Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Conch Conch On The Head Hot Links

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Murder In The Red Barn [1827].
Murder In The Red Barn [78 rpm melodrama 1932].
Murder In The Red Barn [Tom Waits & Kathleen Brennan 1992].

Butting heads.

Whoa. Just whoa.

Salmon Crossing [via].

Bonk Bonk On The Head.

Autos Cubanos en el año 2019 [via].

Who’ll Stop The Rain? This guy can [via].

Visit Los Angeles! See Socialism In Action!

Possibly the worst job in the tech industry.

No racism to see here. Nope. None whatsoever.

Ideology doesn’t change. People do.” – Burgess Owens

From the Connections Department: Bandleader Fred Waring begat The Waring Blender which begat Dr. Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine. TRUE.

From The Archives: 1 year ago. 5 years ago. 10 years ago.

[Top image: Conchface from here via here via here.]


On Lynching.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

The CHAMBER OF HORRORS at the Southwestern Historical Wax Museum in State Fair Park of Dallas, Texas, recreates an event that took place in Ada, Oklahoma, April 19, 1909, when a lynch mob took four suspected murderers from jail to a barn where they administered frontier type justice.

According to the Tuskegee Institute, 4,743 people were lynched between 1882 and 1968 in the United States, including 3,446 African Americans and 1,297 whites. More than 73 percent of lynchings in the post-Civil War period occurred in the [Democrat-controlled] Southern states. [Wiki]

[Image and caption found here.]

The Battle of Midway – 4-7 June 1942

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

77 years ago, The Battle of Midway dramatically changed the outcome of WWII in the Pacific.

An out-gunned flotilla of US warships took advantage of information provided by Joe Rochefort‘s codebreakers and caught Imperial Japan’s massive attack force off guard. It was perhaps the most decisive battle in naval history.

By mid-1942, Rochefort’s codebreakers could read much of the Japanese Purple Code (Rochefort was fluent in the language) and they knew that an attack was imminent on “AF” but they didn’t know where AF was. They arranged that an un-encrypted message be sent from Midway Island claiming that the desalinization plant was down and the island was almost out of fresh water (it wasn’t).

Japanese intelligence intercepted the alert and sent coded messages that “AF” was out of water, and the codebreakers confirmed that “AF” was Midway. Rochefort’s team also predicted the direction that Admiral Admiral Yamamoto’s armada would attack from.

It wasn’t an easy fight. The U.S. Navy lost the USS Yorktown, the destroyer USS Hammann (DD-412), and nearly 150 aircraft. More than 300 Sailors were killed or injured. But when you stack it up against Japanese losses (four carriers, a heavy cruiser, more than 300 planes, and some 2,500 casualties) there’s little room for doubt as to who won.

Admiral Yamamoto’s armada was successfully ambushed while attempting to ambush the US Navy.

[Image and quote from here. More at the links above.]

P.S. If you think Hollywood’s version of Midway is accurate, it’s not.

Memorial Day

Monday, 27 May 2019

Please take a moment to honor all who gave their lives on our behalf.













The All-In-One Radio Of The Future ca.1935

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

This telephone, radio, video, news link, photo transmitter/receiver, printer included a “Like” function to transmit audio applause. It was an all-in-one Victrola on steroids, a paleo Smart Phone that went up to 11.

[Images found here and here. More here.]

Robert H. Keaton’s Contribution To The World: The Music Typing Machine

Monday, 6 May 2019

It’s an interesting arrangement that gives the Keaton Music Typewriter its distinctive look. In terms of engineering, thanks to a curved meter on the left that Keaton called the Scale Shift Handle and Scale Shift Indicator, it’s easy to control exactly where the notes and characters fall on the page. By moving the handle up or down a notch, the typewriter adjusts to print 1/24 inch in either direction. Moving one notch up or down will cause the character to fall one musical step either way.

It appears that the typed sheet music in the museum display (the 2nd image) is turned 90 degrees from the way the machine types, or perhaps it’s a different model.

[Images and text found here; Original Patent here; Video here.]

