Friday, April 29, 2022

We had an attempted hostile takeover…

…but order has been restored. I am back in control. 

Friday, December 11, 2020

Shutting Down

I’ve tried. I’ve posted. We get very few readers, and I have yet to see a comment on anything. Due to lack of interest, this post, which is the 200th post on this blog, will be the last one. It’s been a fun ride. Thanks to those who actually read it. I’m sorry for taking it away from those who enjoy it, but with 2-5 post views per day and no comments, it’s not worth the effort.


All effort will be focused on the other blog, “Smashes, Bashes, and Kits.” It will primarily be about 1/6 scale, but will also cover WWII history, reenacting, and some other areas.

Monday, December 7, 2020

“A Date That Will Live In Infamy”

A date that will live in infamy. Nearly 2,500 of our men and women were lost in the deadly attack by the Japanese on the US fleet at Pearl Harbor. This attack brought the US into WWII. The very next day, President Roosevelt gave one of the most noteworthy speeches in US history when he asked Congress to declare war against the Empire of Japan. Shortly afterward, Hitler declared war on the US, and we became one of the Allies. The arsenal of democracy that had been helping to supply the World with vehicles, weapons, rations, and equipment was now a participant in the conflict.

We’d suffer nowhere near the damage that Britain had suffered during the Blitz, and we’d lose nowhere near the number of troops that the Russians did against Germany, but we would contribute to the victory in more ways than providing manpower. Weapons and equipment would continue to flow into the countries at war. Our factories would produce goods at a rate never seem before. Our transports would get the materiel where it was needed. Our people would sacrifice, our men would fight, and our men and women would die, but ultimately, freedom would prevail. Italy, Germany, and Japan would suffer incredible defeats, and the outcome would set up the Cold War. 

The day after the Pearl Harbor attack, President Roosevelt gave his speech. At the bottom of this post, there is a link for a timeline of events that led up to the attack. The text of Roosevelt’s address to Congress follows below:

 Mr. Vice President, and Mr. Speaker, and Members of the Senate and House of Representatives: 

YESTERDAY, December 7, 1941 a date which will live in infamy the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. 

The United States was at peace with that Nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American Island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack. 

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace. 

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu. 

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya. Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong: Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam. Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.  Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island. And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island. 

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our Nation. 

As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. 

But always will our whole Nation remember the character of the onslaught against us. 

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. 

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us. 

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger. 

With confidence in our armed forces with the unbounding determination of our people we will gain the inevitable triumph so help us God. 

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.”

Never forget!

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Trivia Time: Answer in the comments if you can...

Ten trivia questions. See how many you can get right...

1). Ulysses Simpson Grant, Civil War General and US President, went by the name Ulysses Simpson, but that was not his real name. What was it?

2). What was the name of General Patton’s dog?

3). What was the name of Robert E. Lee’s favorite horse?

4). This Civil War cavalry general, known as the Wizard of the Saddle, was also the first Grand Wizard of the KKK. Who was he?

5). On September 17, 1944, the Allies in Europe launched an airborne and armored assault on occupied Holland. What was the codename given to this operation?

6). What July 1863 Civil War Battle is called the High Water Mark of the Confederacy?

7). During the battle of Midway, in June of 1942, US naval forces sunk four Japanese aircraft carriers. The US Navy lost one of its own aircraft carriers in the battle. Which ship did the US Navy lose?

8). This future US President led the charge of the Rough Riders up San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War. Who was he?

9). The current US Armed Forces main battle tank, the M1 series of tanks, is named after which Vietnam War era US General?

10). This famous actor, who played roles such as the Sergeant in the movie, “The Big Red One”, and Major Reisman in “The Dirty Dozen” was a WWII USMC veteran who was wounded in action and received a Purple Heart. Who was he? (Bonus if you know where he was shot?)

Have fun with it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

A Larger Than Life Texas Hero

This statue of Stephen F. Austin sits along Texas Highway 288 near Angleton, TX. The statue stands 76 ft tall. Austin is 66ft tall, and he stands on a 10ft base. This statue is 1 foot shorter than the Sam Houston statue near Huntsville, TX. 

In reality, Austin was slightly shorter than Houston. However, that is not why this statue is shorter than the Sam Houston statue. By a gentlemen’s agreement made when Sam Houston was put on his base, no statue of any Texas hero can be taller than Sam Houston. 

