..on the Edge

Double click to see an enlarged version
Double click to see an enlarged version

What would constitute living life on the edge for you?  For some, like the two guys who just finished free-climbing El Capitan in Yosemite National Park (supposed to be the world’s most difficult free-climb), it is probably free climbing dangerous places.  That’s a bit too much on the edge for me.  I mean, it took them 19 days…going straight up a 3000 foot vertical rise with just ropes to catch you if you fall, but not to help you climb…well, it’s just not my idea of fun.  Nor is hanging from pitons driven into a rock inside a tent during storms and night and high winds and freezing temperatures.  Nope, they can have it!

Today’s picture is more like my idea of living on the edge.  This house is right on the coast in northern California.  It looks like a fairly stable place…lots of rock for the foundation.  But there are plenty of homes in California that are built too close to sandy cliffs that erode and every year when the storms come in (if they do – rain that is!) the cliffs erode and the houses are either threatened or actual slide down the cliff into the sea.  Now that’s just plain stupid.  I don’t want that kind of living on the edge, either.  So, maybe I’m just better off not living so close to the ledge in any way at all!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1969, an explosion aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise killed 27 people in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. A rocket accidentally detonated, destroying 15 planes and injuring more than 300 people.

The Enterprise was the first-ever nuclear-powered aircraft carrier when it was launched in 1960. It has eight nuclear reactors, six more than all subsequent nuclear carriers. The massive ship is over 1,100 feet long and carries 4,600 crew members.

At 8:19 a.m. on January 14, a MK-32 Zuni rocket that was loaded on an F-4 Phantom jet overheated due to the exhaust from another vehicle. The rocket blew up, setting off a chain reaction of explosions. Fires broke out across the deck of the ship, and when jet fuel flowed into the carrier’s interior, other fires were sparked. Many of the Enterprise’s fire-protection features failed to work properly, but the crew worked heroically and tirelessly to extinguish the fire.

In all, 27 sailors lost their lives and another 314 were seriously injured. Although 15 aircraft (out of the 32 stationed on the Enterprise at the time) were destroyed by the explosions and fire, the Enterprise itself was never threatened.

The USS Enterprise was repaired over several months at Pearl Harbor and returned to action later in the year.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Cocaine hydrochloride, the purified chemical from the leaves of the coca plant, was the main active ingredient in several tonics and elixirs produced for a variety of illnesses in the early 1900s. One product, Tucker’s Asthma Specific, contained 420 milligrams of cocaine per ounce of the medicine.


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