Benjamin J.S. Cahill’s Contributions To The World

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

From the map inset:




Bernard Joseph Stanislaus Cahill (1866–1944), cartographer and Architect, was the inventor of the octahedral “Butterfly Map” (published 1909; patented 1913).

At the start of his professional career in 1896, Cahill participated in the Phoebe Hearst competition for the design of the U. C. Berkeley campus. He was elected an Associate Member of the A.I.A. in 1899. He wrote articles for the “California Architect and Building News” and later for “The Architect and Engineer.” An early advocate of city planning, Cahill helped to define the concept of a “civic center” with his 1904 design of the San Francisco Civic Center, which he felt was the basis for the plan adopted by the city in 1912. He continued to be involved in the plan for the city, and wrote letters to the editor and articles expressing his ideas on the proper plan.

A specialist in mausoleum design and mortuary architecture, Cahill designed the catacombs and columbarium for the Cypress Lawn Cemetery, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (San Francisco), Evergreen Memorial Cemetery Memorial Building (Oakland), the St. Mary’s Cemetery mausoleum (Sacramento), and the Diamond Head Memorial Park in Honolulu [more here].

[Map found here.]

The Blue Angels

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

About midway through the Cleveland Air Races in 1946 an event placed somewhat inconspicuously on the program was dutifully announced over the public address system. The man said that a Navy Flight Exhibition team in four Grumman Bearcat fighters would demonstrate Navy precision flying in formation. On the team were a Lieutenant Commander, a Lieutenant and two Lieutenants Junior Grade. They were all Naval Aviators with combat records.


Such a four-plane formation employed so skillfully in the last war [WWII] gave cause for its leader, out-numbered fifteen to one, to exclaim without hesitation,

“Red Leader to Carrier, I have 60 Zeros surrounded and am proceeding to attack!” All of his four planes got back and were accredited 17 “kills.”

This week in 1946 Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Chester W. Nimitz ordered the creation of a flight demonstration team. In 1949, the team took the name Blue Angels.

This 1950 Proceedings article explains the Blue Angels’ early history.

Saturday Matinee – Robert “Junior” Lockwood, Robert Johnson & Eric Clapton

Saturday, 20 April 2019

That’s Robert “Junior” Lockwood Jr. (1915-2006)

I had no idea of Lockwood’s pedigree when he showed up at an early morning jazz appreciation class I took in college. For him, it was all about the blues, and his lecture/demonstration blew me away.

He was taught guitar by Robert Johnson (1911-1938), the legendary King of the Delta Blues (and the Grandfather of Rock and Roll) hence the nickname Robert “Junior.”

Most of Robert Johnson’s songs have been covered by modern musicians, but I hadn’t heard the original “Hellhound On My Trail” until today. It’s got unusual chord patterns and rhythms:

You sprinkled hot foot powder
All around your daddy’s door.

Here’s Eric Clapton’s version from 2004, and it’s just as disturbing.

Have a great weekend, folks, and remember that everything’s gonna be alright.

Ra The Cat

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Okay, so like over a thousand years ago B.C. there was this Egyptian sun god named Ra, and he was pretty powerful. You’ve probably heard of him.

There was also a god named Apep or Apophis or something. He was a snake, the god of the underworld in charge of the forces of chaos and evil. The sun god had had enough of Apep‘s assholery and decided to take him out. Ra heard that Apep liked hanging out around a certain sacred sycamore tree.

Ra thought about it for a while, and instead of burning Apep to cinders with his sun god eyes, he decided to turn himself into a cat with a beard and a knife, find the sacred sycamore tree, and kill him. (He forgot that cats don’t have hands, but he ignored that part.)

Apparently Ra cut Apep pretty good, but he didn’t kill him, so he dropped the cat costume, went back to being the sun god and pretended it never happened. I think he was embarrassed.

Under a sacred sycamore the sun god Ra, in the form of a cat, slays the snake Apep (or Apophis), god of the underworld and symbol of the forces of chaos and evil. Detail of a wall painting from the tomb of Inherkhau (TT359).

New Kingdom, 20th Dynasty, ca. 1189-1077 BC. Deir el-Medina, West Thebes.

[Image & caption found here, via here.]

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