Saturday, July 18, 2009

40 Years Ago

I am sure many of us older than age 45 remember the moon landing 40 years ago. I was visiting relatives and watched it on TV, like the rest of the world. I have always wondered if it really happened. Over the years I have watched my government tell so many lies and twist the truth until it is like a replay of George Orwell's '1984.'

In that time period I was a computer repairman working for a company that had a contract at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. I was working the midnight shift one night and since it was a government contract we only had enough work for four hours so I had four hours to wander around the center. I opened a door and there it was; the big mock up room of the moon surface, like football field size. They were training astronauts on how to land the lunar module at Huntsville so there was a lunar module trainer upstairs. Hooked into TV/monitors on the lunar module were cameras that ran across the surface of the mocked up moon. It was very real looking and in looking at the monitors in the lunar module you would swear you were landing on the moon.

It was heady times back than when I was young. I truly felt the United States was the best country in the world, Vietnam was just a glitch, and the Dollar was the strongest currency around and it would continue forever. We are such fools when we are young. Everyone thought we would go so much farther than just walking around the moon. A year later I was in Florida working on another government contract in Orlando, watched another moon shot and then the entire space effort wrapped up and shut down to a quarter of what it was. Like 10,000 engineers were unemployed all at one time in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Engineers and programmers were taking whatever job they could find - McDonalds was a good job compared to some of them. Houses were given up and returned to the bank, a real mess. Florida has always been a boom or bust place.

Today NASA does nothing, they seem to have lost their way. Astronauts are shot into space for a ride around the earth and returned to earth. No advancement whatsoever

The Race Fights of 1905

From The State Register, Laurel Delaware July 1 1905

Terrorize Citizens in Town of Greenwood and at Townsend

Probably the worst race riot between whites and blacks which ever happened in Sussex County took place in Greenwood Saturday night, in which 200 whites and half as many blacks took part.

The trouble began over a half-witted white man being terribly beaten by three negroes. The news of the fight soon spread among the whites and an uprising ensued. Two hundred whites began to rid the town of negroes. Every negro found, man or woman was run out of the town and several pitched battles took place. Truck patches near town were badly damaged in the struggle.

The porch of one house was nearly torn down by the fighters. A dozen negroes were caught one at a time near town, beaten into insensibility by the angry mob and left for dead in the fields.

The fighting continued until early Sunday morning. Not until every negro had fled the town was quiet restored, and it came near being resumed Sunday when several of the negroes appeared in town for medical attention, but cooler heads prevented further trouble. No one was killed.

Disorderly negroes took possession of Townsend late Saturday night and a furious fight followed, in which the town bailiff and several other men were badly injured. Clayton Powell, the bailiff, attempted to stop two negroes from fighting. A gang of the roughs set upon him, seized his own pistol, shot him in the leg and beat him insensible. John Parvis and several other men went to Powell’s aid and Parvis was also knocked unconscious. A general exchange of pistol shots followed in which two negroes, named Calk and Hopkins, were wounded.

After Parvis had been knocked unconscious several negroes wanted to shoot him, when one remarked: “What the use; he’s dead anyway,” and the negroes departed.

Walking The Beat, Walking An Era

I picked up a free Summer 2009 copy of Delmarva Quarterly the other day and saw out on page 51 was an article by Mike Dixon on Jesse Carmine a Crisfield Police Officer. Mike does the blog Reflections on Delmarva Past and has had several articles in the past in the Delmarva Quarterly.

The Hanging Bucket Garden

My wife saw the ad on TV for the upside down hanging tomato plants and decided she could do it cheaper. We got some plastic buckets, cut about a two inch hole in the bottom, stuck a tomato plant in, surrounded it with coffee filters (so the plant and soil wouldn't wash out), and filled them with dirt. We did not trust the plastic handles on the buckets (when you water them they are heavy) so we got some chain to hang them with.