Austin and his 300 hundred were the first successful settlers from the United States to make it in Texas. A previous attempt ended in failure. “Austin’s 300” were 300 families who were given the ability to settle in Texas due to an empresarial grant originally given to Moses Austin, Stephen F’s father. Moses caught pneumonia shortly before the expedition to Texas was set to begin, and he then decided that his son should take over. Stephen F was very reluctant to do do at first, but he was ultimately persuaded by a letter from his mother that she wrote two days before Moses died.

Stephen F. Austin was born in the area of Wytheville, VA. He first moved to Missouri, and then to Arkansas before beginning his Texas expedition. He and his 300 at first attempted to maintain good relations with the Mexican government, but tensions began to flare when Austin introduced slavery in Texas. The Mexican government was in strong opposition to the institution of slavery, and let Austin know this in no uncertain terms.

As tensions between Mexicans and settlers grew, Emperor Santa Anna had Austin arrested in 1834. No charges were filed, because no court would take jurisdiction. Austin was eventually released after spending time in several different prisons. 

When the Texas War of Independence began, Austin took control of forces during the siege of BĂ©xar in late 1835. The revolution officially began in Gonzales, TX in October of 1835. It ended after the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, after the army commanded by Sam Houston defeated and captured Santa Anna.

Texas was now a free country. The constitution created on March 2, 1836 was enacted, and Texas was now able to self-govern. In the first Presidential race, Sam Houston narrowly defeated Stephen F. Austin. Houston appointed Austin as his Secretary of State, but Austin would not serve for long. He died of pneumonia in what is now West Columbia, TX. 

Stephen F. Austin’s last words before his death were, “ The independence of Texas is recognized! Don't you see it in the papers?”

Sam Houston, after hearing of Austin’s death, was quoted as saying, “ The Father of Texas is no more; the first pioneer of the wilderness has departed.”

Houston and Austin were political rivals. They had a cordial relationship, but they never were what you would call friends. They tolerated each other when it came to business, expressed the usual amount of decorum during political events and ceremonies, and then each went their separate ways.

 During the revolution, Austin often questioned Houston’s military tactics, and was very critical of Houston when he retreated after the siege of the Alamo and the Goliad massacre. All doubts were erased when Austin was informed that Houston had won the Battle of San Jacinto, and also had taken Santa Anna as his prisoner. 

Austin was first buried in Gulf Prairie Cemetery in Brazoria County. In 1910, he was re-interred and moved to the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, the capital city that was named in his honor.

He was not married, and he had no children. His sister, Emily Austin Perry was his sole heir. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Check out a different blog...

We are going to be taking a short break, getting the other blog up and running, and then alternating posts between the two. The goal is 3 posts a week on each blog.

Check it out here. There’s more to it than just 1/6 scale, by the way. I’m just posting some things on the other blog that I feel are more appropriate there. There also will be a monthly contest with what I feel are nice prizes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Burp the Bayou!

Have you heard about the Big Bubble in the Buffalo Bayou?  Have you seen the mysterious red button on the Preston Street Bridge?  We heard about this shortly after we moved here, and I had to look into it to find out what it was.

In the middle of the brick column on the south side of the Preston Street Bridge, is a little red button.  When you press it, the water in the bayou will bubble for several seconds.  I realize that this is just a button and some bubbles, but if you are going to visit it, you really have all the materials you need for a great adventure.

First off, there is no sign above this little button.  It is just a mysterious red button in the middle of Downtown Houston.  You don’t know whether you should press it or not.  And if you do press it, what will happen?  Where should you look?  And say you see or hear the bubbles, what is causing it?  Did you wake a bayou monster?  And if a boat is traveling down the river, what would happen if you timed the bubbles just right?

For best results, tell your kids you hear there is a mysterious red button in Downtown Houston and you need to find out what it does.  Get them close to the bridge and see if they can find it. 

Once you find it, ask for ideas on what it might do and see who is brave enough to push it.

Once pressed, try to find the bubbles and ask what could be causing them?  Finish up with several minutes of pressing the button, running to the side of the bridge, watching the bubbles and giggling with delight.

To get here, drive or take METRO Rail to the Preston Station.  Walk a few blocks west towards the Downtown Aquarium until you are over the water. On the southeast side of the bridge you will see the little red button.  The water on the south side of the bridge will bubble.

The bubbles are to aerate the slow moving water.  The water is aerated automatically throughout the day and whenever a brave passerby presses the button.