Saturday, January 10, 2015

Blast from the Past: Instructional Pamphlet for Surviving an A-bomb Attack!

Good Day World!

In 1950 (the year I was born) the Commonwealth of Massachusetts put out an instructional pamphlet for surviving an A-bomb attack from the Soviet Union.

It was the dawn of a Cold War, the first of many in my lifetime. Looking at the instructions now they appear laughable.

People were instructed to fall down flat on their face should they see a sudden flash of light brighter than the sun!

They were instructed to stay like that, or if indoors to crawl behind or underneath something to protect themselves. As we know in this day and age, these instructions were absolutely worthless!

I love the warning, “Stay down until after the blast has passed…”

Wow! Think about that.

People were being told that if they just hunkered down not only would they survive an A-bomb attack, but would have a chance to get up afterwards and move around normally!

The so-called FACTS about the A-bomb is a study in propaganda.

To see more pages of this pamphlet go to The History Place.

I can remember attending elementary school during the Cold War in the 1950s and never questioning how effective “drop down and roll” was.

We practiced the maneuver throughout the school year. I firmly believe – now – that it was just a way of making us think things were really going to be okay – even though there was a real possibility civilization as we knew it could have ended.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, January 9, 2015

Uncensored Comments From 6 Modern Day American Politicians

Good Day World!

Have you ever been caught making unseemly comments?

You know the kind I mean. Where you wished you could take it back, but it was too late?

Politicians are easy targets because their gaffes can be revealing at times, giving you a glimpse of who they really are. And, of course, they don’t want to do that.

Journalists everywhere delight in repeating these uncensored comments. Here’s six of my favorite examples for your consideration:

George Bush

"It's no exaggeration to say the undecideds could go one way or the other." (1988 - during a campaign rally)

"I'm all for Lawrence Welk. Lawrence Welk is a wonderful man. He used to be, or was, or, wherever he is now, bless him." (1989 - not sure if musician Welk was alive or dead)

"High-tech is potent, precise, and in the end, unbeatable. The truth is, it reminds a lot of people of the way I pitch horseshoes. Would you believe some of the people? Would you believe our dog? Look, I want to give the high-five symbol to high-tech." (1989)

"When I need a little advice about Saddam Hussein, I turn to country music." (1991)

"...I mean a child that doesn't have a parent to read to that child or that doesn't see that when the child is hurting to have a parent and help out or neither parent there enough to pick up the kid and dust him off and send him back into the game at school or whatever, that kid has a disadvantage." (1992 - on child rearing)

George W. Bush

"There's Adam Clymer, major-league asshole from The New York Times." (September 4, 2000 - commented near an open microphone while campaigning for the presidency in Illinois)

Dwight D. Eisenhower

"I just won't get into a pissing contest with that skunk." (1953 - referring to Sen. Joseph McCarthy)

Barry Goldwater

"There are only so many lies you can take, and now there has been one too many. Nixon should get his ass out of the White House today." (1974 - after more revelations implicating Nixon in Watergate)

Lyndon Johnson

"I'm the only President you've got." (1964)

"Better to have him inside the tent pissing out, then outside pissing in." (regarding FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover)

"So dumb he can't fart and chew gum at the same time." (regarding Gerald Ford)

"I want loyalty. I want him to kiss my ass in Macy's window at high noon and tell me it smells like roses. I want his pecker in my pocket." (on the qualities of a presidential assistant)

Richard Nixon

"If you can't lie, you'll never go anywhere." (confided to a close friend)

"As I leave you I want you to know--just think how much you're going to be losing--you won't have Nixon to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference." (1962 - to the press after losing the California election for governor)

"Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I wouldn't want to wake up next to a lady pipefitter." (1971 - quoted in Ms. magazine)

"I don't give a shit what happens. I want you all to stonewall--plead the Fifth Amendment, cover-up, or anything else. If that will save it, save the plan." (1973 - to his subordinates in the White House during Watergate)

"People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook." (1973 - to the press during Watergate)

"Well, I screwed up real good, didn't I?" (1974 - to Al Haig just before writing his resignation speech)

"When the president does it, that means it is not illegal. But I brought myself down. I gave them a sword and they stuck it in and twisted it with relish. And I guess that if I had been in their position, I'd have done the same thing."(1977)

"If I could find a way to get him out of there, even putting a contract out on him, if the CIA did that sort of thing, assuming it ever did, I would be for it." (1991 - to President Bush regarding Saddam Hussein) (Source)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Wish you were right Walt Disney! A Baby Boomer’s reflections on the future

Good Day World!