Each plant has about three to five tomatoes. They are finally getting ripe. These hang on the porch so they only get direct sunlight about six hours a day. They would do better out in the garden hanging off a post. Altho we have tomatoes we do not have additional blossoms for additional tomatoes. We are not sure why. Could be the watering (the water drips around the holes) is leaching out the fertilised soil. We will have to experiment with these some more next year. I also need to either put a lid on the bucket or strengthen it with wire as over the two months they have been up the top is collapsing in. You might be able to put a flower or vegetable in the top and have double plants per bucket.

Various people have stopped by to say they are doing the same thing. Others are planting cucumbers and peppers in their buckets.

A Raised Garden Bed

I saw this at Sam's Club in Salisbury the other day. It doesn't look that bad. About $400, but for those of us who are woodcrafted challenged a project might go faster buying a kit. The beds in the planters are plastic and are only about 8 inches deep.

A Visit to the 'Day In The Garden'

I stopped by the demonstration garden kept by the Sussex County Master Gardeners. Today was the open-to-public day (actually everyday is, as it is out in the open behind the extension office). They called it 'A Day In The Garden.'

Frankly compared to other years it was disappointing. No where near as much effort was put into this year as in past years.

A new item this year was the Train Garden, shown below

I am usually impressed with their raised gardens and other methods of raising small gardens

The above was called a Salad table. It has possibles. The bottom is wire cloth with fly screening over it so the soil doesn't fall out but the water does. It could be made with bolted legs, so the whole thing collapses down and folds up to be stored. The person explaining it said with eight inch sides, instead of the four inch sides shown, you could grow tomatoes in it.

This raised garden is a commercially made one from Expert. I have seen it before at a Home and Garden show. I think this one might be in the six hundred dollar range. It is very well built. When I had talked to the rep before she said everything is included; from them setting it up, to supplying the composed soil, to the irrigation system etc. Expert is part of a local mulch company. Some other raised beds the Master Gardeners have had for a while are shown below.

The Cinder blocks raised bed makes use of the holes in the cinder blocks where flowers are grown.

Railroad ties (what would be the effect of creosote on vegetables?)

The big disappointment was these wire trellises shown below

In past years these have been dripping with Tomatoes, melons, lopes, and cucumbers. This year as you can see they had virtually nothing on them. Very little at the demonstration garden, in comparison to prior years, was aimed at vegetable gardening

Castaways - 1994

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Tabernacle

I had assumed the building being built on South Bi-State Boulvard would an Auto Repair and Sales Place, but now I have found out it is going to be a Church. The Tabernacle is expanding from it's old location on Old Stage Road in Delmar Delaware to the new location in Delmar, Maryland.

The current Tabernacle is being out grown due to the popularity of it's word. About two years back they were on Morris Road in Pittsville and outgrew that place, so they are a fast growing church. The Church is lead by Delmar resident Pastor Mike Rittenhouse.

Indian Names

As I said on our visit to North Carolina there was a number of places we visited that had stories about Indians, with appropriate Indian names for the individuals involved in the story. In recent weeks I have seen a couple of articles in the local papers about an alleged Eastern Shore Indian Tribe in which various people had Indian names (this is the type of Indian with a feather not a dot). Well as Politically Incorrect as it is when I see these names I am always reminded of the Indian name joke in the movie "Silkwood."

For as long as anyone could remember, an old man in an
Indian tribe had been responsible for naming the newborn
children. One of the braves began to wonder how the old man
managed to come up with the names he did; and one day the
brave summoned his courage and went to the old man and asked
him how he picked out a child's name.

The old man was silent for a while, then answered:

"I look around me at my surroundings when I learn that a
child has been born, and name that child appropriately. When
I learned of your father's birth, I heard a jackal howling
in the woods, and so named him Howling Jackal. When your
mother was born, I heard of it while standing by a running
brook, so she was named Running Brook. Now, tell me why
you want to know, Two Dogs Fucking. . . ."

Golden Gate Bridge Suicides

"As I was falling, I realised there was nothing in my life that I couldn’t fix, except the fact that I’d jumped off this goddamn bridge.” A quote from a survivor.

