughlin had a steel mill out in western Pennsylvania, in Aliquippa. At the height of the Great Depression, 10 of their employees at that plant tried to unionize. J & L fired them.  The men sued.

The case went all the way to the US Supreme Court, where the justices ( at this time leveraged [co-opted] by FDR’s threat to add 3 or more robes to the bench until things started going his way ) decided that the new National Labor Relations Board Act of 1935 (aka the Wagner Act) was indeed constitutional, and by it the federal government had the ability to regulate IN STATE ACTIONS under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause -

Article I, Section 8, Clause 3: 
[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;

which until this time had been known as the INTERSTATE Commerce Clause and had always been treated as such. But the SCOTUS upheld Wagner, Jones & Laughlin lost, and we have had an ever expanding, ever more powerful, ever more expensive federal government ever since, and we are now at the point where the latest generation of those same Supremes have decided that it is right and proper for the feds to regulate interstate commerce even when none exists: the Obamacare decision and the Court’s blanket statement that the power of the federal government to tax is unlimited ... not a line of that crap would have been possible if those judges back in 1935 would have stood up to the Democrat Tyrant just a little longer, and thrown NLRB vs Jones & Laughlin out and the Wagner Act along with it, as was (and still IS) right and proper.

History is all around you if you pay attention. Sometimes just noticing the words on a piece of steel can bring it all back.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/08/2012 at 11:59 AM   
Filed Under: • Democrats-Liberals-Moonbat LeftistsHistoryJudges-Courts-Lawyers •  
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calendar   Thursday - August 23, 2012

Old Local Good News


I for one am glad of it. We’ve got radon here, one of the highest concentrations in the entire world. So it’s no surprise to me that there’s something else radioactive underground. I’m just glad there wasn’t enough of it to make a going mine, or else we’d have pale green slag heaps everywhere, and the steady tick-ticking of Geiger counters.

I walked to Pennsylvania and back 3 times today yet only strolled for a bit over a mile. I never took the same way more than once. And there is a river between here and there, a significant one.

See More Below The Fold


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/23/2012 at 09:17 PM   
Filed Under: • BridgesHistory •  
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Villagers With Torches?

I knew we had a covered bridge in my county, but I didn’t know the story behind it. Oh, those radical Red State clingers! Yes, in New Jersey. Conservatives in touch with tradition and history.

An Aroused Group Of Citizens


This is the last public covered bridge in New Jersey. It was erected in 1872 on abutments dating back to colonial times. Damaged in 1960, the superstructure of this bridge was completely dismantled and removed to make way for a conventional span. However, in 1961, as a result of the efforts of AN AROUSED GROUP OF CITIZENS, the state of New Jersey, using the materials of the original covered bridge, fully restored this link with the past.

Well done. But to be fair, what they got back from the government may not have been exactly what they expected. Or perhaps even wanted. But it was what they needed though.

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The wooden truss inside the bridge is massive. The baulks are 15” across. The truss has iron rods for verticals. While wooden bridge truss designs are often called King Post, Queen Post, Long, or Howe, because of this one’s “double V” design it could just as easily be considered to be a double Warren with alternate verticals. Which would make it rather cutting edge, for 1872. But while the great wooden truss remains, and the thick wooden deck with rough planks bolted on gives passing vehicles that bump-a-dump-bump “crossing an old time bridge” sensation, the truss isn’t really doing anything more than holding the roof up. All the weight is born by the completely modern underpinnings, starting with the 24” tall I beam stringers crossing the creek and the slightly smaller floor beams and diagonals supporting the 4x12 wooden floor joists. This one only looks old and delicate on top. Underneath it’s a modern mini-monster.

This is the way that old bridges survive in the modern world. When the new bridge was put in back in 1961, just inches away from where this covered bridge now stands, it was built with even mightier beams which let it handle any kind of traffic load AND a set of picturesque stone side walls a foot and a half thick.


Those beams underneath have to be three feet tall if they’re an inch. So traffic goes north on the open stone walled bridge, and south on the wooden covered bridge, and does it without weight limits or without even slowing down. Because 99% of all the drivers behind the wheel are just too damn busy getting on with their own lives, getting to where they have to be as fast as they can, to even notice where they are. There’s an observation about life in there somewhere ... if you’re willing to take the time to slow down and think about it.

However, since the covered bridge is only 84 feet long it is pretty comical to see front end of a full size tractor trailer come blasting out the south end of the bridge while the back end is still going in. Kind of like in those cartoons where the dachshund dog sticks out of both ends of the doghouse at the same time. And if you follow this link and look at the last picture added in the comments section, you’ll see that the entire wooden superstructure - the truss, the roof, and the walls - is supported by “puny” little 4” I beam stubs welded on to the main beams almost as an afterthought. That’s how strong modern steel is, that’s how weak even massive hardwood wooden trusses are, and it’s an indication of just how strong this “new” bridge really is: you could drive tanks across it if they’d fit inside.

I know. I know. Another boring ass bridge post by Drew, from his going crazy period. But I liked the “aroused citizens” part ... and I won’t bore you with the 2 turn of the century pony trusses I found up the road, nor with YET ANOTHER 1870s Phoenix column through truss 3 miles down the road from this one. Hunterdon County is an easy place to be a bridge spotter. You can get your fix every 100 yards or so, with fancy ones and historical ones hidden in the weeds every couple of miles.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/23/2012 at 10:29 AM   
Filed Under: • BridgesHistory •  
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calendar   Friday - August 17, 2012

A roll full of miracles

Duct tape - it fixes everything!
It even works for bridge repairs!


wooden joists sistered in around the steel ones, held in place with duct tape

on the TISCO half-subdivided 5 section polygonal top chord Warren pony truss

Union Forge Park, High Bridge, New Jersey

Ok, I’m being a tiny bit silly, but the duct tape is there, and it was used to hold the boards in place when the new decking was laid down. And the thing that is annoying about Warren truss bridges is that none of the variations ever got specific names; had this been a polygonal top chord Pratt truss it would have been called a Parker, and since this one has a 5 section top chord that Parker would be called a Camelback. And on a Parker, the half-subdivided aspect would probably make this one a “K Camelback”, since you get a “K” when you subdivide the top part of the diagonal on a Parker. Or any Pratt actually.

image image

But on the whole, who cares? It’s an odd little bridge in the middle of a steel factory that existed since colonial times. And that factory is both a public park and an active business.  The bridge crosses the South Branch of the Raritan River of course, as do all my bridges so far; it’s about 3 miles downstream from the one I posted the other day. But this bridge doesn’t quite fit in with all the rest, since it’s only a single span pony. And it’s the wrong color. And all that barbed wire makes it quite unfriendly. And it was never made to carry more than foot traffic, or perhaps a single horse and carriage. It’s undated, and in C- condition, and obviously somebody got at it with a welding torch and access to the county’s spare bridge parts bin and tacked on that 1900’s yellow railing that was probably snagged from some other local bridge. I’d guess this bridge was made in the 1920s, but that could be anywhere from 1915-1945. The abutments of a far older span are just 75 yards downstream, and a much newer girder bridge is just 25 yards upstream, somewhat visible in the left picture above.

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Some people get their exercise by going for a walk. Me too, plus I immerse myself in history at the same time. It’s worth a 10 minute drive.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/17/2012 at 06:30 PM   
Filed Under: • BridgesHistory •  
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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:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
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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GNU Terry Pratchett

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