The Hollow Men by TS Eliot

Today reminds me of that poem.

Here is the first stanza and the ending.

T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men
Mistah Kurtz-he dead
            A penny for the Old Guy

I    We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
    Our dried voices, when
    We whisper together
    Are quiet and meaningless
    As wind in dry grass
    Or rats’ feet over broken glass
    In our dry cellar

    Shape without form, shade without colour,
    Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.

Reblog: Do You Know the Kumeyaay Garden

Kumeyaay are the local Native Americans who originally inhabited the San Diego are. There are still several reservations in San Diego County. In recent years, the Cabrillo National Monument has expanded its exhibits and information about the Kumeyaays.

Click here to read about the recently planted garden at Cabrillo National Monument.

The Kumeyaay gardens here at Cabrillo will showcase:

California Buckwheat
Lemonade Berry
Coastal Sagebrush
Prickly-Pear Cactus
Shaw’s Agave
Black Sage
Giant Wild Rye
Lady Fingers
Barrel Cactus
Laurel Sumac
Bush Mallow
California Sunflower
Bladder Pod
Wild Cucumber
Broom Baccharis

Port Guides Before the Internet

How large is an aircraft carrier crew?

  • The USS Midway (CV-41) carried a crew of about 4500 when she was deployed, with an Air Wing aboard.
  • The USS Gerald Ford (CVN-78) has a crew of 5500.
  • The Navy used to have a recruiting slogan, “Join the Navy and see the World.”
  • Ports could include
    • the Mediterranean Sea,
    • the Caribbean Sea,
    • Central or South America,
    • the Red Sea,
    • Persian Gulf,
    • Indian Ocean,
    • Pacific Ocean,
    • Arctic Ocean or
    • literally around the world.

In addition to the normal liberty ports like the Philippines, San Francisco, or Marseilles, the ship could also be sent to Karachi, Pakistan; Mombasa, Kenya; or Hobart, Tasmania. For many of the crew, these ports are often unknown–

What can we see?

What can we eat or drink?

What can we get away with?

The USS Midway used to type out and then mimeograph tour guides. Troy Prince has a collection of 13 pocket sized (3 1/2″ x 4 1/2″) guidebooks for liberty ports visited by the Midway from the 04 JAN 1954 – 04 AUG 1954 Mediterranean Cruise. Here are few pictures from that collection.

In 1978, the guides had gotten larger and had a new name–Liberty Hound. Here is an example from a 1978 port stop in Karachi Parkistan (again courtesy of Troy Prince.)

To see more of what Troy Prince has on the USS Midway, visit his site, Midway,

An Update from Troy:

The newer ones I just scanned this week and last week. I’ve only shared them with the Library and haven’t posted them online yet.

There is a Memorabilia section on my website with a subsection called Ship’s Messages. Some of my older (lower quality) scans are there, including the Haiti booklet and Japan Information message. I also have an older scan of the Olongapo booklet contributed by someone years ago. The newer booklets will eventually be added to this page or even to a completely new subsection called Liberty Port Guides


January 2021 (Finally the end of 2020) Days to Celebrate

January is the first month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars and the first of seven months to have a length of 31 days. The first day of the month is known as New Year’s Day. It is, on average, the coldest month of the year within most of the Northern Hemisphere (where it is the second month of winter) and the warmest month of the year within most of the Southern Hemisphere (where it is the second month of summer). In the Southern hemisphere, January is the seasonal equivalent of July in the Northern hemisphere and vice versa.

January (in Latin, Ianuarius) is named after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology.[1]

Did any of us predict how last year would end up?

January 1 is New Year’s Day. For many people. it is a time to make (and usually break) New Year’s resolutions.

January is National Braille Month. It celebrates the birthday of Louis Braille, who was born on January 4th, 1809.  We now celebrate National World Braille Day on January 4th in honor of his legacy.  We invite you to play the Louis Braille Timeline Game and sing the “Louis, Louis” song in celebration!  Download the game and lyrics in print and braille to share with your students.

January 6 is Epiphany Day. (It also marks the end of the 12 Days of Christmas). Many Christians around the world annually celebrate Epiphany on January 6. It is a public holiday in many countries and marks two events in Jesus Christ’s life, according to the Christian Bible. The first event was when the three wise men, or kings, visited infant Jesus. The second event was when St John the Baptist baptized Jesus.

January 18 is Martin Luther King Day.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the only national holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities, according to the corporation for National & Community Service.

