…and Aflame

Double click the image for a larger version of the picture
Double click the image for a larger version of the picture

It’s just starting, really, I think.  I’ve not been in Georgia in this time of year before, so I’m not real sure what to expect as far as the turning of the trees in the fall.  I guess I’ll must have to wait a few more weeks to find out if gets much better than this.

I took this picture just this morning.  I’d actually hoped for a day without fog on the little lakes that are just down the hill from us, but it the mist was rising from the lakes so I shot pictures anyway.  The sun had risen just enough behind me to reach the base of the trees at the waterline, giving them a bit of a glow with the mist and bright light at water’s edge.

I’m under no illusions: I know this fall won’t be like the turning of the season in Maine (unbelievably beautiful if you’ve never seen it!), but I always enjoy this time of year.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1991, the so-called “perfect storm” hit the North Atlantic producing remarkably large waves along the New England and Canadian coasts. Over the next several days, the storm spread its fury over the ocean off the coast of Canada. The fishing boat Andrea Gail and its six-member crew were lost in the storm. The disaster spawned the best-selling book The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger and a blockbuster Hollywood movie of the same name.

On October 27, Hurricane Grace formed near Bermuda and moved north toward the coast of the southeastern United States. Two days later, Grace continued to move north, where it encountered a massive low pressure system moving south from Canada. The clash of systems over the Atlantic Ocean caused 40-to-80-foot waves on October 30—unconfirmed reports put the waves at more than 100 feet in some locations. This massive surf caused extensive coastal flooding, particularly in Massachusetts; damage was also sustained as far south as Jamaica and as far north as Newfoundland.

The storm continued to churn in the Atlantic on October 31; it was nicknamed the “Halloween storm.” It came ashore on November 2 along the Nova Scotia coast, then, as it moved northeast over the Gulf Stream waters, it made a highly unusual transition into a hurricane. The National Hurricane Center made the decision not to name the storm for fear it would alarm and confuse local residents. It was only the eighth hurricane not given a name since the naming of hurricanes began in 1950.

Meanwhile, as the storm developed, the crew of the 70-foot fishing boat Andrea Gail was fishing for swordfish in the Grand Banks of the North Atlantic. The Andrea Gail was last heard from on October 28. When the boat did not return to port on November 1 as scheduled, rescue teams were sent out.

The week-long search for the Andrea Gail and a possible cause of its demise were documented in Junger’s book, which became a national bestseller. Neither the Andrea Gail nor its crew—David Sullivan and Robert Shatford of Gloucester, Mass.; William Tyne, Dale Murphy and Michael Moran of Bradenton Beach, Fla.; and Alfred Pierre of New York City—was ever found.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  “Souling” is a medieval Christian precursor to modern-day trick-or-treating. On Hallowmas (November 1), the poor would go door-to-door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes.

…and Iconography

While I grew up in a Christian family, I did not grow up in an “orthodox” church, nor in the Catholic church.  As a result, my knowledge of icons and iconography is very, very limited (one could say that up until about 2 weekends ago, it was really non-existent!)  But when we attended the Greek Festival here in Cumming, Georgia, we took time to drop in and visit the Greek Orthodox church upon whose grounds the festival was conducted.  There was  a very nice parishioner there who spent some time with us showing us around the church and explaining some of the icons and art that was hanging on the walls and in the front of the sanctuary.  Today I’m going to share two pictures with you and explain one of the things that he told us that I never knew before.  (I apologize for the quality of these pictures as it was a bit on the dark side and I was forced to hand-hold the camera, and as if that weren’t bad enough, the images were behind glass and there’s a glare over the surface of the images.  The poor quality, however, will not really interfere with the point I’m trying to make today.)

Here’s the first picture, a picture of Jesus:

Double click to see the image in a larger size
Double click to see the image in a larger size

Here’s the second picture, a picture of Mary:

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Look at the two images closely.  There is an intriguing contrast in something between the two pictures.  Do you see it?

In the picture of Jesus, what color is his inner and outer robes?  Yep, red on the inside and blue on the outside.  What about the picture of Mary?  Blue on the inside and red on the outside.  This is not just coincidence.  This has a meaning to the Orthodox.

