When You Can’t Beat Them Ban Them

In the most recent international case of taking the ball and going home, the IOC ban the entire Russian Olympic Team from participating in 2018 Winter Olympics.  Not like I care all that much about the Sucklympics, winter or summer.  Those that live in the USA, don’t get to see much, only sports in which the US has a chance to medal in.  The rest of the world if there is a rest of the world, could stay home and few here would notice.

The banning of Russian athletes and officials, and the nations flag from the Sucklympics is political.  There’s a lot of butt hurt in the world and the IOC isn’t exactly an ethical organization, plenty of scandals related to how it does things or doesn’t do things for money.  I suppose next to politicians and FIFA there’s no other organizations as corrupt or greedy.  The effects of having been a host nation and the onerous cost of associated with that dubious honor one has to wonder why bother.

The stupidity of banning the nation is there goes a large market that your sponsors hoped to reach with their message.  If Russia, appeals and they most likely will, they will of course lose, that’s been decided by political fiat.  Then perhaps Russia, will not televise the events.  That’s not going to go down well with the sponsors.  Even so it’s not just Russian athletes that have used PED’s, not be a long shot.  Yet, Russian is the only country that is punished as a whole rather than  individual persons caught cheating.  Don’t look for this precedent to be repeated with other nations.  That’s not going to happen.   Will it be worth even watching the Sucklympics without Russia?

Does winning mean as much if you’re not competing against all other athletes?  Sure you can say that beat everybody that was allowed to play, and I guess that’s worth some big endorsement money right?  Yeah! after pressuring the IOC a country can claim that they beat some of the worlds best.

 

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What Comes Around Goes Around

In a move that should surprise no one, especially the US mainstream media, Russia, has retaliated and now requires that Voice of America, and Radio Free Europe register as foreign agents.  Of course both of these broadcaster were major propaganda arms of the west and still are today.  I cannot say that Radio Free Europe is financed by any particular government however, Voice of America, is a financed by the US government, and it does carry an obvious slant.  It’s supposed to have that slant.  We do things differently over here for the most part.

RT has a slant, it too is financed by the government of Russia.  It’s not a extraordinary requiring extraordinary evidence.   What’s amazing is that the minuscule audience share that RT has and the incredibly disproportionate affect attributed to the Russians on the US electorate.  Both houses of Congress voted for US citizens mind you of the Republican Party, and 38(?) states voted for Governors that are also US citizens but not members of the wholly owned subsidiary of the Clinton Crime family (the DNC).  So the crime perpetrated by the Russians is that they are said to have caused the people of the United States of America, to elect citizens of the USA to be elected to office, and high office.  Offensive I know.

Rather than introspection, rather than changing their platform based on evidence provided by the most recent election; the DNC, which worked overtime, behind the scenes, to stab Bernie Sanders in the back and therefore prevent his ascension. The DNC and it’s lackey’s inflicted on the American people the one candidate that couldn’t beat the worst possible person to have ever been elected to the tarnished office of President of the United States of America.  But it’s not Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Hillary Clinton’s fault, not the fault of the Robbie Mook, or any of the other peopled Clinton blamed in her most recent book, except for the Russians.  It’s not that the people of the USA actually voted for Trump, right?

So we are left to believe that RT, a foreign agent, with a minuscule audience, a handful of trolls backed by perhaps $300,000. dollars, managed to neutralize the $1.4 billion accumulated by the Clinton Crime Family.  Not just neutralize but overcome.  And we decided to fuck with these guys?  What will the Russians do for an encore?

Well now it’s tit for tat, they have real adult diplomats; capable of critical, higher ordered thinking, and we have Nikki Haley.  It’s not a fair fight.  But we are forced to admit that the VOA is a propaganda arm of the USA to boot.  Something we all knew, and they knew, and their people knew.  We, just like we require RT to now do, have to admit to the world or cease broadcasting in Russia.  But take heart, never attribute to conspiracy what can be adequately explained by stupidity.

 

Cool Moon Globe

I came across this while doing actual work at work yesterday; no really I was working.

Moon Globe

I’m thinking I might just need this.  I know I want it but I think I NEED this, and the bottle of wine in the background  I need that too.  Imagine being the first on your block, the first of your friends to have this attractive little night light.

After reading my company’s social media policy yesterday in search of material for this web site; I was reminded, gently, that I need to make sure to distance myself from the company when making recommendations.  The relevant policy is as follows.

You must make clear that your opinions are yours alone and do not represent the opinions of Company A-Y-Z, , except to the extent you are specifically authorized by your supervisor to say otherwise. “These are my views, and not the views of my employer” is a good disclaimer.

While I think this is COOL.  The company for which I work would like it to be known  that is my opinion, and that opinion isn’t necessarily agreeable in the eyes of corporate.  I do not work for the company that makes this globe, and I will not receive any remuneration from the creators, manufacturers, distributors, etc.  Not a red cent.  Also I’m not gong to divulge the name of my employer unless I’m rendered or under threat imminent of torture.

Captain Santa and the Christmas Tree Ship

Written by Captain Killjoy.

DUBUQUE TELEGRAPH-HERLD

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 1912 PAGE 14

SCHOONER IS SAFE

ROUSE SIMMONS, LONG OVERDUE, IS SIGHTED ON LAKE MICHIGAN.