January 18 is also Winnie the Pooh Day. A.A. Milne, the author of Winnie the Pooh was born on this day in 1882.

An offbeat way of looking at the Winnie the Pooh characters is to identify which mental disorders they represent.

  • Winnie the Pooh: Impulsive eating disorder. His near-obsession with honey indicates an eating disorder and his habit of repetitive counting shows evidence of obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD.
  • Piglet: Generalized anxiety disorder. Piglet is in a perpetual state of worry and can often be heard saying “Oh, dear.” He has also developed an ear twitch, common in overly anxious individuals.
  • Eeyore: Depressive disorder. He always has a bleak outlook on life, and never feels any positive emotions like happiness and excitement.
  • Rabbit: Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Rabbit is very orderly and obsessive, mostly with regard to his garden.
  • Owl: Dyslexia and narcissistic personality disorder. While he is exceptionally bright, it is frequently shown that Owl has trouble reading

January 20 is Inauguration Day. If you are a federal employee in Washington, DC you normally get the day off because of the expected Inauguration Day crowds. Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president on January 20 at noon. Inauguration Day has been held in January since 1937. The Corona virus will affect many of the ordinary inaugural events. One of the big questions is whether or not Donald Trump will attend the Inauguration. If not, he will be the fourth president to skip the Inauguration of his successor

In the past, three outgoing presidents — John Adams in 1801, John Quincy Adams in 1829 and Andrew Johnson in 1869 — refused to attend their successors’ inaugurations.

Data Privacy Day is January 28. One of the major ways that you can help protect yourself is to go into the security settings on the equipment and apps that you use.

Reblog of Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

This year seems a fitting time to re-blog a bit of the story behind I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.

Very few of us know the original verses of this Civil War-era poem by Henry Wardsworth Longfellow. He wrote the words in 1864 after the Civil War had raged for three years. Lincoln had barely won his second presidential election. Longfellow had recently lost his beloved wife, Fanny. His elder son had been severely wounded while serving with the Union Army. For several months he had been unable to write any poetry and that also weighed heavily upon him.

Please pray that there will be Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards Republicans, Democrats and people of all beliefs in 20212.

Library of Congress Offers 23 Digitized Early Presidential Collections

From an LC email:

Library of Congress Completes Digitzation of 23 Early Presidential Collections

Completion of Project Includes Latest Digitization of Papers of Presidents Benjamin Harrison, William Howard Taft, Grover Cleveland and Calvin Coolidge

Only goes up through Calvin Coolidge in the third row.

The Library of Congress has completed a more than two decade-long initiative to digitize the papers of nearly two dozen early presidents. The Library holds the papers of 23 presidents from George Washington to Calvin Coolidge, all of which have been digitized and are now available online.

The Library plans to highlight each presidential collection on social media in the weeks leading up to the next presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021.

“Arguably, no other body of material in the Manuscript Division is of greater significance for the study of American history than the presidential collections,” said Janice E. Ruth, chief of the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress. “They cover the entire sweep of American history from the nation’s founding through the first decade after World War I, including periods of prosperity and depression, war and peace, unity of purpose and political and civil strife.”

The 23 presidential collections in the Library’s holdings, acquired through donation or purchase, are of such significant value that Congress enacted a law in 1957 directing the Library to arrange, index and microfilm the papers, an enormous job that concluded in 1976. With the dawn of the digital age, the collections of presidential papers were among the first manuscripts proposed for digitization. The conclusion of this effort marks the addition of more than 3.3 million images to the Library’s online archives.

“The writings and records of America’s presidents are an invaluable source of information on world events, and many of these collections are the primary sources for books and films that teach us about our nation’s history,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “We are proud to make these presidential papers available free of charge to even more researchers, students and curious visitors online.”

The collections include some of the nation’s most treasured documents, including George Washington’s commission as commander in chief of the American army and his first inaugural address; Thomas Jefferson’s rough draft of the Declaration of Independence; and Abraham Lincoln’s first and second inaugural addresses, along with many others.

The digitized presidential collections offer a robust set of primary resources and easy access for researchers, educators and students studying America’s early presidents.

For presidents who followed Coolidge, the National Archives and Records Administration administers the system of presidential libraries that house and manage the presidential records from President Herbert Hoover onward. The Library does not hold the original papers of all 29 presidents before Hoover, however. The papers of John Adams and John Quincy Adams, for example, are housed at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

With the digitization of papers from Presidents Benjamin Harrison, William Howard Taft, Grover Cleveland and Coolidge, the Library’s complete set of presidential collections is now available online for the first time.