Red, as it was explained to us, is the color of divinity.  The red on the inside robe of Jesus indicates his divine nature.  The color blue to them represents humanity.  So Jesus was divine in nature, but put on the “cloak” of humanity.

Mary, on the other hand, has the blue robe on the inside (showing her own human nature) but the red robe on the outside (indicating that she was taking on the heavenly nature).

Pretty cool, eh?  But maybe you already knew that….

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  it was in 1901 on this day that President William McKinley’s assassin, Leon Czolgosz, was executed in the electric chair at Auburn Prison in New York. Czolgosz had shot McKinley on September 6, 1901; the president succumbed to his wounds eight days later.

McKinley was shaking hands in a long reception line at the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo, New York, when a 28-year-old anarchist named Leon Czolgosz approached him with a gun concealed in a handkerchief in his right hand. McKinley, perhaps assuming the handkerchief was an attempt by Czolgosz to hide a physical defect, kindly reached for the man’s left hand to shake. Czolgosz moved in close to the president and fired two shots into McKinley’s chest. The president reportedly rose slightly on his toes before collapsing forward, saying “be careful how you tell my wife.” Czolgosz was attempting to fire a third bullet into the stricken president when aides wrestled him to the ground.

McKinley suffered one superficial wound to the sternum and another bullet dangerously entered his abdomen. He was rushed into surgery and seemed to be on the mend by September 12. Later that day, however, the president’s condition worsened rapidly and, on September 14, McKinley died from gangrene that had remained undetected in the internal wound. According to witnesses, McKinley’s last words were those of the hymn “Nearer My God to Thee.” Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as president immediately following McKinley’s death.

Czolgosz, a Polish immigrant, grew up in Detroit and had worked as a child laborer in a steel mill. As a young adult, he gravitated toward socialist and anarchist ideology. He claimed to have killed McKinley because the president was the head of what Czolgosz thought was a corrupt government. The unrepentant killer’s last words were “I killed the president because he was the enemy of the good people—the working people.” His electrocution was allegedly filmed by Thomas Edison.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  There have been four major global flu pandemics since 1900. The most recent pandemic is the current swine flu (officially named “Novel H1N1 Influenza A”). The last global pandemic was the Hong Kong flu (1968-1969) which killed approximately one million people. The Asian flu pandemic (1957-1958) originated in China and is estimated to have killed between one and four million people. The Spanish flu pandemic (1918-1919) killed between 50-100 million people worldwide.

Nooses and Neckties

Click the picture twice to see a larger version of the image...
Click the picture twice to see a larger version of the image…

You know, I hate to wear ties!  I recall those days when we wore long sleeve white shirts, dress pants and neckties to the office every, single, stinkin’ day!!!!  Oh, I hated it!  I remember when the company “generously” relaxed the dress code to allow “casual Friday.”  After that, we didn’t have to wear ties on Friday’s unless we were meeting with a client.  It was great.  But it was even better when work clothing became just plain “casual”.  I think we were much more productive, but I don’t know if there are statistics on that or not.

Why did I hate neckties so much?  Well, for one thing, they are totally non-functional.  It seems to me that they’re just an attempt at being like a peacock…like you’re strutting around trying to impress the females.  Another reason I hate them is that they feel somewhat like a noose.  Or at least what I think a noose might feel like if I had one around my neck.

I don’t have a picture of a tie, but I shot this picture of women’s necklaces about a week and a half ago.  I find it interesting that women wear necklaces so much.  I don’t mind it, and in fact, a pretty necklace can enhance a woman’s looks.  But I can’t help but wonder if women really like to wear necklaces, or if they wear them because it’s somewhat expected.  Perhaps some of the lady readers of this post can weigh in and let my inquiring mind know.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1961, the second so-called “Apache trial” began for rock-and-roller Chuck Berry. Although his earlier conviction for transporting a minor across state lines for immoral purposes in violation of the Mann Act was thrown out on appeal, the prosecution decided to retry Berry.