Chicago, – Nov. 29.–The schooner Rouse Simmons, laden with Christmas greens, long over-due here, is safe at Bailey’s Point, 175 miles north of here, on her way to Chicago.

If it sounds to good to be true it probably is.

schuenemannfamily1912

 

Every year for the last couple decades, the story of the Christmas Tree Ship is told, and retold, embellished, and told again.  Like most everything attached to the Christmas holidays, the story is shaped in such a way as to increase the bottom line of merchants.  What better than a story, somewhat true, of a merchant eking out a hard scrabble existence?  That, and the fact that this captain, Hermann Schuenemann, became known along the Lake Michigan lake front and the Chicago area as Captain Santa, and alternatively Captain Christmas.  Appellations that he loved, for he was by all accounts a kind hearted individual.  No one that wanted a Christmas tree was turned away because they couldn’t afford one, not on Captain Santa’s watch.

Here is a very well written, heart warming, and yet fact laced story of the Captain, and his boat written by Glenn V. Longacre.  Mr. Longacre spent a great amount of time researching the story and it shows.  I rely heavily on his work to present this jaded version.  Jaded?

Yes, because as mentioned above, the story has grown into a story of love, faith and hope; centered around the traditions of Christmas celebrations of the large German immigrant community within the Iron Triangle which boundaries were Milwaukee, Wisconsin, St. Louis Missouri, and Cincinnati Ohio.  Drawing a straight lines through those cities on a map and encompassed within those boundaries the largest single group of individuals was comprised of people that recently emigrated to the USA from Germany.  Captain Schuenemann’s wife was born in Germany and traveled to the USA; to the city of Chicago.  On April 9, 1891, he married German-born Barbara Schindel; and they happily ever after.  The end.  Wait a tick.

Scheunemann himself was born in Wisconsin albeit outside of the Iron Triangle, shame, shame.  But in a city that was predominately a German Community.   This from the above referenced writings of Longacre.

The 1870 census reveals that Wisconsin native Schuenemann was born about 1865, into the middle of a growing family of six children in the predominantly German community of Ahnapee, now present-day Algoma, on the shores of Lake Michigan. His oldest brother, August, born in 1853, was the first of the children to make his living on the lake. Herman, however, soon followed in his brother’s footsteps.

Longacre, notes that shortly after the birth of the erstwhile Schuenemann, wind powered vessels sailing the great lakes was at or very near it’s zenith.  Herman’s brother August is the first in the family to take up the vocation, and because of this Herman, also enters the profession that will eventually make him a legendary figure in the annals of shipping and Christmas.   That whole erstwhile thing in a nutshell.

Fast forward to 1868 and the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin where the ship building industry has turned out yet another windjammer; the Rouse Simmons.   She’s a sleek, neatly built, triple master of 124 ft. long and  27 1/2 feet wide.  (37.8 X 8.38 meters respectively) her cargo hold is 10 ft deep (abt. 3 meters) and she weighs 244 gross tons.  Below are period pictures of the boat.

Rouse Simmons

Here is a model of the Rouse Simmons, I don’t know the name of the builder but it’s nicely done, and what the heck it’s in color.Discovery World 11 24

This is how the newly minted schooner would have looked like.  But by the time she becomes the Christmas Ship of Old, the days of windjammer sailing the lakes are numbered, and the days of the Rouse Simmons and her intrepid crew are numbered fewer.  More about that later.

The Rouse Simmons was built to carry iron ore, coal, lumber, and other such bulk cargo, although lumber is her mainstay cargo.  She was built as a working boat and that’s all she ever really was, a working boat.  No fancy appointments, no visiting VIP quarters.  Captain and crew and cargo.  In the 44 years prior to her demise she has seen her fair share of heavy weather, and had her share of scraping of the docks.  By 1910 she’s not the spry young spring chicken rather, her age is showing and she is in disrepair.  However, the good captain Schuenemann, and his partner, Capt. Christian Nelson, both purchase a 1/8 interest in her; the remainder is owned by a third partner  Mannes J. Bonner of St. James, Michigan.

Schuenemann, besides being a competent lake captain, is also a businessman of sorts.  According to the linked story one of his business ventures included the operation of a saloon.  It’s safe to say that being kind hearted was somewhat of a drawback in the cutthroat business world.  This is one guy that wouldn’t make it as an investment banker working for J.P. Morgan.  In the fish or cut bait world he would be relegate to sharpening his knife often, and so his saloon business was not a going concern.

As a small businessman, Schuenemann not only made his living on the lake, but he also owned businesses that in 1906 included a saloon. In these business endeavors, Schuenemann did not always meet with success, and on January 4, 1907, he petitioned for bankruptcy in the U.S. District Court in Chicago. Listed as a saloon keeper, Schuenemann’s debts to his creditors amounted to over $1,300, which he was unable to satisfy. This financial setback, however, does not appear to have interfered with his other role as a lake captain.

His money troubles never seem to fully evaporate but Captain Santa, always has a plan.  It’s not to say by any means that he’s a business failure.  After all there is the successful seasonal Christmas tree and greens business that he, and his brother established  and made work for several years.    Then on November 9-10, 1898 (Nov. 9-10-11 are infamous for the sheer number of killer lake storms) tragedy first strikes the Schuenemann’s Christmas concerns.  While sailing a load of Christmas trees back home to Chicago, August Schuenemann, aboard the schooner S. Thal is lost in a killer storm.  The strong storm causes the S. Thal to break up and all hands are lost.  Had it not been for the recent birth of his twin daughters Hazel, and Pearl the month before, Captain Santa would have most likely been aboard that vessel.