Newly Digitized Collections

Papers of President Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901)

The Harrison collection includes 69,600 items (178,479 images), with the bulk of the collection dating from 1853 to 1901. The collection contains correspondence, speeches, articles, notebooks in shorthand, legal papers, financial records, scrapbooks, memorials, printed matter, memorabilia, and other papers, covering every aspect of Harrison’s life and career.

Papers of President William Howard Taft (1857-1930)

The Taft collection includes approximately 676,000 documents (785,977 images), with the bulk of the material dating from 1880 to 1930. These papers constitute the largest collection of original Taft documents in the world and the largest among the Library’s presidential papers. The collection contains family papers, personal and official correspondence, presidential and judicial files, speeches and addresses, legal files and notebooks, business and estate papers, engagement calendars, guest lists, scrapbooks, clippings, printed matter, memorabilia and photographs.

Papers of President Grover Cleveland (1837-1908)

The Cleveland collection includes 108,200 items (192,602 images), with the bulk of the material dating from 1885 to 1908. The collection contains correspondence, diaries, messages to Congress, speeches, writings, printed materials and other papers relating chiefly to Cleveland’s presidencies and presidential campaigns.

Papers of President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933)

The Coolidge collection includes 179,000 documents (218,513 images), constituting the largest collection of original Coolidge documents in the world. The collection contains incoming correspondence with attachments, notes, carbon copies of outgoing letters from Coolidge or one of his secretaries, telegraph messages, appointment books and names and addresses of White House guests.

Full Set of Presidential Collections

The Library of Congress holds the following collections of presidential papers and has made each available online.

The digitization of these collections reflect advancement toward a goal in the Library’s user-centered strategic plan to expand access, making unique collections available when, where and how users need them. Learn more about the Library’s five-year plan at

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at; and register creative works of authorship at

Patriotism is

the quality of being patriotic; devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country.–definition

In these divisive days, I have heard people proclaim themselves as patriots as the rational for how they behave.

I believe that these self proclaimed patriots are doing what they think best for the country.

They often remind me of the stereotype mantra from Vietnam–“In order to save the village we had to destroy it.”

Ben Tre is a city in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, made famous by the statement of an unnamed US Army officer to AP correspondent Peter Arnett in the aftermath of the crippling aerial assault it suffered at the hands of the US Air Force during the Vietnam War: It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.–

There are two other quotes about patriotism from Samuel Johnson and Oscar Wilde that may also describe some self proclaimed patriots.

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. – Samuel Johnson

Boswell tells us that Samuel Johnson made this famous pronouncement that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel on the evening of April 7, 1775. He doesn’t provide any context for how the remark arose, so we don’t really know for sure what was on Johnson’s mind at the time. However, Boswell assures us that Johnson was not indicting patriotism in general, only false patriotism According to Wikipedia,” his line was not, as is widely believed, about patriotism in general, but the false use of the term “patriotism” by William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham (the patriot-minister) and his supporters. Johnson opposed “self-professed patriots” in general, but valued what he considered “true” self-professed patriotism.[9]

Patriotism Is the Virtue of the Vicious-Oscar Wilde

This quote is believed to refer to the vicious relationship at the time between Ireland and England.

December Holidays to Celebrate–Part 1

December is the twelfth and final month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendar. It is also the last of seven months to have a length of 31 days. December got its name from the Latin word decem (meaning ten) because it was originally the tenth month of the year in the calendar of Romulus c. 750 BC which began in March. The winter days following December were not included as part of any month. Later, the months of January and February were created out of the monthless period and added to the beginning of the calendar, but December retained its name.

December 1 marks Meteorological Winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Winter is often defined by meteorologists to be the three calendar months with the lowest average temperatures. This corresponds to the months of December, January and February in the Northern Hemisphere, and June, July and August in the Southern Hemisphere.

December 6 is Mitten Tree Day.

Mitten Tree Day

International Mitten Tree Day is celebrated on December 6th each year, all around the world. This is a great day for people to celebrate the gift of warmth – in your office, your school, your home, or in your community! International Mitten Tree Day is sometimes used to organize donation campaigns to help those in need.