Chuck Berry was one of the biggest pop stars of the late 1950s when he began to have legal problems. While charges in yet another Mann Act violation were pending (which were dismissed in 1960), Berry met Janice Escalante, a Native American with roots in the Apache tribe, in a bar near El Paso, Texas. According to Berry, who took the young woman on the road with his traveling rock show, Escalante claimed to be 21 years old. After there was a falling out between the two, Escalante complained about Berry to the authorities.

During his second trial, Berry was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison. After a short stretch in Leavenworth Federal Prison, he was transferred to a Missouri jail, where he spent his time studying accounting and writing songs. Among the songs he wrote before his release from prison in October 1963 were “No Particular Place to Go” and “You Never Can Tell,” later memorialized in the film Pulp Fiction.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Hours before the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, people reported seeing elephants and flamingos heading for higher ground. Dogs and zoo animals refused to leave their shelters. After the tsunami, very few dead animals were found.

…a World of Color

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I would hate to be color blind.  I enjoy color SO much!  It doesn’t matter if it’s a sunset, a mountain meadow full of gorgeous, multi-colored flowers, a richly colored iris in someone’s eye…as long as the colors are strong an bright, I like ‘em!  I’m not much into paisley colors or pale colors.  I suppose that is one reason that I’m typically much more of fan of color photography than black and white – although there are times when black and white is far superior, depending on the subject matter.

This colorful shot as taken at the Greek Festival a bit over a week ago.  These dresses were on display and could be purchased, but alas, I didn’t need one so I didn’t buy any.

ON THIS DAY IN  HISTORY: in 1995, an unusually large avalanche buried homes and killed 20 people in Flateyri, Iceland. This was the second deadly avalanche in the region that year.

Ten months earlier, on January 17, the small fishing village of Sudavik had suffered a devastating avalanche in which 16 residents lost their lives. The incident illuminated the dangers of living in historically avalanche-prone areas. As winter began the following October, high winds in the West Fjords prompted evacuations across the region. Hundreds of electric poles were snapped by the winds and on October 26, an avalanche of snow, ice and rocks crushed and killed a herd of 18 horses in Langidalur. Later, another slide destroyed a storage building in Sugandafjor.

Residents remained on high alert on the evening of October 27. At 4 a.m., a deafening roar was heard above Flateyri as a huge avalanche crashed down the mountain above the town. Snow and rocks buried 17 homes, only one of which had been thought to lie in an avalanche danger zone. Local residents immediately attempted a rescue effort, which proved extremely difficult in the darkness with all landmarks erased. The would-be rescuers had trouble remembering where each buried home was actually located.

In the meantime, several victims were able to dig themselves out from under the snow.United States military helicopters and the Icelandic Coast Guard arrived with 600 rescuers and dogs specially trained to locate buried people. Eventually, 20 people were pulled out alive. One woman was saved after being stuck completely motionless for eight hours. The last survivor to be found, an 11-year-old girl, was rescued 11 hours after the avalanche. It took two days to locate all the bodies.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: According to U.S. intelligence, North Korea could shoot a missile capable of striking Alaska, Hawaii, and the American West Coast. North Korea has an estimated 5,000 pounds of biological and chemical weapons.

…Find a Jeannie

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Double click to see the image in a larger size.

When I was a kid, I was in love with Barbara Eden, aka “Genie”.  Perhaps you remember her, too.  She was in the television series, I Dream of Jeannie.  The premise of the story was simple enough: an astronaut (played by Larry Hagman – perhaps best known for his role as J.R. Ewing on Dallas) was stuck on a small island for a while after one of his returns from space when he happened upon a bottle buried in the sand on the beach.  He rubs the bottle and, voila!, out pops a 2000-year old genie!  (Barbara Eden certainly didn’t look like she was 2000 years old, but I guess that maybe genies don’t show their age like we humans do!)

He takes the genie home with him in her bottle and the show basically talks about their humorous adventures as he tries to hide her identity and as she used her powers to pull tricks on people or to get even with them for some slight.  Eventually, they fell in love and got married.  The show aired for five years and had 139 episodes.

I think that every red-blooded American male of the right age was in love with her, so I had plenty of company.