The Schuenemann’s were not the only lake captains peddling Christmas wares.  According to Longacre, a rough estimate places the number of boats involved in the trade may have been as high as a couple of dozen.  There are in fact photographs of other boats docked near the Rouse Simmons also selling trees, and servicing the needs of the immigrant populace.  The Rouse Simmons and Captain Santa, is the most famous.  The boat was docked near the Clark Street bridge, and it’s from here that he marketed his wares that also included wreaths, and other holiday decorations, which were made by his wife and daughters. The Simmons was festooned from stem to stern with a string or two of colorful electric Christmas tree lights, and a sign boasted “Christmas Tree Ship: My Prices are the Lowest”.  By cutting out the middleman Schuenemann was able to make good on his boast and as mentioned before he was known to have given trees away to the needy families.  His trees were priced from $0.50–$0.75 cents to a dollar.  He is said to have also placed signage to remind his customers that he would return next year with another bounty of trees.

Two Xmas ships

Compare this image to the one below, looks like the later of the two images here.  The decking is different and the window and port hole appear to be later additions.

On Friday November 22, 1912, (period newspaper accounts give the date of 21, November)  the crew of the Rouse Simmons, singled the lines and prepared to sail down bound for Chicago.  There is considerable disagreement of the number of people aboard the the boat but the Marine Review Vol 42 for the year 1912 puts the number at 16.  This from the Marine Review–the picture also taken from that source.

Schooner Rouse Simmons

Were it not for the fate that befell the little schooner, Rouse Simmons, the loss of lives on the great lakes during 1912 would have been only seventeen. As it is, it was thirty-three. Practically one-half of those who lost their lives during the season were in the little schooner. She was caught in the gale raging on Lake Michigan on Dec. 4, and never reached port. The revenue cutter Tuscarora searched for her for days but found no trace of her. She carried a cargo of Christmas trees and these are now, owing to the mild weather and absence of ice, beginning to drift ashore. The Simmons was in command of Capt. Henry (sic) Schueneman and carried a crew, all told, of sixteen men.   Simmons from Marine Review..jpgThe Rouse Simmons is looking a little worse for the wear here.

Stories abound regarding the last voyage though most are probably apocryphal.  One newspaper states that before the boat even left Chicago upbound for Manistique, Michigan; rats were reported seen deserting the boat.  I’ve included here one such account.

 

Three Sailors

THE SYRACUSE HERALD THURSDAY EVENING, DECEMBER 5, 1912

Seventeen Men Who Were Lost When Schooner Rouse Simmons Went Down Had Forebodings of Death — Rats Left the Ship While in Port.

Chicago, Dec. 5.– How the rats deserted the Christmas tree ship, Rouse Simmons, now given up as lost in Lake Michigan with seventeen men before she weighed anchor from her last port, and how her crew were weigh down by superstitious forebodings of death, was told today by one Hoganson, the only member believed to have escaped.

He is alive because he quit his post before the schooner left port. The schooner was due here November 20th. The ship was given up for lost when Captain Ewald, in charge of Pentwater lifesaving station, found wreckage consisting of a “booby” hatch and fragments of Christmas trees along the beach. The names of the men of the ship follow: Capt. Frank (sic) Schuenemann (Herman) Captain Nelson’s partner in the Christmas tree venture; Alex Johnson, first mate; Edward Minogue, Frank Sobata, Gerroge Watson, Ray Davis, Conrad Griffin, George Quinn, Edward Murphy, John Morwauski, “Stump” Morris, Greeley Peterson, Frank Faul, Edward Hogan, and Phillip Bauswein sailors.

(no mention of Mrs. Nelson wife of Capt. Nelson.)

“It was the rats that gave me my first ‘hunch’ that trouble was ahead.” said Hoganson today, telling why he left the ship just before it cleared.

“The rats had deserted the ship while it lay in the Chicago harbor. And all the way across the lake as we sailed for our cargo the saying had been ringing in my ears: ‘The rats always desert a sinking ship’

Our trip over was in as fair weather as any one could wish to see, just like midsummer. When we had filled the hold with Christmas trees, we were ordered to pile up a deckload of the saplings. The load grew and grew and still they had us pilling up more and more trees on deck.

“Then I quit. Captain Schueneman the owner of the cargo, told me I wold get no money unless I stuck for the cruise, but I had some money and so I took a train for Chicago. Here I am—and the others—–”

Captain Neilsen (sic) was worried about the ship before he left Chicago, according to Hoganson. When the rats left the Rouse Simmons, the Captain told Capt. George Demar of the Chicago harbor police that he feared it was a bad omen. The old schooner never carried such a thing as a life-boat, Hoganson said.

“Then I quit. Captain Schueneman the owner of the cargo, told me I wold get no money unless I stuck for the cruise, but I had some money and so I took a train for Chicago. Here I am—and the others—–”

Captain Neilsen (sic) was worried about the ship before he left Chicago, according to Hoganson. When the rats left the Rouse Simmons, the Captain told Capt. George Demar of the Chicago harbor police that he feared it was a bad omen. The old schooner never carried such a thing as a life-boat, Hoganson said.