While the origins of this holiday are unknown, it is believed that it is a response to the book “The Mitten Tree,” by Candace Christiansen. In this story, a grandma knits mittens for children and hangs them on an evergreen tree near a bus stop so that those children waiting for the bus who don’t have mittens can use them to play in the snow. Every time the lady runs out of yarn, a basket with more yarn appears at her door, and she is able to continue to knit mittens for the children.

December 7 is the 79th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The National Park Service now has a park at Pearl Harbor. From the park’s webpage on 2020 celebrations:

This years Pearl Harbor Day Commemoration’s theme, Above and Beyond the Call, represents a milestone of its own, as the first December 7 commemoration to follow the nationwide commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII. This year’s ceremony will focus on Battlefield O`ahu. Though the Japanese Empire focused on the destruction of the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, the attack encompassed the entire island with assaults on Army and Marine aviation bases as well as civilian facilities.

The experiences of the soldiers, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and sailors defending O`ahu, as well as the civilians caught in the crossfire, would exemplify courage under fire and perseverance. Their spirit at the beginning of the long crucible of war would frame the template for the securing of victory and peace.

This years event will will be held on December 7th at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and will encompass the service and sacrifice traditionally commemorated in multiple ceremonies and sites the week of December 7th. In order to protect our Pearl Harbor Survivors and World War II Veterans in attendance this years ceremony will be closed to the public. This event will be live streamed for public viewing via our Facebook page and The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center will reopen to the public for visitation on December 7th at 11:30 am, with USS Arizona Memorial Programs resuming and running every 30 minutes from 12 noon – 3 pm. Advance reservations will be required from December 5th – December 7th.

December 10 is Dewey Decimal System Day. Seems appropriate that a Decimal System is celebrated on the tenth of a month.

Dewey Decimal System Day December 10th celebrates a system of classification and the man who invented it. December 10, 1851, is the birthday of Melvil Dewey (1851-1931) inventor of the Dewey Decimal system of library classification.

As the most widely used library classification system, the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) or Dewey Decimal System has been in use since 1876. That was the year when American Librarian Melvil Dewey developed and established it. Divided into ten main categories, the numerical system arranges mostly non-fiction publications.

Since its inception, the system has been maintained and kept pace with modern technologies. A schedule of expansions and revisions helps keep the system current and progressive. The DDC is the most widely used classification system in the world. Found in 135 countries around the world, the DDC has been translated into 30 different languages.

National Cocoa Day is celebrated December 13.

Warm-up with a hot cup of chocolate on National Cocoa Day. December 13th ushers in a celebration worthy of the winter holidays.  

We make hot cocoa with cocoa powder, heated milk or water, and sugar. However, the terms hot chocolate and hot cocoa are often used interchangeably by Americans, causing a bit of confusion. To make hot chocolate, we use ground chocolate containing cocoa butter. It’s mixed with hot milk and is drinking chocolate.  

Naming of the Community Christmas Tree

Every year Charlottesville has a Grand Illumination. I first heard about a Grand Illumination in Williamsburg.

A grand illumination is an outdoor ceremony involving the simultaneous activation of lights. The most common form of the ceremony involves turning on Christmas lights.

One of the older of such community events began at Colonial Williamsburg, the restored Historic District of the former Virginia capital city of Williamsburg in 1935. It is held there each year on the Sunday of the first full weekend in December. (That is, if December begins on a Sunday, the event is held the following Sunday.) Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination, which also involves fireworks, is based loosely on the colonial (and English) tradition of placing lighted candles in the windows of homes and public buildings to celebrate a special event. The winning of a war and the birthday of the reigning monarch are examples of such national events. Many candles appeared in darkened windows in New York after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Although this is our fourth Christmas in Charlottesville, it is the first time I remember them having a Christmas tree naming contest. Our local community Christmas tree was recently named.  Spruce Bader Ginsburg won over Dr. Fau-tree and Alex Tree-beck. Another contender was  Spruce Springsteen.  (Good thing it was a Spruce tree this year.)

The tree was donated by an anonymous donor in response to the City’s annual does your tree make the cut contest.

Tree candidates are ideally about 30 feet tall, fully branched on all sides, accessible for removal by large equipment, and nearing the end of its life or needing to be removed for other reasons. Submission deadline is Friday, October 23, 2020.

November 24 is National Sardines Day

When you are riding on a crowded subway or stuck in the middle seat of Cattle Class on an airplane, do you feel some kinship with these small oily fish?

