Stairway for the Stars

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

Along the 17-Mile Drive on California’s northern coast there is an iconic Monterey cypress tree that stands, seemingly in defiance, of the wind and weather that sometimes batters the coastline.  It is world famous – a very highly photographed spot.  We stopped there during out trip to CA over the holidays and I did take pictures of it (which I’ll share one of these days) but after shooting it, I turned around and looked at the stairway behind us that we’d just descended.  It was an off-an-on cloudy/sunny day and the zig-zag nature of the stairs and shadows inter-playing together made for a nice composition.

I would imagine that numerous famous folk (stars, politicians, athletes, and of course – ME!) – have walked these stairs)!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  In 1889, Hideki Tojo, prime minister of Japan during the war, was born in Tokyo.

After graduating from the Imperial Military Academy and the Military Staff College, Tojo was sent to Berlin as Japan’s military attache after World War I. Having already earned a reputation for sternness and discipline, Tojo was given command of the 1st Infantry Regiment upon return to Japan. In 1937, he was made chief of staff of the Kwantung Army in Manchuria, China. Returning again to his homeland, Tojo assumed the office of vice-minister of war and quickly took the lead in the military’s increasing control of Japanese foreign policy, advocating the signing of the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy in 1940 that made Japan an “Axis” power. In July of 1940, he was made minister of war and soon clashed with the Prime Minister, Prince Fumimaro Konoye, who had been fighting to reform his government by demilitarizing its politics. In October, Konoye resigned because of increasing tension with Tojo, who succeeded as prime minister while holding on to his offices of army minister and war minister, and assuming the offices of minister of commerce and of industry as well.

Tojo, now a virtual dictator, quickly promised a “New Order in Asia,” and toward this end supported the bombing of Pearl Harbor despite the misgivings of several of his generals. Tojo’s aggressive policies paid big dividends early on, with major territorial gains in Indochina and the South Pacific. But despite Tojo’s increasing control over his own country, even assuming the position of the chief of the general staff, he could not control the determination of the United States, which began beating back the Japanese in the South Pacific. When Saipan fell to the U.S. Marines and Army, Tojo’s government collapsed. Upon Japan’s surrender, Tojo tried to commit suicide by shooting himself with an American .38 pistol but was saved by an American physician who gave him a transfusion of American blood. He lived only to be convicted of war crimes by an international tribunal—and was hanged on December 22, 1948.

Asao Uchida portrayed him in the 1970 film Tora! Tora! Tora!.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Some Mexican free-tailed bats can fly up to 250 miles in a single night. They can fly up to 10,000 feet high and reach speeds up to 60 miles per hour.

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