The actual number of trees shipped varies widely but a reasonable estimate is between 3000-5000 a number consistent with accounts of the boats sinking.  I’ve seen other authors emphatically state 27,000–50,000.  trees aboard the boat, not likely given the small size of the boat.  Mr. Hoganson’s account gives the names of the men aboard the boat and it differs greatly from another account.  Also there are stories that tell of a group of lumberjacks hitching a ride back home aboard the unlucky schooner.  (probably apocryphal).  There simply wasn’t any room for more that the scant crew and trees.

Eyewitness accounts describe the boat as looking like a floating forest since the deck was festooned with so many saplings.   Hoganson’s retelling of the final days of the Rouse Simmons, if true, means that the boat was severely over loaded.  Besides his preoccupation with the fickle rat population, (probably apocryphal) he gives the overloaded condition of the boat as his second reason for getting off the doomed ship.  Can his account be trusted?  Well, maybe, maybe not; he gives the names of men aboard the boat on it’s fatal journey.  Those names don’t jibe with two of the names given in the note found in a bottle that washed up onshore and was found soon after the sinking.  The authenticity of the note has never been seriously questioned.   (Though given the fact that it seems to have been a cruel prank in those days for some wag to forge such a note; more about that in another post)

A bottled message was found on a beach several weeks later; it read, “Friday. Everybody goodbye. I guess we are all through. Sea washed over our deck load. During the night, the small boat washed over. Ingvald (a deck hand) and Steve (first mate) fell overboard on Thursday. God help us. Herman Schuenemann.

There is a newspaper account in which the names of Ingvald Nyhous, and Steve E. Nelson, is given as being aboard the Christmas tree ship.  That being the case I am tempted to consider this reporting as the more accurate of the bunch:

THE GOSHEN WEEKLY NEWS TIMES

FRIDAY DECEMBER 6, 1912 PAGE 5

THINK SHIP SANK IN HEAVY STORM

Hope for Crew of Ten is Abandoned.

WRECKAGE DRIFTS TO SHORE

Schooner Rouse Simmons, Laden With Christmas Trees, Believed to Have Gone Down With All on Board.

Chicago, Dec. 5.– Hope for the safety of the three-masted schooner Rouse Simmons and her crew of ten men was practically abandoned in marine circles when word reached Chicago that numerous Christmas trees, which made up the cargo of the Rouse Simmons, and bits of unmarked wreckage had drifted ashore near Pentwater, Mich.

The vessel was last reported off Kewaunee at 2:00 p.m. a week ago last Saturday, running south under full sail and flying distress signals from the foremast.

Life Savers Fight Snowstorm.

A life-saving crew from the Two Rivers station, 24 miles south of Kewaunee, immediately put out and patrolled the coast a distance of 18 miles, eight miles off shore. The crew fought its way in a blinding snow storm over the probable course of the ill-fated schooner but found no trace of her.

Renewed efforts to learn the fate of the missing boat and her crew were commenced Wednesday, when the United States Revenue cutter Tuscarora, Captain Berry, left Milwaukee harbor on request of T. A. Hanson, secretary of the Chicago Lake Seamen’s union. A wireless message from Captain Berry last night brought no hope to relatives and friends of the officers and crew. Nothing had been found.

Names of Missing.

Those missing and known to be on the Rouse Simmons when she sailed from Thompson’s pier, near Manistique, Mich., November 21, are:

Capt. Charles Nelson, skipper and part owner.

Capt. Herman Scheunemann, owner of cargo.

Steve E. Nelson, mate.

Charles Nelton, sailor.

Gilbert Svenson, sailor.

Frank Carlson, sailor.

Albert Lykstad, cook.

Ingvald Nyhous, sailor.

William Oberg, Lumber shover.

Sven Inglehart, lumber shover.

All from Chicago.

The Rouse Simmons has been chartered annually for a

number of years by Captain Scheunemann for a post season trip to the northern peninsula of Michigan for Christmas trees and holiday greens. She left Chicago about ten weeks ago with a crew of 13.  (this last bit is suspect)

There’s some back ground information lets get to the legend.

The Christmas Tree ship departs from Chicago in early November 1912.  Aboard the boat is Captain Santa, as the beloved Captain Herman Scheuenman has come to be known.  years later in 1924 when a fisherman hauls in his nets there is a little something extra therein.  Captain Scheuenman wallet protected from the water by oilskins is found.  Inside are newspaper clippings proclaiming him as Captain Santa.  He loved it.  Along with him for the trip is his partner Captain Christian Nelson, and his wife.  The boat is bound for Manistique Michigan, and the docks at nearby Thompson.

On Thursday or Friday the 20, 21st respectively the fully loaded Simmons departs from Thompson with its seasonal haul of Christmas trees and greens.  Stories tell that the good Captain put most of the families fortune into this trip so as to gain the maximum return.  Like a gambler looking for that one big sure thing, Scheunemann is also looking for a big score with which to lift him our of his financial difficulties.  The aging old tub is dangerously overloaded with saplings and maybe carrying up to 16 total souls.  Even in good weather the boat would be laboring but now circumstances border on the catastrophic.  Storms have already lashed the lake, and it’s for good reason that November has earned it reputation as deadliest month.

During the overnight Thursday, the November Witch toys with the hapless boat and her crew.  According to his last words two crewmen, Ingvald Nyhous a deck hand, and the Mate Steve E. Nelson are washed overboard by a giant wave.  I guess the mate wasn’t lashed to the wheel.  Along with those two doomed sailors, the November Witch, takes the small yawl.  There’s no escape now, and the boat is leaking badly.  One eyewitness report states that the Rouse Simmons was riding low in the water, and her sails were tattered.  She was also flying a distress signal from her formast.  Realizing all hope is lost the Captain pens his farewell note and tosses it overboard.