From the New York Times on Steinbeck’s Cannery Row

When Steinbeck opened his 1945 novel “Cannery Row” by describing Monterey’s waterfront zone of sardine factories as “a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream,” California’s prodigious sardine industry was the largest fishery in the Western Hemisphere. But the end of the Row as he knew it was already in sight. The silver river that for years had poured out of boats and into Monterey’s 19 canneries and 20 meal and oil reduction plants was drying up.

From National Calendar Day

November 24th recognizes these silver little fishes on National Sardines Day. They may not swim right up to your plate, but they sure do pack in the flavor. 

While some people are afraid to taste these small, silverfish, others consider sardines a delicious snack enjoyed on their own or with crackers.

Sardines are several types of small, oily fish, related to herrings. While we might be most familiar with sardines packed in cans, some enjoy fresh sardines grilled. This small fish can also be pickled and smoked, too. When canned, they can be packed in water, olive, sunflower or soybean oil or tomato, chili or mustard sauce.

The term sardine was first used in English during the beginning of the 15th century, possibly coming from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia where there was an abundance of sardines.

Sardines are a great source of vitamins and minerals.
From one’s daily vitamin allowance containing:

  • 13 % B2
  • .25 % niacin
  • 150% vitamin B12
  • phosphorus
  • calcium
  • potassium
  • iron
  • selenium
  • omega-3fatty acids
  • vitamin D
  • protein

– B vitamins are important in helping to support proper nervous system function and are used for energy metabolism.
– Omega 3 fatty acids reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular disease and regular consumption may reduce the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease and can even boost brain function as well as help lower blood sugar levels.

Relative to other fish commonly eaten by humans, sardines are very low in contaminants, such as mercury.


100 Years Ago

The Year is 1920!  One hundred years ago !!!

 Very interesting for all ages.   This will boggle your mind!

The year is 1920,”One hundred years ago.”

What a difference a century makes!

Here are some statistics for the Year 1920:

The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.

Fuel for cars was sold in drug stores only.

Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.

The average US wage in 1919 was 22 cents per hour.

The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year.

A dentist earned $2,500 per year.

A veterinarian between $1,500 and 4,000 per year.

And, a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

More than 95 percent of all births took place at home

Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION!

Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND the government as “substandard.”

Sugar cost four cents a pound

Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.

Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month, And, used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.

The Five leading causes of death were:

1. Pneumonia and influenza

2. Tuberculosis

3. Diarrhea

4 Heart disease

5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars …

The population of Las Vegas , Nevada was only 30.

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn’t been invented yet.

There was neither a Mother’s Day nor a Father’s Day.

Two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write (most politicians and media today)

And, only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at local corner drugstores.

Back then pharmacists said, “Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach, bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health!” (Shocking?)

Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help…

There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A.

I am now going to forward this to someone else without typing it myself.

From there, it will be sent to others all over the WORLD all in a matter of seconds!

It is impossible to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years.

Veteran’s History Project

Although Veteran’s Day has past and our older veterans are passing, there is time to capture the memories of those still around. One of the best ways to do this is to participate in the Library of Congress’s Veterans History Project.

The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.

When I lived in San Diego, I did a few Veteran’s History Project interviews while volunteering at the San Diego Public Library, University City Branch. I interviewed Korean War, Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, and Cold War veterans. It was a fascinating experience.

I’m hoping to get back into–maybe through Zoom since that seems to be the most common platform nowadays.

Once you meet a veterans basic needs like housing and medical care, can you imagine a more heartfelt gift than capturing his or her story for the future?

You can look a veteran’s name up to see if he or she is already in there.

Reblog: Reconstruction of Ypres

Denzil Walton lives in Belgium and documents many of the wonders of this lovely country.  World War I plays a major part in many of his posts since so much of the fighting was done in Belgium.

Ypres 1914-1915

During the First World War the old medieval town of Ypres was the centre of one of the most notorious battlefields the world has ever experienced: the Ypres Salient. In the four years of the war, the entire town centre was virtually totally destroyed. By the time the war ended, a person on horseback could look right across the town. Not surprisingly, it was deserted: the whole population had fled or had been forcibly evacuated.

To read more click here.

Rebuilt Gothic Cloth Hall of Ypres

The ‘Stralilan Cruiser Squadron by Phil Eakin

Phil Eakin, CDR, (USN Ret) was stationed and has lived in Australia. He also married Carol, a Sheila, from there. He has been the source and/or inspiration for much of the Australian related blog posts.