Over at Strange Maps (on the sidebar) is a map showing suicides at the Golden Gate Bridge with the number of jumps per light post. Interesting, in a morbid kind of way. I understand every two weeks some one jumps off the Golden Gate bridge. In our area the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Delaware Memorial Bridge have about three jumpers a year. I don't know how many jump off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (it is not that high). I would guess the the difference in number of jumps is the lack of a footpath on the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Memorial Bridges. I don't think anyone has jumped from Suicide Bridge in 15 or so years. Since the Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937 over 1,200 people have jumped from it. They think the number is higher due to people jumping at night (not seen) and their body being sweep away by the current. Jumpers hit the water at about seventy-five miles an hour and with a force of fifteen thousand pounds per square inch.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Can You Say Sesquicentennial?

Delmar is turning 150, join us in our celebration. The Delmar Sesquicentennial (150 Year celebration) Program is shaping up to look like this. It will run from September 20 to September 26th

Day 1 Sunday September 20, 2009
12:00 PM Fire siren
12:00 PM Start Parade Line Up
1:00 PM Church Bells ringing from all churches
1:00 PM Parade from the High school to Mason Dixon Park
2:00 PM Opening ceremony - Mason Dixon Park
3:30 PM Pageant - Little Miss and Mr.
4:30 PM Presentation of Parade trophies
5:00 PM Softball Games
9:00 PM Fireworks - Mason Dixon Park

Day 2 Monday September 21 2009
8:30 AM Town Hall - Open House / light Refreshments
9:00 AM Official Opening - Delmar heritage Museum 100 grove Street
2:00 PM Student Bi-State Councils/ mock town meeting
7:00 PM Dance - VFW

Day 3 Tuesday September 22, 2009
8:30 AM Town Hall - Open House / light refreshments
9:00 AM Proclamation - recognizing the founders of the Town
10:00 AM re dedication of the Highball, caboose, Crossing Guard Bld.
11:00 AM Dedication - N. Pennsylvania Streetscape Project
6:00 PM Ice Cream Social - state street Park

Day 4 Wednesday September 23, 2009
8:30 AM Town Hall - Open House / light refreshments
5:00 PM Dinner/Theater - Delmar High School

Day 5 Thursday September 24, 2009
8:30 AM Town Hall - Open House / light refreshments
6:30 Pm Delmar High school open house and lite fare

Day 6 Friday September 25, 2009
8:30 AM Town Hall - Open House / light refreshments
7:00 PM Home - Football Game Delmar High school

Day 7 Saturday September 26 2009
6:00 AM Yard Sale State street Park
10:00 AM til 4:00 PM Block Party/ Car show
4:30 PM 5-2-1 Walk at the High school
6:00 PM Band play till closing ceremonies
9:00 PM Closing / lite show at the High school

Application for the Little Miss and Little Mister Sesquicentennial are available from Jolene Morris or Town Hall

The Committee is still looking for ad sponsors for the Souvenir Booklet
The price of ads are;
Full Page $100.00
1/2 Page $50.00
1/4 page $25.00
Business Card size $15.00
Contact Marlena Hodgin or Marcia Elliott, or Melanie Boltz or Doug Niblett

Contact Town Hall for a parade application

Contact Sharon Levadnuk for the Yard Sale on Sept 26th

Red Star Motor Coaches - 1945

German POWs Lunch Program in 1945

From the Democratic Messenger Newspaper, Snow Hill MD, July 1945

Germans Underfed

By Bettine Goodall

There must be a middle road between overfeeding German War Prisoners and starving them. Several months ago there was widespread criticism to the effect that German prisoner of war were being pampered. More specifically, that they were being fed certain foods which were unobtainable on the civilian market. At one time, these criticisms may have been valid but at the time we investigated Somerset POW camp at Westover Md., we found no evidence of coddling and so reported.