At the Greek Festival we attended a week ago, there were some vases on sale and I took this picture.  I thought they were very colorful and I wouldn’t have minded having one, but I was afraid there might have been a genie inside of it and I wasn’t sure how I’d explain that to my wife if there was a genie in there!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1948, Betty Ferreri killed her husband, Jerry, in their Los Angeles, California, home with the help of house caretaker Alan Adron. When Jerry, a notorious womanizer, brought a young model to the couple’s home in the upscale Hancock Park neighborhood, Betty became upset and threatened him with a large wrench. Although Jerry fled, Betty was worried that he would return in a violent state, so she asked for Adron’s assistance. When Jerry later returned, he began dragging Betty by her hair. Adron shot him twice, but the gun jammed before he was dead, so Betty finished him off with a meat cleaver, striking him in the head 23 times.

Betty and Jerry met in New Jersey in the early 1940s. Although Betty’s parents disapproved, she and Jerry, a small-time thief and the son of a well-connected New York politico, eloped and moved to Los Angeles. Jerry rarely worked, but his parents gave them enough money so that they could buy a 15-room house in Hancock Park.

But their marriage had more than its share of problems. Beating Betty on a regular basis, Jerry once asked his wife to have sexual relations with an auto mechanic to pay off a bill he owed. When she refused, he ruptured her eardrum. Then, angry about the doctor’s bill, he struck her other ear, reportedly saying, “Maybe he’ll give you two for the price of one.” On another occasion, he brought a puppy home for the couple’s young child but then killed the poor animal with a baseball bat in front of the boy. Despite the clear evidence of abuse, prosecutors decided to charge Betty Ferreri and Alan Adron with premeditated murder.

At first, the defendants’ attorney wanted to claim that Adron was mentally incompetent and unable to stand trial. But Adron refused and hired his own lawyer, who argued that he was only insane at the time of the killing. Due to the salacious details about Jerry’s prodigious exploits with other women, the trial became the talk of the town.

In 1949, both Betty Ferreri and Alan Adron were acquitted.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  The NSF estimates that a human brain produces as many as 12,000 to 50,000 thoughts per day, depending on how deep a thinker a person is. Most of the so-called random daily thoughts are about our social environment and ourselves.

A Picture I Like

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No fancy story today, just a photo that I rather liked.  I shot it in a Greek Orthodox church this past Saturday at the Greek Festival in Cumming, GA.  I intentionally focused in on the small standing object with the one to the front right blurred.  This is one technique photographers use in order to add intrigue to a photo, but mostly to focus the eye on what they want the viewer to see.  I thought the chalice that is out of focus also added to the color of the image, making it more pleasing to the eye.  If you have a camera that allows you to do this, I encourage you to give it a try!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1921 in the French town of Chalons-sur-Marne, an American officer selected the body of the first “Unknown Soldier” to be honored among the approximately 77,000 United States servicemen killed on the Western Front during World War I.

According to the official records of the Army Graves Registration Service deposited in the U.S. National Archives in Washington, four bodies were transported to Chalons from the cemeteries of Aisne-Marne, Somme, Meuse-Argonne and Saint-Mihiel. All were great battlegrounds, and the latter two regions were the sites of two offensive operations in which American troops took a leading role in the decisive summer and fall of 1918. As the service records stated, the identity of the bodies was completely unknown: “The original records showing the internment of these bodies were searched and the four bodies selected represented the remains of soldiers of which there was absolutely no indication as to name, rank, organization or date of death.”

The four bodies arrived at the Hotel de Ville in Chalons-sur-Marne on October 23, 1921. At 10 o’clock the next morning, French and American officials entered a hall where the four caskets were displayed, each draped with an American flag. Sergeant Edward Younger, the man given the task of making the selection, carried a spray of white roses with which to mark the chosen casket. According to the official account, Younger “entered the chamber in which the bodies of the four Unknown Soldiers lay, circled the caskets three times, then silently placed the flowers on the third casket from the left. He faced the body, stood at attention and saluted.”

Bearing the inscription “An Unknown American who gave his life in the World War,” the chosen casket traveled to Paris and then to Le Havre, France, where it would board the cruiser Olympia for the voyage across the Atlantic. Once back in the United States, the Unknown Soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  The moon’s gravity has slowed the speed of Earth’s rotation. Long ago, it was much faster and days were much shorter.