In early 1938 the U.S. sent a group of ships to Sydney, Australia on a goodwill visit.  The occasion was the 150th/Sesquicentennial anniversary of Australia and Sydney’s founding.  The group of ships consisted of at least U.S.S. Memphis (CL-13), two other cruisers, Trenton and Milwaukee, and probably a number of support ships.  I learned this from a cruisebook, or cruise booklet (paperback, 49-pages), produced by the Memphis that was recently donated to the USS Midway Museum.  All the illustrations used here are from that cruisebook.

Memphis departed San Diego on 3 January 1938 and stopped briefly in Hawaii before heading for Sydney.

What had or would become known as the ‘Stralian Cruiser Squadron crossed the equator on 15 January.  ‘Stralian is, of course, a contraction of ‘Australian’ commonly used Down Under.  In my limited experience with the peoples of that country, they are known to speak “Strine” which is, I believe, slang for ‘Strain, another contraction.
Although I’ve only recently become acquainted with my first pre-WW II Navy cruisebooks, it appears the main event covered in each such commemorative is Crossing the Line, where King Neptune and his court come aboard to assist in initiating slimy Pollywogs, a termed used to refer to those sailors who have never crossed the equator and, thus, entered into King Neptune’s realm before.  King Neptune is ably assisted in the initiation festivities by a ship’s trusty Shellbacks, those crewmembers who have crossed the equator before, have been duly initiated into the rites of the realm, and can prove it.

A focal point for the application of pain and suffering accompanying the rites of passage is sometimes called The Works – pictured above on the Memphis.
After Crossing the Line, the squadron visited Pago Pago, Samoa for two days before entering Sydney on 25 January.  The Sydney port visit ended on 2 February, and the ships headed south, then west across the Australian Bight and up the west coast of Australia to Singapore, and thence for a visit in Manila before rejoining the Fleet in Hawaii on 1 April.
A most interesting aspect of the Memphis cruisebook is the appearance on the last two pages of the Theme Song of the Australian Cruiser Squadron.  A fascinating piece, as I read it over and over, it became apparent it was written before the squadron had reached Singapore and most probably after the Memphis had departed Sydney.   While the cruise through departure from Sydney is covered,  only one stanza is devoted to Samoa, two stanzas to Crossing the Line, while the final five stanzas are devoted to the Australia visit.  One can tell Australia made a great impression on the boys.

I would point out some pronunciation hints in the 2nd-to-last stanza.  ‘Quay’ is pronounced ‘key’ for the non-salts here.  Lingerie is probably the French version, lawn-jerr-y’ to make it rhyme with sea.
And as I read it repeatedly a certain meter kept pumping through my head that was very familiar.  Then I realized it was the same or very similar to an old sea shanty which has become an Australian folk song under a couple of names, but most readily identified by the title, Bound for South Australia (i.e. The ‘Stralian Cruiser Squadron).  
Maybe composed around 1870, in the Clipper Ship days, it is about a young sailor from Australia with a girlfriend in South Australia.  Cape Horn and Liverpool are mentioned, and wheat and wool were frequently moved from South Australia to England in the clipper ship days.  This young man is looking forward to getting back to South Australia at the end of the voyage.  Is it just a coincidence that the seafaring vessel depicted at the top of the nautical chart above, and balancing the Memphis drawing at the bottom of the chart, is a clipper ship?  Here is one version of Bound for South Australia.  I warn you that if you listen to it all the way through it will be in your head for the rest of the day. 
After listening once, play it again and try to put the words of the Theme Song to the music.  According to Wikipedia, Bound for South Australia became a popular camp song in the U.S. in the early 1940s.  So, was the song known to the Memphis crew in 1938 before they left the U.S., or did the sailors pick up the tune in the pubs in Sydney and put their own words to it on the way to Singapore?  and then spread it around campfires in the U.S. over succeeding years?  I suppose we’ll never know.
Oh, and the cruisebook editor was the chaplain.

November 5 is Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Day

They celebrate the foiling of (Catholic) Guy Fawkes’s attempt to blow up (Protestant controlled) England’s House of Parliament on November 5th, 1605. Known variously as Guy Fawkes Day, Gunpowder Treason Day, and Fireworks Night, the November 5th celebrations in some time periods included the burning of the Pope or Guy Fawkes in effigy.