Today, however, we have evidence that certain prisoner of war working from the Berlin (Md.) POW camp are being systematically starved to death. It is not right that the prisoners should be expected to fulfill maximum contracts of hard physically labor on rations which are wholly inadequate. Naturally considering the German brutality accorded American Prisoners this may appear to be retribution. Presumably, however, the United States is abiding by Geneva Conference regulations. Willful violation of these regulations is a very serious charge. We charge the POW camp in Berlin with just such violation.

Approximately five hundred German prisoners in the area are doing heavy farm labor, working in poultry dressing plants, and in canneries. For their noon meal one day last week a group of theses prisoners were given three slices of plain bread and a cup of coffee. Obviously this is not sufficient to sustain a man engaged in manual labor, especially on a hot day. There is a great deal of red tape involved in procuring a copy of the menu of the meals served in camp. We can therefore cite conditions pertaining only to the meals that are provided the prisoners outside of camp and we empathically that this food is disproportionately scant.

Prisoner of war labor contributes in large measure to the relief of the critical farm labor shortage with which this area is faced, but the effectiveness of this relief is greatly curtailed by those who are responsible for seeing that the prisoners receive the proper food ration and are sadly misinterpreting this responsibility.

Simultaneously with the release of this story in today’s Democratic Messenger, telegrams protesting the situation were sent to our two Maryland United States Senators and to Congressman Dudley G. Roe. We have requested that corrective steps be taken immediately. We are hopeful that the German war prisoners will be put on a more sensible food rationing which will guarantee their maximum efficiency.

NOTE: There were Maryland Eastern Shore German POW camps at Berlin, Westover, Easton, Cambridge and Church Hill.

Another Development Taking Shortcuts On their Waste Water Treatment System

DNREC issues notice of $15,720 penalty assessment for wastewater violations at Pintail Pointe Development near Milton

DOVER, Del. - Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara has issued a Notice of Administrative Penalty Assessment and Secretary’s Order for groundwater discharge violations to Regent Group Property Development LLC and its property manager, Wilma Howett, who are the permit holders for the wastewater system at the Pintail Pointe housing development near Milton.

A cash penalty of $15,720 is being assessed for the violations and $2,358 in estimated costs associated with the action are included in this action. In addition to the penalty and estimated costs, DNREC has included the costs of a third- party contractor who, on two occasions, was hired to pump the system so that residents could remain in their homes.

Located on the west side of county road 258, just west of Route 1, in Sussex County, Pintail Pointe is a small development with its infrastructure in place and a few homes completed and occupied with more under construction. Its wastewater needs are served by a community onsite wastewater treatment and disposal system.

Regent Group Property Development and Ms. Howett failed to contract with a DNREC-licensed wastewater operator to operate this onsite system in accordance with the permit. This lack of maintenance caused the system to suffer neglect and become mechanically inoperable, thereby causing surfacing of wastewater effluent on the ground and into a nearby ditch. Repeated attempts by DNREC to contact the permit holders to resolve the violations were ignored.

The order requires the permit holders to complete the following actions within 30 days of the receipt of the order:

Pump the system to prevent surfacing;
Contract with a DNREC-licensed wastewater operator to oversee daily operations of the facility;
Contract with a Class C Design Engineer to perform mechanical testing of the entire disposal system;
Contract with a DNREC Class E System Contractor to repair the system as deemed necessary; and Perform infiltration testing on the collection system.

Regent Group Property Development and Ms. Howett have 30 days to request a public hearing before the order become binding.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Delaware State Fair Starts July 23rd

It coming up on that time of year again when the Delaware State Fair opens. The dates are July 23rd to August 1st. I usually try to go each year. I think it is best to hit there early in the week but not too early, as if you wait until the end of it those 4 H Baking exhibits have a good growth of mold growing on them. The first two days and the last day is never good either as some exhibitors have not set up or they have already taken their exhibit and left.

The admission price this year is Adults (ten and older) $6, Children 9 and under free, and there are of course special discount days and pre-ordering of tickets. I always think for a family of four or five it is an expensive deal for gate admission. It also pissed me off when you would go to a show that you had brought a ticket too and they charge you gate admission fees on top of that. I understand the vendors and exhibitors working in the fair have to pay for a daily ticket the same as everyone else. In doing a quick internet search of admission prices to State Fairs, the Delaware state fair ranks as one of the less expensive. Below are a few gate admission prices for an adult;
North Carolina $7
Minnesota State Fair $11
Texas State Fair $15
Iowa State Fair $7
Indiana State Fair $8
Missouri State Fair $8
Oregon State Fair $8
Alabama State Fair $6
Alaska State Fair $10
Arizona State Fair $10
Georgia State Fair $5
New Jersey State Fair $11

A Day in the Garden

The Sussex County Master Gardeners will have on Saturday July 18th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m 'A Day in the Garden.' Their demonstration garden will show Accessible Gardening, Children’s Garden, Trains, Vegetable Gardening, and more. This is always a good event and it is free.

The garden is behind the Sussex County Extension Office, which is located at 16483 County Seat Highway, Route 9, west of Georgetown, Delaware (east of Laurel). Look for the Blue & Gold Tent in the Sussex County Demonstration Garden immediately behind the office building. Bring a brown bag lunch and eat in their shaded picnic grove.

Sentenced To Death and Still Waiting

I was looking over the Delaware death row inmates and wondering why they are still alive. Look at these dates when they were sentenced;

Jermaine Marlow Wright, Offense: Murder 1st (2 Counts), Sentenced to Death: 10/29/1992
Fatally shot liquor store clerk Phillip Seifert, an amputee, during a 1991 Wilmington robbery.

Robert A. Gattis, Offense: Murder 1st, Sentenced to Death: 10/29/1992
Gattis was convicted in October 1992 of first degree murder in the shooting death of Shirley Y. Slay, 27, his former girlfriend. Gattis admitted shooting Slay once between the eyes on May 10, 1990 but said the gun went off accidentally.

Robert W. Jackson, III, Offense: Murder 1st, Sentenced to Death: 04/28/1993
Killed Elizabeth Girardi of Hockessin by repeatedly striking her with an ax during a theft.

Jack F. Outten, Jr., Offense: Murder 1st, Sentenced to Death: 04/30/1993
Along with cousins Steven and Nelson Shelton, robbed and killed 64-year old Wilson Mannon after a night of drinking. Nelson Shelton was executed on March 17, 1995. Steven Shelton was also sentenced to death.

Steven W. Shelton, Offense: Murder 1st, Sentenced to Death: 04/30/1993
Along with brother Nelson Shelton and cousin Jack Outten, robbed and killed 64-year old Wilson Mannon after a night of drinking. Nelson Shelton was executed on March 17, 1995. Jack Outten was also sentenced to death.

Craig A. Zebroski, Offense: Murder 1st, Sentenced to Death: 08/18/1997
Killed Joseph S. Hammond of New Castle, a 59-year old gas station attendant, during a botched robbery attempt in April 1996.

Adam W. Norcross, Offense: Murder 1st, Sentenced to Death: 10/03/2001
Norcross and co-defendant Ralph E. Swan broke into the home of and shot to death Kenton resident Kenneth Warren on November 4, 1996.

Ralph E. Swan, Offense: Murder 1st, Sentenced to Death: 10/03/2001
Swan and co-defendant Adam W. Norcross broke into the home of and shot to death Kenton resident Kenneth Warren on November 4, 1996.

Milton E. Taylor, Offense: Murder 1st, Sentenced to Death: 07/06/2001

Luis G. Cabrera, Murder 1st (2 Counts),Sentenced to Death: 03/14/2002

Luis E. Reyes, Offense: Murder 1st (2 Counts), Sentenced to Death: 03/14/2002

Gary W. Ploof, Offense: Murder 1st, Sentenced to Death: 08/22/2003
Juan J. Ortiz, Offense: Murder 1st, Sentenced to Death: 09/26/2003
Chauncy S. Starling, Offense: Murder 1st (2 Counts), Sentenced to Death: 06/10/2004

Michael R. Manley, Offense: Murder 1st, Sentenced to Death: 02/03/2006

David D. Stevenson, Offense: Murder 1st, Sentenced to Death: 02/03/2006

Ambrose L. Sykes, Offense: Murder 1st, Sentenced to Death: 09/20/2006

Lamont L. Norman, Offense: Murder 1st, Sentenced to Death: 09/28/2007

James E. Cooke, Jr.,Offense: Murder 1st, Sentenced to Death: 06/06/2007

Shannon M. Johnson, Offense: Murder 1st, Sentenced to Death: 09/05/2008

Not only have they been sitting there for a while, it usually was from two to five years before they had a trial.

Since 1992 only 14 Delaware inmates have been put to death. The last being Brian D. Steckel in 2005

Wayne Boney and Jock Rutmeyer - Someone Is looking for you

The Delmar High School Class of 1959 is in the process of planning their 50th. Class reunion and have lost contact with 2 classmates. If anyone has any information on the whereabouts of Wayne Boney or Joseph ( Jock ) Rutmeyer, could they please contact Thanks!

It's Joe Turkel Birthday

Joe Turkel, actor, was born today (1927). I best remember him as being Lloyd, the Bartender, in "The Shining" and his excellent performance in helping Jack put to rest his long struggle with sobriety by getting him good and sloshed. God, a good bartender is hard to find. So drink up to Joe Turkel and give him a rousing Happy Birthday!!

Jack ... "Hi Lloyd! Been away! Now I'm back."
Joe Turkel as Lloyd ... "Good evening, Mr. Torrence. It's good to see you."
Jack ... "It's good to be back Lloyd."

Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance ... "Here's to five miserable months on the wagon, and all of the irrepairable harm it's caused me."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Vive la France!

The French understand liberty and sending messages to it's government so much better than the United States. In spite of the economy and social condition of the United States on the Fourth of July we Americans simply went to watch fireworks under government control conditions. Our forefathers who founded this country would have barfed at what controlled government puppets we have become and thought - what a waste of their blood.

The French, on the other hand, who are experiencing the same problems we have - on their Bastille Day (celebrating the anniversary of the start of the French Revolution when the Bastille prison was stormed in 1789), burnt over 300 cars today and had riots all over France sending their messages loud and clear to the French government. Now violence on the eve of Bastille Day and bastille Day has become a tradition in France but perhaps the United States is in need of a little of that tradition.

Vive la France!

Vacation Bible School Time

As you drive around the area you can see on the church marquees that it is Vacation Bible School (VBS) time again. I think everyone has been to a Vacation Bible School at one time or another. My main memory of VBS was drinking Hawaiian punch and eating those little store bought ring cookies.

Talk about a money maker - not for the church - but for what I consider the niche market suppliers of Vacation Bible School material. It is always a surprise and shock how much the materials used in Vacation Bible School cost the church and for a small church it can be hard to put a VBS on due to the expense of the material and the shortage of volunteers. Of course this is too a large degree the churches fault. They do not have to go with the theme oriented VBS material that is sold and seems to be the most expensive part of the program. They can just stick to making those witness bracelets and sugar cube crosses, serve a few snacks, and have a little music and Bible study thrown in, with a wrap up on the last night with a hot dog party. Frankly I don't think the kids that attend them care one way or another. Not infrequently they are there because the parents figured it was cheap summer daycare. Vacation Bible School is another event that is part of small town community life - may it live on forever.

June Rogers has a Birthday Party - 1953

From the July 10, 1953 Bi-State Weekly
June Rogers and her birthday party at Trap Pond. Click to enlarge

Edge Effect: The Border Name Place

Over at Reflections on Delmarva Past there is a post on a book about border towns. Mike Dixon talks about the "Edge Effect: The Border Name Place", a book by Robert D. Temple. The book is about 80 towns that are on state borders including Delmar, Marydel, Mardela Springs, Pen Mar and Sylmar. At $35 for a paperback copy at Amazon it looks like this will call for a visit to a library to read it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Something New

On my way back from the Police Commission I drove down Pennsylvania Avenue. Besides the fake brick walkway they are adding there is a new stop sign at Pennsylvania and Grove, on Pennsylvania.