…My Changing Room!

Click twice to see a larger version of this image.
Click twice to see a larger version of this image.

Do you remember the rotary dial phone?  Or, I can do you one better than that!  When I was a kid living out on the farm in Iowa, we had one of those kind of phones that hung on the wall and you would turn the crank to call “Central”.  Then  you’d tell them who you wanted to talk with and they would connect you by plugging a wire in from a jack that represented your phone to a jack that represented someone else’s phone.  Archaic, but it worked (and you could even talk to Central if they weren’t too busy!)

There are lots of things that have come and gone during my lifetime: black and white TV, “rabbit ears”, 8-track tapes, Studebakers, Edsels, Nash Ramblers, bobby sox, poodle skirts and for a while at least (until they were resurrected!!!), Twinkies!

Another thing that you no longer find around in as much profusion as once was the case is phone booths. Remember when you could pull into any gas station or shopping area and there’d be phone booths where you could make a local call for a dime?  And there was always a big, fat phone book there, too, so you could look up the phone number or address?  Now, you can hardly find one!  And if you do, it’s a safe bet that there’s no phone and no phone book inside!  Just like in today’s photo.

This phone booth is here at the RV park where we are staying.  There’s no phone.  There’s no phone book.  But it’s still here.  Why?  Because they wanted to leave my changing room intact for when the world needs…SUPERMAN!  And I’m grateful…otherwise, I’d have to change out in the open!!!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1934, Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd was shot by FBI agents in a cornfield in East Liverpool, Ohio. Floyd, who had been a hotly pursued fugitive for four years, used his last breath to deny his involvement in the infamous Kansas City Massacre, in which four officers were shot to death at a train station. He died shortly thereafter.

Charles Floyd grew up in a small town in Oklahoma. When it became impossible to operate a small farm in the drought conditions of the late 1920s, Floyd tried his hand at bank robbery. He soon found himself in a Missouri prison for robbing a St. Louis payroll delivery. After being paroled in 1929, he learned that Jim Mills had shot his father to death. Since Mills, who had been acquitted of the charges, was never heard from or seen again, Floyd was believed to have killed him.

Moving on to Kansas City, Floyd got mixed up with the city’s criminal community. A prostitute gave Floyd the nickname “Pretty Boy,” which he hated. Along with a couple of friends he had met in prison, he robbed banks in Missouri and Ohio, but was eventually caught in Ohio and sentenced to 12-15 years. On the way to prison, Floyd kicked out a window and jumped from the speeding train. He made it to Toledo, where he hooked up with Bill “The Killer” Miller.

The two went on a crime spree across several states until Miller was killed in a spectacular firefight in Bowling Green, Ohio, in 1931. Once he was back in Kansas City, Floyd killed a federal agent during a raid and became a nationally known criminal figure. This time he escaped to the backwoods of Oklahoma. The locals there, reeling from the Depression, were not about to turn in an Oklahoma native for robbing banks. Floyd became a Robin Hood-type figure, staying one step ahead of the law. Even the Joads, characters in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, spoke well of Floyd.

However, not everyone was so enamored with “Pretty Boy.” Oklahoma’s governor put out a $6,000 bounty on his head. On June 17, 1933, when law enforcement officials were ambushed by a machine-gun attack in a Kansas City train station while transporting criminal Frank Nash to prison, Floyd’s notoriety grew even more. Although it was not clear whether or not Floyd was responsible, both the FBI and the nation’s press pegged the crime on him nevertheless. Subsequently, pressure was stepped up to capture the illustrious fugitive, and the FBI finally got their man in October 1934.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Burying coffins also means that 90,272 tons of steel, 2,700 tons of copper and bronze, and over 30 million feet of hard wood covered in toxic laminates are also buried per year. However, a British company called “Ecopod” offers coffins made from 100% recycled paper.

…Is For Horses!

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Double click image for a larger version of the photo.