From an English Folk Verse

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.
Threescore barrels, laid below,
To prove old England’s overthrow.
But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
A stick and a stake
For King James’s sake!
If you won’t give me one,
I’ll take two,
The better for me,
And the worse for you.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!

Suffrage or Presidential Amendments to the Constitution

This seems an auspicious time to remember the Constitutional Amendments that have affected suffrage or how the President is picked.

From USA Gov:

U.S. election laws date back to Article 1 of the Constitution. This gave states the responsibility of overseeing federal elections. Many Constitutional amendments and federal laws to protect voting rights have been passed since then.

Constitutional Amendments Affecting Voting Rights

  • The 15th Amendment gave African American men the right to vote in 1870. But many weren’t able to exercise this right. Some states used literacy tests and other barriers to make it harder to vote.
  • The 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920, gave American women the right to vote.
  • The 24th Amendment, ratified in 1964, eliminated poll taxes. The tax had been used in some states to keep African Americans from voting in federal elections.
  • The 26th Amendment, ratified in 1971, lowered the voting age for all elections to 18.

Constitutional Amendments Affecting the Election of the President and Vice President

The Twelfth Amendment (Amendment XII) to the United States Constitution provides the procedure for electing the president and vice president. It replaced the procedure provided in Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, by which the Electoral College originally functioned.

The Twentieth Amendment (Amendment XX) to the United States Constitution moved the beginning and ending of the terms of the president and vice president from March 4 to January 20, and of members of Congress from March 4 to January 3. It also has provisions that determine what is to be done when there is no president-elect. The Twentieth Amendment was adopted on January 23, 1933]

The amendment reduced the presidential transition and the “lame duck” period, by which members of Congress and the president serve the remainder of their terms after an election. The amendment established congressional terms to begin before presidential terms and that the incoming Congress, rather than the outgoing one, would hold a contingent election in the event that the Electoral College deadlocked regarding either the presidential or vice presidential elections. The amendment also established procedures in the case that a president-elect dies, is not chosen, or otherwise fails to qualify prior to the start of a new presidential term.

Did you vote today?

November Holidays to Celebrate

November is Native American Heritage Month.

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans.
Read More »

From the National Park Service:

America is a vast land of many cultures dating back thousands of years to the original inhabitants of the land. History, heritage, or culture of Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians are part of every national park and communities across the country today. Every November during Native American Heritage Month and throughout the year, the National Park Service and our partners share history and the continuing culture of America’s indigenous peoples.

November is also Aviation History Month.

According to the Government Printing Office, “National Aviation History Month is dedicated to exploring, recognizing and celebrating America’s great contributions and achievements in the development of aviation. Aviation history refers to the history of development of mechanical flight — from the earliest attempts in kites and gliders to powered heavier-than-air, supersonic and space flights.”

HOW TO OBSERVE #AviationHistoryMonth

Do you remember the first time you flew in an airplane? For some it’s the most exhilarating experience and for others it’s nerve-wracking. Explore aviation history, the people, the places and the technology. There are numerous ways to learn aviation history, too.

  • Read a book about aviation.
  • Visit an aviation museum.
  • Talk to a pilot or go for a ride in an airplane.
  • Listen to a podcast about aviation history.
  • Watch a video about aviation history.
  • Find an airshow event near you.

November 3 is US Election Day.

Did you know that the voting age was changed from 21 to 18?

The Twenty-sixth Amendment (Amendment XXVI) to the United States Constitution prohibits the states and the federal government from using age as a reason for denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States who are at least eighteen years old. It was proposed by Congress on March 23, 1971, and three-fourths of the states ratified it by July 1, 1971, the quickest adoption of an amendment.

The drive to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 grew across the country during the 1960s, driven in part by the military draft held during the Vietnam War. The draft conscripted young men between the ages of 18 and 21 into the armed forces, primarily the U.S. Army, to serve in or support military combat operations in Vietnam.[1] A common slogan of proponents of lowering the voting age was “old enough to fight, old enough to vote”.[

National Kindness Day is November 13.

Reblog: Why Do We Remember the Casualties of War?

Denzil Walton, of Discovering Belgium, has penned a thoughtful essay prior to Armistice/Remembrance Day (Veteran’s Day in the US) next month, on why do we remember the casualties of war.

Some of his points include:

  • Does it remind us of the horrors of war?
  • Does remembrance help avoid future conflicts?
  • Does it express our gratitude?
Old Guard Tomb Soldier at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery