Moments in History

A Hot Spot In The Cold War


Every now and then the Cold War that gripped much of our planet from the end of WWII to the early 1990s had a little hot spot. Some of these were well publicized, like the Cuban Missile Crisis, but some managed to remain a secret for decades. The Catalina Affair is one that remained relatively quiet.

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Moments in History

And now…

…for something completely different, from Hyco’s doppelgänger.  Your regular Saturday posts will resume on Sunday.  So I’m told, at any rate.  In the meantime, here’s a lightning rod hat (or two)!

More appropriately, un chapeau paratonnerre.  Apparently these were all the rage in 18th century Europe after lightning struck the Church of St. Nazaire […]

Moments in History

Got Any Beemans?


Beeman’s Gum was concocted in the late 19th century by a physician in Ohio named Dr. Edward L. Beeman.  The gum had the two primary ingredients of pepsin powder and chicle, and was originally marketed as an aid to digestion.  In 1898 it was purchased by the American Chicle company, which was later absorbed by Warner-Lambert.  The gum continued in production as Beemans up until 1978, when it was discontinued due to slow sales.  Now the rights to this gum are owned by Cadbury, and it is sporadically available as a nostalgia product.

Perhaps you are thinking to yourself that the packaging and name seem vaguely familiar, but you aren’t really sure why.  Beemans became popular with aviators in the early days of flight, as the antacid qualities of the pepsin helped to calm airsickness stomach issues in flight.  It also had the inherent advantage that any gum gives a flyer of helping to equalize pressure in the ears.  Whatever the exact reasons, it soon became affiliated with flight, and was considered by many to be a good luck gum.  This good luck angle figured into the film ‘The Rocketeer’, and the blockbuster ‘The Right Stuff’.  “Hey Ridley, got any Beemans?”

The retro-throwback versions of the gum no longer contain any pepsin, but it is pretty tasty if you can get your hands on some!  Now that you remember why Beemans seemed familiar too you, you might be saying to yourself, so what exactly does this have to do with this weekend?

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Moments in History, Uncategorized


Carrier donuts

Carrier donuts


USS Coral Sea (CV-43) – the 3rd and final ship of the WWII era Midway class Aircraft Carriers, shows off with a demonstration of just how incredibly maneuverable these ships were, 1953.

Along with her older sisters USS Midway (CV-41) and USS Franklin D Rosevelt (CV-42), these triplets were the US Navy’s first “Super-carriers” as they were then known, a superlative that would eventually come to describe the much larger Forrestal design, and even more so those that followed. But for nearly a decade, these three remained the largest and most capable warships in the world.

They had some inherent sea-keeping issues such as a low freeboard – the flightdeck wasn’t very high so bluewater (unbroken waves) would regularly crash over the bow in high seas. And they tended to bob like corks… especially the Midway which had its hull widened to address the freeboard issue, only to create an even bigger monster with a fast roll center, which also caused the ship to corkscrew in rough weather.  It was such a wild ride our system’s gyros would regularly go on the fritz during storms, necessitating a trip up the aft radar tower to fix them, in the rain, in the dark, with only a red penlight to see with, trying not to short anything out or electrocute yourself while planes tried in vain to land down below you. Good times!

These 3 sisters were known to cause the sea-legs of even the saltiest sailors to wobble as they chewed on crackers, even more so than the smaller escort ships that accompanied her (which we joked went over one wave, then under two). They certainly put hair on the chest of all who sailed upon her decks.

BUT, they could also turn on Neptune’s dime.

Nearly 40 years after the lead photo was taken, in February 1991 we would have some fun with that maneuverability Continue reading “LEFT FULL RUDDER!”

Moments in History

Sgt. Stubby


The 102nd Infantry Regiment was practicing on the fields at Yale University when a pit bull mix wandered by seeking out the sound to fulfill his curiosity. It was the summer of 1917 and the world was at war. The wandering dog soon fell in line with the soldiers and spent the day with them. By sunset, the unit had made him their unofficial mascot and named him Stubby.

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Moments in History, Real Life Heroes

Memorial Day


Tomorrow marks Memorial Day in the United States, a date to mark those that lost their lives in defense of not only the freedoms and way of life we enjoy here, but defending the freedom of our allies from conquest and oppression.

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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Moments in History

The Soda Fountain Of Civilization

Gives shy persons the strength to get up and do what needs to be done.

I’ll have a splash of everything.

I have never liked fizz. My experience with fountain machines usually involves the leftover residue of pink lemonade enveloping my cup of water like Saran Wrap. Still, I’ve held on to a childlike fascination for far too long. Two flavors from one nozzle! Syrup that reacts with water and makes it fizzy! How do they do it?

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Moments in History

Recover Refit Reuse


In the spirit of Earth Week, I wanted to share with you a story of recycling. The USS Squalis Squalus first launched in mid-September 1938. As the fifth Sargo class submarine, there wasn’t too much unique about her. She, like her classmates, had four General Motors Model 16-248 V16 diesel engines. Two of these engines drove the hydraulic drive system, and two drove electric generators that charged the two 126-cell Sargo batteries. There were four high-speed GE electric motors with gear boxes to drive two screws. What is interesting about the USS Squalus is what happened shortly after she was commissioned.

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Moments in History

Modern Complications

Today is Tax Day here in the US of A. This means that many people are grumbling about the complexity of our tax code. Even the simple 1040 form, which most taxpayers will use, now has three variants and a ridiculous number of schedules that you must fill out depending on where you […]

Moments in History

Mysteries of the Moon

apollo11 launch

This afternoon I am going to run the first of a couple of posts that I have been kicking around for quite some time now, but just have never gotten around to. (Be sure to tune in next week for more!) The Professor’s User Input on the question of the current state of NASA and the future thereof reminded me of them. First up, when we remember back to the space race it’s culmination with the Moon landing, I think that we tend to view it as a period of triumph and success. But I think it is important to recall that at the time, the neither the success of these ventures nor the victory over the Russians in the Cold War were in any way assured. When it came to the Moon landing, did you ever wonder what sort of back up plans might have been in place in the event of mission failure?

The possibility had been considered that a problem with the lunar lander could have stranded the intrepid astronauts on the Moon, and a memo outlining actions to be taken and the speech that the president would make if such an unfortunate incident occurred were written.  The previously unpublished documents were found by LA Times columnist Jim Mann, in a file titled, “IN THE EVENT OF MOON DISASTER.”

President Richard Nixon would have informed the country that night on television:

Before giving the speech, the President would have made telephone calls to the “widows to be” to offer condolences. After final goodbyes, and perhaps recommendations to the astronauts on how to close their lives, the plans called for Mission Control to “close down communications” with the Lunar Module. In a public ritual likened to burial at sea, clergyman would then have commended their souls to “the deepest of the deep”. (

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