The English language is such a strange and bizarre beast.  We have many different words that are pronounced the same and one must understand the context in which they are used to know which word was meant.  For example, there, their, they’re, or too, to, two.  The word weather is pronounced the same as whether.  I, eye, aye…you get the idea.  Is it any wonder than many think English is perhaps one of the hardest languages in the world to learn?

Then we have hay and hey.  And we have quaint little sayings, too, like “Hay is for horses.”  And just in case you didn’t believe it, maybe today’s photo, taken at the petting pen at the Cumming Greek Festival, will prove it to you!

Cute horse, hey?

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  on a dark day in history in 1941, German soldiers went on a rampage, killing thousands of Yugoslavian civilians, including whole classes of schoolboys.

Despite attempts to maintain neutrality at the outbreak of World War II, Yugoslavia finally succumbed to signing a “friendship treaty” with Germany in late 1940, finally joining the Tripartite “Axis” Pact in March 1941. The masses of Yugoslavians protested this alliance, and shortly thereafter the regents who had been trying to hold a fragile confederacy of ethnic groups and regions together since the creation of Yugoslavia at the close of World War I fell to a coup, and the Serb army placed Prince Peter into power. The prince-now the king–rejected the alliance with Germany-and the Germans retaliated with the Luftwaffe bombing of Belgrade, killing about 17,000 people.

With Yugoslavian resistance collapsing, King Peter removed to London, setting up a government-in-exile. Hitler then began to carve up Yugoslavia into puppet states, primarily divided along ethnic lines, hoping to win the loyalty of some-such as the Croats-with the promise of a postwar independent state. (In fact, many Croats did fight alongside the Germans in its battle against the Soviet Union.) Hungary, Bulgaria, and Italy all took bites out of Yugoslavia, as Serb resisters were regularly massacred. On October 21, in Kragujevac, 2,300 men and boys were murdered; Kraljevo saw 7,000 more killed by German troops, and in the region of Macva, 6,000 men, women, and children were murdered.

Serb partisans, fighting under the leadership of the socialist Josef “Tito” Brozovich, won support from Britain and aid from the USSR in their battle against the occupiers. “The people just do not recognize authority…they follow the Communist bandits blindly,” complained one German official reporting back to Berlin.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  It is still a hanging offense in Texas to steal cattle or to put graffiti on someone else’s cow. It is also illegal to indecently expose or swear in front of a corpse in Texas. In Galveston, Texas, it is illegal to have a camel run loose on the beach. (There are so many bizarre facts about Texas….it was hard to pick just a few!)

Misty Lake

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Double click for a larger version of the picture.

I have always been fascinated by fog and mist.  I love it when it is foggy (as long as I don’t have to drive in it!)  And I find the mist rising up off the surface of a lake interesting, too, as it twists in the gentle breezes, here for a moment and then gone again.

But what causes it?  Here’s what National Geographic says about mist (and it’s close relative, fog):

Mist is tiny droplets of water hanging in the air. These droplets form when warmer water in the air is rapidly cooled, causing it to change from invisible gas to tiny visible water droplets.

Mist often forms when warmer air over water suddenly encounters the cooler surface of land. However, mist can also form when warm air from land suddenly encounters cooler air over the ocean. This is the cause of the summer fog in San Francisco, California. You can even create mist yourself, as you probably know, when you exhale the warm air from your body into the cold air.

Mist is a lot like its cousin, fog. The difference between the two depends on how well you can see. Mist is less dense than fog. If you can’t see beyond one kilometer (two-thirds of a mile) in front of you, it’s fog that’s clouding your vision. If you can see more than that, it’s just mist.

I shot this photo last week at the lake here by the place we are staying.  It was morning and the sun was just hitting the trees in the background.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1944, two liquid gas tanks explode in Cleveland, Ohio, killing 130 people, on this day in 1944. It took all of the city’s firefighters to bring the resulting industrial fire under control.

At 2:30 p.m., laboratory workers at the East Ohio Gas Company spotted white vapor leaking from the large natural gas tank at the company plant near Lake Erie. The circular tank had a diameter of 57 feet and could hold 90 million cubic feet of the highly flammable gas. Ten minutes later, a massive and violent explosion rocked the entire area. Flames went as high as 2,500 feet in the air. Everything in a half-mile vicinity of the explosion was completely destroyed.