The boat is spotted by  Captain Nelson Craite of the Kewaunee life saving station in Kewaunee Wisconsin.  He see the schooner  about 5 or 6 miles  miles out in the lake flying the US flag at half mast.  The universally accepted signal on the Great Lakes that the boat is badly in need of assistance. It’s now about 2:50 p.m. Saturday afternoon of the 23rd. Craite writes: I immediately took the Glasses, and made out that there was a distress signal. The schooner was between 5 and 6 miles E.S.E. and blowing a Gale from the N.W.

Craite attempts to mount a rescue, he tries to locate a gas tugboat however, the tug had left the station earlier in the day.  With time running out, it would be dark soon, Craite rings up the nearest life saving station for help.  It’s now 3:10 p.m. according to the stations logs.  He telephones the Station to the south at Two Rivers, on the other end of the phone is Capt. George E. Sogge.  Craite relates the information on the forlorn schooner, and that she is headed south.  When he hangs up the phone the Simmons has disappeared from sight, closed off by the blowing snow.

Upon receipt of the news Capt. Sogge orders his surfmen to launch the stations powerboat.  When the powerboat reaches the approximate position where the schooner should be they find no trace of her.  Darkness, and heavy snow coupled with writhing seas make it near impossible to find her.  Reluctantly they return back to base empty-handed.

In the days there after a booby hatch is found on shore along with hundreds of Christmas trees and other assorted wreckage.  Even in death Capt. Santa was still giving away free Christmas trees.  For years after the story goes that fishermen had their nets fouled with trees in that part of the lake.

Das Boot

The cargo hold still contains the remains of Christmas trees.

Diver and tree

Bad news on the door step

There’s more to the story but that’s another post.

TO DARE LAKE’S WINTRY BLAST

FATHER’S DEATH WITH THE CHRISTMAS TREE SHIP DOES NOT TERRIFY GIRL.

WILL SAIL FOR FORTUNE

Another Cargo Will Be Secured at Once and Brought Across Michigan for Holiday Market.

Special to Plain Dealer

CHICAGO, took Ill., Dec. 9.—Lake Michigan took Captain Herman Schuenneman’s life. Lake Michigan must make reparation to Herman Schuenneman’s family—at least such paltry reparation as can be measured in dollars and cents in the face of bereavement that is theirs.

For when Captain Schuenemann went to the bottom of the lake with the Christmas tree ship, the Rouse Simmons, he took with him practically all the family’s fortune, invested as it was in the spruce saplings that were to have brought a golden harvest. Elsie Schuenemann, the captain’s 17-year-old daughter, is the new skipper of the family, and yesterday she told of her plans to make the wintry lake and the snowbound forests of Michigan give back at least the financial part of what they lost when the Rouse Simmons went down in the ante-Thanksgiving gale. “We are going to get another boat,” said Miss Schuenemann. “We must get it right away, because the time for gathering and marketing Christmas trees and greens isn’t long now. And when we have chartered it we are going back to Michigan and get an even bigger cargo of spruce and balsam saplings than my father loaded onto the Rouse Simmons. “I am a sailor. I have made many a voyage with my father and it may be that I shall take a personal command of the new boat. Possibly I will be unable to leave my mother and the other children, but I am going after the trees myself, if I can, and if I cannot I shall be represented by an agent whom I can trust.”

This was the only ray of cheer or hope that penetrated the Schuenemann home at 1838 north Clark street yesterday.

Coming Back Home

Scouting around to find a feel good story with which to close out this work week I came up with this.

BACK HOME

A 1924 Sterling fire truck, manufactured by Peter Pirsch & Sons Co. of Kenosha that served the Jefferson Fire Department for 44 years arrived home Tuesday, Oct. 31. The department won the truck in an auction with a bid of $8,500. Above, firefighter and “ace mechanic” Nick Drew steers the truck as it’s unloaded into the Jefferson Fire Department apparatus bay Oct. 31.
Reads the caption accompanying the picture.

The neighboring city of Jefferson, Wisconsin repurchased an antique, restored fire truck that it had once purchased before.  In 1923 the city went looking for just such a truck and found it.  The cost back then was $5,850 in terms of today’s money that is equal to an expenditure of $84,384.71 however, as the article points out modern fire suppression equipment cost isn’t linear.  The cost to the city along with 5 municipalities that contract for fire suppression services for a modern fire truck recently purchased in 2016 was $550,000 .

The antique fire truck left Jefferson, back in 1968 and eventually found it’s way to Oklahoma

“After very thorough and careful consideration, we have concluded that the Sterling Motor Truck bid in the sum of $5,850 is the most suitable apparatus for the particular needs of our city,” the committee said, according to minutes from the meeting.

The truck was manufactured by Peter Pirsch & Sons Co. of Kenosha. The specifications sheet is dated March 11, 1924.

Two months later, the completed truck was stamped with the date May 10, 1924, and it was sent on its way to Jefferson.

According to the May 22, 1924, edition of The Jefferson Banner, the truck arrived on Monday, May 19 (see photo on A5).

The Jefferson Banner’s photo caption lists some of the accompanying equipment: “It is equipped with one 50-foot and one 40-foot extension ladder and single ladders of the following lengths: 28 feet, 25 feet, 24 feet, 20 feet, two 16 foot, and one 12 foot. There is a pull-down hook with chain, rope and pole, hose shutoff and door opener, two three-gallon fire extinguishers, crowbars, fire axes, pike poles, crotch and lifting poles, wall pick, shovels, wire cutter, pitch forks, tin roof cutter, lanterns, special bell and siren horn, search light, 40-gallon chemical tank, 200-foot chemical hose and nozzle, necessary wrenches, etc.”

Eventually the fire truck made it’s way into the collection of John Lewis and was displayed in a privately owned museum that was open to the public and free of charge.

The collection was displayed in the Lewis Fire, Transportation and Farm Museum in Lawton, Okla. Lewis established the free, private museum with his wife, Jane, in 1986. . . In one of the letters, dated Aug. 22, 1990, Lewis explained that he had built an additional building for the museum and Jefferson’s truck was “the center attraction in that building.”. . .

To make a long story short the city of Jefferson, wanted the truck and  funds were approved up to $10,000 and an additional $3000 for transportation costs.  During the bidding an announcement was made to the audience that a representative from the city of Jefferson was on the phone and they wanted to bring antique fire truck back home.

Around 3:30 p.m. that day, a man who had attended the auction called the fire station.

According to the man, he was standing next to Jefferson’s truck when Moore stopped the auction to announce to the attendees that “Jefferson was on the phone and they wanted to bring their truck home.”

Moore apparently explained that a Jefferson representative was unable to be present because of a large festival in town, but that the department was bidding online and currently were on the phone.

“Somebody in the crowd, we don’t know who, started a chant, ‘Send it home!’ and the bidding stopped and we were awarded the truck,” Wegner explained. “We do know that there were others that were interested in this truck and, I think, quite frankly, they got blackmailed by whoever was chanting in the crowd.”

The truck arrived at the fire house on October 31 late in the afternoon.  By 11:51 that evening the engine was running and a magical mystical moment was shared by those that have love for the past.  Donations are being accept to help payoff the costs of buying and shipping the truck back home.

Oh How the Mighty Have Fallen

Goodbye Matt Lauer, and good riddance.  I don’t Matt, never did, he seemed like a prick, not unlike many other pricks I’ve met in my life.   A sycophant the type that makes life miserable for the people working under them.  This was of course all due to my own bias, and not because I had knowledge.  Furthermore watching television isn’t my cup of tea and that’s where Mr. Lauer can, could be found.  Not anymore.  Goodbye Matt, we hardly knew ye.

One of Matt’s co-workers has alleged that Matt’s been a naughty boy.  The allegations are very serious and I will not make light of them.  What ever happened took place in Sochi Russia, (Hmmmm) during the Winter Olympics.

CNN said that reporters for The New York Times had been investigating Lauer for several weeks, according to sources who had been contacted by the Times. The firing removes one of the most recognizable personalities on television, and at aa time when morning news programs are increasingly important to network news divisions.

The NY Post reports that Lauer allegedly sexually assaulted a female NBC staffer during the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.

In the face of this news NBC has acted quickly and dispatched Mr. Lauer to the unemployment line.  Lauer, was sacked late Tuesday evening and this morning the his co-workers, still in shock, shared their disbelief.  They are sad for Matt.  Uh, how about that victim that had to endure is assault and live in the shadow of that for the past almost three years?  Having to work in the same building, and perhaps even in the same room with her/his assailant.  Since the alleged assault took place in another country it’s doubtful that Lauer, will be hauled before the Bar.

As of now, there’s no word or comment from Lauer.  That the victim had the courage to come forward is probably due in part to the fallout from Harvey Weinstein, the once powerful mover and shaker that finally fell to earth.  He and a whole host of high and mighty types.  In light of that,  I have to wonder if Matt, saw this coming?  Did Nostradamus, see this coming, and if he did did he write a quatrain?

 

Run for the Hills–North Korea Launches Yet Another Missile

Those pesky North Korean’s are at it again.  Not content to lay low any longer Kim and Co. decided to stir the pot.  The NYT head lines reads as if the Koreans fired the missile as an a front to DOTUS (Dotard of the United States).  Missile launch yawn.  Why not throw in a electrical magnetic pulse attack (EMP) reference or two while they are at it.  At least the NYT did include a scary graphic to get the juices flowing.

 

North Koreans Lauching Rockets

Not the graphic included with the New York Times story.  But that guy in the middle looks sort of Korean–sort of.

 

North Korea Fires a Ballistic Missile, in Further Challenge to Trump

Well as long as it just a challenge to Trump Ima okay with that.  I’m a big fan of doom porn, but this story didn’t trip any of my sensors.

North Korea has persisted in its nuclear weapons and missile development despite nine rounds of sanctions that the Security Council has imposed since its first nuclear test in 2006. The country has also made strides in its ballistic missile program since Mr. Kim took power in late 2011. It tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs, in July, the last of which demonstrated the potential of reaching the mainland United States. (or not)

Nine rounds of sanctions! what’s holding her together!  It’s probably true what Vladimir Putin said.  They will eat eggplant  grass.  Well it’s probably not too late to make a half hearted attempt at uh, diplomacy?  After all just look at the missile arsenal that N. Korea possesses.  Christ! I see a Jolly Roger in there, that one must be meant for God’s Country. (USA)  Is it some kind of coincidence that the North Koreans are test ICBM’s after Estes Rockets released the ultra powerful F-Series.  I mean the D-12 3 was bad enough, and I was the first to raise the warning that should that solid fuel technology fall into nefarious hands we’d be in deep kimchi or should that be kimchi deep?

Well now that the F-Series engines are here it’s just a matter of time.  Scrub that the G-Series ICBM motor‘s are now available on line.  Good thing we have sanctions in place– it seems almost any body can buy these things.  Almost.

Estes RocketsSleep tight tonight America

 

 

Whitewater High School Bomb Threat Ends Safely

For the fourth time this school year the authorities in near by Whitewater, Wisconsin have had to investigate a threat of some nature to the local high school.  This time it was a bomb threat.  The threat resulted in a lock-down which resulted in the cancellation of classes as the “investigation” dragged on.  I should mention this incident also required the Aquatic Center, next door to go to DEFCON 4, draw up the moat, and get the bombers in the air.

. . . the district administrator did not have a record of how many students went home.

“The longer it went, the more people got picked up,” Elworthy said. “If the turn-around would have been a little bit faster, I think maybe more people would have stayed.”

Once the school was evacuated, law enforcement officials, with the assistance of staff, conducted a complete search of the building and parking lots.

Agencies involved in the threat assessment included the Whitewater Police Department, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Police, UW-Madison Police and Walworth County Sheriff’s Office.

Specifically, UW-Whitewater Police Officer Kelsey Servi and her K-9 partner,Truus, and UW-Madison Police Officer Nic Banuelos and his K-9 partner Maya were involved in the search process.  (this is going to look real come budget time)

Police officials stated that no suspicious devices were found and students were allowed to return to the school at around 1:45 p.m.

There, they were served lunch and then had an opportunity to collect in their homerooms for some study time

As you can tell from reading above paragraph everybody and his aunt Nellie, showed up to get in on the action.  When the time comes to hash out the coming budget for the PD, each group is going to use this gross over-reaction to justify the need to kick up their budgets into the stratosphere  (flatosphere if you’re a flat earther).  Sadly, the need to hyperventilate is tied to Columbine, and other school shootings, and other other shootings, that have become all too common place in these United States.

Twice in the previous school year the school was placed on luck down.  Once in February, when two suspicious packages were found, and later determined to be not so suspicious after all.  I wonder if they contained confectioners sugar?  Were they marked?–“Warning this is a suspicious package!” Nevertheless life returned to normal.

Subsequently in April, Whitewater High School, Whitewater Middle School and Lincoln Elementary School were placed on lockdown and eventual evacuations after reports of an apparently upset parent who planned to visit the middle school. The situation concluded after a subject was arrested following a 4.5-hour beat down standoff with police in a home near the schools.

Prior to the incident that same day, the schools already had been on “soft lockdown” during a manhunt for a Janesville burglary suspect who also was believed to have sent a threatening 161-page manifesto to President Donald Trump.

If you’re going to lock down, why not go the full nine yards and way overreact.  So at the first opportunity, in this case a irate parent that mistakenly butt dials the school, gets it.  And by the way, that 4.5 hour beat down looks real good come budge time too.  It’s a scary world out there,  be scared.  Be real scared.  Okay so that two real world incidences of the good guys staving off the (would be) terrorists, let see what else happened.   Wait a tick, that’s three near death experiences (NDE’s).  The first and the one that kicked off this school year occurred in October.

For the 2017-18 school year, the first incident occurred on Thursday, Oct. 5, when a student reported that another student was in the hallway with a knife.

Reports of the alleged incident prompted district officials to initiate a hold/lock investigation and search of Whitewater High School.

The investigation also resulted in a hold/lock at Whitewater Middle School and precautions were taken at Lincoln Elementary School due to its proximity to the high school.

Classes resumed during this time; however, the school was on lockdown. No weapons were found.

Yes, I realize that in these post Columbine times some situations require tough measures.   A bomb threat is one of them.  Certainly no administrator wants to lose his or her job for not taking the matter seriously.  Let alone answering to an irate group of parents.  Not enough law enforcement available for a 4.5 hour standoff for that.  And yes back in my day, way back in the middle 70’s phoning in a bomb threat was a serious matter.  You’d get kicked out of school and whatever, fined and set to a boys school.  I recall getting lectured as a class because someone across the state had the temerity to phone on in.  I seem to recall that a student called in one to the high school I was attending.  That genius phoned it in from the pay phone in the lobby.  I’m cannot recall if it occurred while I was attending or years prior to that.

Doing something like that today would likely resulting in being rendered, tortured, and sent to prison for 25 years to life.  I suspect that by the time I post this diatribe, the police will have a suspect in custody and on a plane to Saudi Arabia, where a full confession will be extracted, the blame will ultimately be placed upon Russians and the student will be disappeared.

Well alls well that ends well, each law enforcement agency is patting themselves and each other on the back.  Budgets for next year are looking good, this will be chalked up as a teaching moment and eventually at a high school reunion it will be remembered and someone will ask; hey whatever happened to old whats his face?

 

Goodbye Black Friday We Hardly Knew Ye

One of the joys of having given up watching television is not having to watch news stories about “Black Friday”. It’s a very small thing but those news stories are also part of the programming, I mean the indoctrination that goes along with being a consumer. If you aren’t part of the crowd you’re missing out on something. You need to be lined up, in the dark, in the cold, hours before a store opens. You cannot be normal if you don’t, and you don’t want to be abnormal do you McFly?

Well since I’m blogging about it, Black Friday, then how abnormal am I? I haven’t as of this late day, the Sunday after BF spent a dime on holiday shopping. My wife and I will make Christmas about our daughter. Naturally we will get each other a gift but, we will not go into debt or spend hundreds of dollars doing so. It’s Un-American.  Like taking a knee during the anthem.

True enough there are a few stories of shots fired, knifings, an entire mall was shut down in Alabama. Grown men fighting over a toy car, the usual fare. What’s missing is the trampling of employees. As far as I know no one was killed this year after the opening of doors. That’s just plain bad for business. If you’re working hard to convince American’s that staying at home on BF, is plain wrong, then seeing the extent to which people are willing to go to get this years hottest future landfill item, then seeing a man or woman breath their last is it. If no one dies, then it’s not really an event, and that means lower revenue. And that means another financial bubble bursts, and that means people like you and me end up in the unemployment line. Fortunately the rich still get richer but at a slightly slower pace.

What I didn’t prepare myself for, and came as a surprise is that some stores were nearly deserted. No one in sight. That’s a bad sign for the brick and mortar stores for sure. I will of course be doing my shopping on line. I can miss the shuffle and hustle and that god awful holiday music. A bonus is that I don’t have to take part in the contrived “War on Christamas”. No, I don’t have to say it or not to anyone whether they like it or not. Cool.

I guess retailers will still have Christmas Day to force their employees to work, and gain some free advertising (via television news) over that. I suspect that will start momentarily, by the end of this day several chains will announce that they will be open all Christmas day. Then there will be the back and forth of family’s Vs. The greedy corporations ad infinitum. There’s no such thing as bad publicity. I won’t be eating out on Christmas or, New Year either.

A California Flat Earther Builds Rocket to Debunk Spherical Earth Nonsense; Good Luck with that Icarus

Stop laughing or at least wait until you read the article.  There are several howlers in this piece by the Independent.  The author of the article takes a few small, tender jibes.  The Rocketman (not Kim Jung un) supplies the rest of the comic genius.

Half a millennium of science isn’t about to get between ‘Mad’ Mike Hughes and his dream, and he’s raring to go. The 61-year-old limo driver from California plans to launch over the weekend.

He built the steam-powered vessel using scrap metal and estimates it cost about about $20,000 (£15,000).

He plans to travel for about a mile at a speed of around 500 miles per hour, soaring through the sky above the Mojave Desert.

I don’t believe in science,” Mr Hughes told the Associated Press (AP). “I know about aerodynamics and fluid dynamics and how things move through the air, about the certain size of rocket nozzles, and thrust. But that’s not science, that’s just a formula. There’s no difference between science and science fiction.”

Excuse me Mike, but fluid dynamics, aerodynamics are prime examples of science, and the use of the scientific method;  the following is straight out of Wikipedia.

The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.[2] To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry is commonly based on empirical or measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.[3] The Oxford Dictionaries Online defines the scientific method as “a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses“.[4] Experiments are a procedure designed to test hypotheses. Experiments are an important tool of the scientific method.[5][6]

It’s not really that tough of a concept to grasp.  It’s a method of arriving at the truth.  Mr. let me direct you to the following graphic, also from Wikipedia:

And so when you say you don’t believe in science, and that there’s no difference between science and science fiction you must be talking about something else entirely, right?

Because you’re going to test a hypotheses in the next few days, right?  You’ve no doubt have already performed the first two steps.  (i) you see that the appears flat with your feet planted on the ground and  (ii)  you by now have several interesting questions and are looking for evidence, though you have already determined to debunk the consensus.  That’s unfortunate since it smacks of confirmation bias.  And so yeah, not something that a believer in the scientific method would likely do.

Here’s the problem and you could have saved yourself a ton of money.  Launching yourself to a 1 mile altitude  in a home made rocket, (performing science) is dangerous.  And 5280 feet or 1- mile which is 1.609344 kilometers isn’t going to solve your problem.  It’s no where near high enough to see the curvature of the earth.  For perhaps $99.00 dollars you could take a flight on a typical modern passenger jet and get much higher than a mile, typically these jets fly at 33,000 ft and that about 6.25 miles up about 10.0584 kilometers.  Even at this height you’re not going to observe the curvature of the earth but then you can still have a great time.

It might be that Mr. Hughes is just looking for his own reality TV show.

“This is the king of the deceptions,” he said. “This is it. And once this domino falls and more people come to this side, then everything else — the dominos structure falls”.  (evidently he’s never heard of religion)

However, this will not be the maiden voyage for Mr Hughes.

He reportedly took to the skies over Arizona in 2014, which he said saw him sustain injuries that incapacitated him for weeks.

But past misadventures haven’t fazed Mr Hughes. “If you’re not scared to death, you’re an idiot,” he told AP. “It’s scary as hell, but none of us are getting out of this world alive. I like to do extraordinary things that no one else can do, and no one in the history of mankind has designed, built and launched himself in his own rocket.”

Don’t be too sure of that last bit there, I doubt that you are the first though I cannot name anyone else.  And what does it matter?  We have, you know, been to the moon, right?

Good luck Icarus, but don’t fly too close to the sun.