Like most baby-boomers, I grew up with an optimistic world view. And why not? America’s economy was strong, vibrant with growth and promise.

We were reaching out to the stars – and even landed a man on the moon. Disneyland featured exhibits like “Tomorrowland” which gave us glimpses into a mythical future rife with progress and peace.

The future is here now for us – the hopeful (yet always rebellious) - children in post-war America. Peace and Love was our mantra.

As I look around at the reality of the 21st Century, I realize that not only are my days numbered – and a generation’s with me – but our hopes for the future, specifically for peace in the world have been dashed.

There’s no peace in America. We’re polarized by race and party lines. Race protests get more extreme as a new generation of black men express their anger over judicial injustices.

Instead of protesting civilly, like their fathers, they prefer to shock and anger people by doing outrageous things to get their message across.


Despite scientific advances in all fields of study, mankind is still at war. The world has become a global village thanks to the internet, smart phones, and other communication devices yet undreamed of in my youth.

With all this progress came opportunity for the haters of the world. The terrorists and murderous cults – once small regional problems for various countries – are now worldwide threats.

Charlie Hebdo Shooting: 12 Killed at Muhammad Cartoons Magazine in Paris

“The Internet is a prime example of how terrorists can behave in a truly transnational
way; in response, States need to think and function in an equally transnational

- Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General of the United Nations

Walt Disney – it turns out – was probably one of the biggest optimists of all time.

He was known for his futurist views and, through his television programs, showed the American public how the world was moving into the future.

Tomorrowland was the realized culmination of his views. And dream.

In his own words: "Tomorrow can be a wonderful age. Our scientists today are opening the doors of the Space Age to achievements that will benefit our children and generations to come. The Tomorrowland attractions have been designed to give you an opportunity to participate in adventures that are a living blueprint of our future."

I wish you could have been right Walt! RIP

Time for me to walk on down the road…









“The Internet is a prime example of how terrorists can behave in a truly transnational
way; in response, States need to think and function in an equally transnational
Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General of the United Nations

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

True Story: ‘I spared Adolf Hitler’s life’

Good Day World!

Fate can be a fickle mistress.

Seemingly small acts can cause massive repercussions down the line. There’s no better example of this than one man’s decision not to kill the future Fuhrer of Germany.

(Photo-Adolf Hitler circa WWI)  

The First World War was in its last hours, millions of soldiers on both sides were dead and those who fought on knew the end was near, as did English Private Henry Tandey who served with the Duke of Wellington's Regiment.

In September of 1918, on the French battlefield of Marcoing, he won the Victoria Cross for bravery, one of many medals the 27 year old would win during the 'war to end all wars.'

As the battle of Marcoing raged, Allied and German forces engaged in bitter hand to hand combat. The defining moment for Private Tandey and world history came when a wounded German limped directly into his line of fire.

"I took aim but couldn't shoot a wounded man," said Tandey, "so I let him go." Years later he discovered he had spared an Austrian Corporal named Adolf Hitler.

(Photo-Adolf Hitler, front row left. Circa WWI)

Hitler himself never forgot that pivotal moment or the man who had spared him.

On becoming German Chancellor in 1933, he ordered his staff to track down Tandey's service records. They also managed to obtain a print of an Italian painting showing Tandey carrying a wounded Allied soldier on his back, which Hitler hung with pride on the wall at his mountain top retreat at Berchtesgaden.

He showed the print to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain during his historic visit in 1938 and explained its special significance.

The F├╝hrer seized that occasion to have his personal gratitude relayed to Tandey, which Chamberlain conveyed via telephone on his return to London from that most fateful trip.

Henry Tandey left military service before the start of World War II and worked as a security guard in Coventry. His "good deed" haunted him for the rest of his life, especially as Nazi bombers destroyed Coventry in 1940 and London burned day and night during the Blitz.

"If only I had known what he would turn out to be. When I saw all the people, woman and children, he had killed and wounded I was sorry to God I let him go," he said before his death in 1977 at age 86. (Source)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Did you know that Apollo 13 was a nuclear catastrophe waiting to happen?

Good Day World!

As is the case with most history, the public doesn’t always get the full story.

There’s numerous examples of this. Today, I’m sharing one of those stories that I’m betting you never heard about!

The drama surrounding the ill fated Apollo 13 mission was an ideal subject for a series of books and movies.

But the most disturbing aspect of the near disaster has mostly been neglected.

Apollo 13 was a nuclear catastrophe waiting to happen, as aboard the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) was a plutonium power cell.

Called 'Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power' (SNAP-27) it contained 3.8 kilograms of plutonium, which is so toxic that less than a millionth of a gram can cause cancer.

Designed to be left behind on the moon, the crippled Apollo 13 was forced to carry it back to Earth. Not only were the three astronauts in danger but millions on the ground unwittingly lived under threat from the toxic space junk.

When the paralyzed Apollo 13 re-entered Earth's orbit, the astronauts transferred back to the command module, and the LEM with its nuclear payload was jettisoned.

It re-entered the atmosphere somewhere over New Zealand and although the LEM burned up, SNAP-27 survived re-entry and plunged intact into the Pacific Ocean off Tonga, where according to NASA it is "isolated from man's environment."

SNAP-27's radioactivity will last 2000+ years and its watery grave comprises some of the world's prime fishing grounds.

NASA successfully concealed the crisis from the world at the time, and continues to power some spacecraft with plutonium, recently launching the Cassini probe with a 33 kilo plutonium cell. (Source)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, January 5, 2015

Fighting the Flu: Uninvited Bug Invades My Home

Good Day World!

I hope you’re in good health, and not a victim of the headline-making enterovirus EV-D68.

I haven’t had the flu for over fourteen years, but that changed about a week ago. That nasty virus is still kicking my butt today. My wife and son are also getting their butts kicked.

Editor’s update: the flu that my family and I have is the H3-N2 virus. The enterovirus EV-D68 is the one infecting children, and the symptoms are different.

I’ve been drinking a lot of liquids, sleeping, and dosing with over-the-counter cold medicines. One day I start feeling better, then I suffer a setback the next day. I’m seriously wondering when this stuff will go away.

I’ve noticed on social media that people who have – thus far – stayed healthy during this national outbreak aren’t afraid to give advice. You might want to be wary, because what’s trending doesn’t mean it’s scientific fact.

Take yogurt, “prebiotics” and teas such as kombucha. They all have a dash of science showing that gut bacteria can affect your weight, your risk of cancer and your susceptibility to infectious disease.

That’s nice. However, until scientists are able to show which is the “good” bacteria and the “bad” ones there’s nothing definitive on whether eating or drinking any particular food can change the balance of your gut bacteria.

Probiotics fall squarely into the category of being good in theory, but the jury’s still out on which formula is best.

There’s way more research debunking Echinacea than supporting its use.

Part of the problem is that different commercial products contain different amounts of the plant, and even vary on what plants they contain. Some plants, such as astragalus and licorice root, can be dangerous.

There’s more “testimonials” out there on how to avoid the flu. But, before you place your trust in yogurt to stay healthy, you might want to do a little research on the subject.

I should also point out that flu shots are probably the best way to avoid these nasty bugs. One caveat; this current enterovirus EV-D68 has evolved after the vaccine for it was developed.

So, even the recommended way to avoid the flu is not fool proof.

Time for me to slowly walk on down the road…

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Poem: ‘Sandbox Tree Story’

Good Day World!

I had fun with this poem…hope you enjoy it!

Sandbox Tree Story

the Sandbox Tree is an evergreen tree of the spurge family

found in North and South American tropical regions

it’s nicknamed ‘no climb monkey

a peculiar moniker for any tree

The Sandbox Tree can grow up to 200 feet tall

and has large leaves that grow to two feet wide

but that’s not the strangest thing of all

it’s fruit is an exploding ball!

ripe pods catapult seeds for hundreds of feet

at speeds of up to 160 mph

it’s quit the feat

and a visual treat

Also known as the Dynamite Tree

for the explosive sound of ripe fruit popping

and splitting into segments rapidly

it’s as strange as any tree can be!


The end

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...