Shortly afterwards, a smaller tank also exploded. The resulting out-of-control fire necessitated the evacuation of 10,000 people from the surrounding area. Every firefighting unit in Cleveland converged on the East Ohio Gas site. It still took nearly an entire day to bring the fire under control. When the flames went out, rescue workers found that 130 people had been killed by the blast and nearly half of the bodies were so badly burned that they could not be identified. Two hundred and fifteen people were injured and required hospitalization.

The explosion had destroyed two entire factories, 79 homes in the surrounding area and more than 200 vehicles. The total bill for damages exceeded $10 million. The cause of the blast had to do with the contraction of the metal tanks: The gas was stored at temperatures below negative 250 degrees and the resulting contraction of the metal had caused a steel plate to rupture.

Newer and safer techniques for storing gas and building tanks were developed in the wake of this disaster.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Hawaii is the only state that is not geographically located in North America, is completely surrounded by water, and does not have a straight line in its state boundary.

…Hittin’ the Bottle

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There are things that I just can’t stand to see.  For example, when commercials come on television that feature video of dogs in cages or dogs that have been mistreated – I can’t watch them.  I know that they’re trying to raise money, but that’s not why I can’t watch.  It’s that I can’t stand to see the misery of these creatures that have so much love to give.

To be honest, I really can’t stand to see any animals being mistreated or harmed.  I know that there are many others who feel the same way about animals that I do.

And that brings me to today’s photo that I took just Saturday at the 10th Annual Greek Festival that is held here in Cumming, GA each fall.  This was the first time we went to the festival and it was a good time.  We’d not had a weekend in a long time where I’d been home for both Saturday and Sunday and this was just the ticket.  There were booths of crafts and other things you could buy, live music and Greek food.  There was also a Greek Orthodox church there that was open and offering tours.  We didn’t take the tour, but we did learn lots of fascinating things about icons (some of which I’ll share in future posts).  But, I digress…

As I walked around, I came across a small enclosure where there were animals that the little ones could pet…and that’s where I got today’s photo.  It just broke my heart to think that humans would entice these creatures to hit the bottle.  Shame on our species….who would think of doing such a thing!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1991, fire began in the hills of Oakland, California. It burned thousands of homes and killed 25 people. Despite the fact that fires had ravaged the same area three times earlier in the century, people continued to build homes there.

Fires had previously raged through the hills in 1923, 1970 and 1980. Each time, the fires occurred during autumn in a year with relatively little precipitation, and, each time, the residents rebuilt and moved back in as soon as possible. The deadly 1991 fire can be traced to a small fire at 7151 Buckingham Boulevard on October 18. Firefighters responded quickly and thought they had brought the blaze under control. However, heat from the fire had caused pine needles to fall from the trees and cover the ground.

When highly flammable debris, also known as “duff,” accumulates on the ground, fires can smolder unseen. At 10:45 a.m. on October 19, strong winds blew one of these unseen fires up a hillside; changing wind patterns then caused it to spread in different directions.

The winds were so intense and the area was so dry that within an hour close to 800 buildings were on fire. The wind then blew southwest, pushing the fire toward San Francisco Bay. In some places, the temperature reached 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, making it virtually impossible to fight the fire effectively. Homeowners attempted to hose down their roofs, but were often thwarted when water pipes burst from the fire. Also, many homes had wooden shingle roofs that were particularly susceptible to fire—it took only 10 minutes in some cases for a house to be brought down by the flames.

Firefighting efforts were constrained by the fact that the affected homes were located on steep hills with very narrow streets. This made it difficult to maintain radio communications and to move large fire engines close to the flames. The fire spread so rapidly that firefighters were unable to establish a perimeter. When the fire was finally contained the following day, 25 people had lost their lives, 150 people were injured and 3,000 homes and 1,500 acres had been consumed. The total tally of damages was $1.5 billion.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  The first Google storage was made from Legos. Google needed an expandable and cheap way to house 10 4GB hard drives.

Pictures and Thoughts from a Day in Galen Dalrymple's Life

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