The Delmar Police Commission Meeting - July

It was a quiet and quick Police Commission meeting. All were present except the Police Chief. Among the items discussed;

There has not been that many disturbances at the new Skateboard Park and Basketball court. There is still some complaints from people on Spruce street about it.

There was a complaint of a hooker working around one of the parks

There has been at least three reported incidents this year of trucks hauling chicken parts and chicken waste thru town that have had their cargo splash out on to Richardson's car lot (Car City) and the street. A brief discussion followed as to how they might handle it.

Commissioner Carrie Williams said four or five kids about the age of eight to twelve years old were vandalizing houses in her neighborhood. Usually they are active in the evening thru the week and she thinks the older ones might be doing drugs in one of the vacant houses.

I complained about the new McDonalds not having a stop sign at their exit. People leaving McDonald pull out into the street between McDonalds and WaWa with out stopping.

The Delmar Police Commission Meeting

As a reminder the Delmar Police Commission will hold their quarterly meeting tonight at 6:30 PM at Town Hall. If you have a police question this would be a good meeting to attend.

Oliver Evans, Delaware Inventor and Engineer

Today in 1805, out of Oliver Evans workshop in Philadelphia, a machine that looked like it came off the set of 'Mad Max' rolled out. It was Oliver Evan's 'Oructor Amphibolos,' an Amphibious Dredge. Evans had received a contract from Philadelphia to built a dredge to remove mud from around the Philadelphia docks. At this time he was already well known for his high pressured steam engines so he designed a five horsepower steam engine that he put on a 15 ton scow. The scow had wheels mounted to it and it became self driven. His workshop was a mile and half from the Schuykill River so he drove the machine to the river than sailed it under steam power sixteen miles to the docks in Philadelphia where he dredged mud. The 'Oructor Amphibolos,' which is Latin for "Amphibious Dredge." was the first overland vehicle in the U.S. and the first amphibian vehicle anywhere in the world.

So who was Oliver Evans? Oliver Evans was born in Newport, Delaware, September 13, 1755, son of Charles and Ann Stalcop Evans, a good Welsh family. He claimed over 80 inventions for which he was responsible. Apprenticed to a wheelwright he was a self taught inventor and by age 22 he had invented a machine to form teeth for textile cards, later he would invent a steam carriage, the Orukter Amphibolos, a central hot-air heating system, a solar boiler, a vapor-compression refrigeration cycle, a process for making millstones, a machine gun, a gas-lighting system, a way to raise sunken ships, a self-oiling shaft bearing, a gearshift for his steam carriage, a kneading machine for bread dough, and a perpetual baking oven. He even devised a way to heat mill buildings, using the exhaust of his high-pressure steam engines.

It is hard say if he is best known for his high pressured steam engines or his automated flour mills. His two brothers and him went into the flour-milling business. While working at the flour mill, he invented the grain elevator, conveyor, drill, hopper boy, and descender. These inventions essentially automated the flour-milling process to the point that the mill could be run by one person. In the late 1780s the legislatures of Maryland and Pennsylvania granted Evans the exclusive rightto the application of these improvements, and the U.S. Congress granted Evans U.S. patents for his flour-milling inventions in 1790. His was only the third patent granted by the U.S. government. His flour mill operation is in part still operational at the Greenbank Mill in Wilmington Delaware.

Oliver Evans died in New York City, April 15, 1819. He was honored in World War II by having the United States liberty ship 'SS Oliver Evans' named in his honor. New Castle County Delaware honors him by having a historical Markers at the intersection of Market Street and Augustine Avenue in Newport, Delaware. A good article on Evans is in American Heritage.

Oliver Evans, Delaware Inventor and Engineer.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sikhs, the Army, Turbans and beards

Another area I find interesting is the recent go around the US Army is having with two recruits that are Sikhs. They say when they enlisted the Army recruiter said it was okay for them to have beards and wear a turban (Wow a military recruiter stretching the truth to get someone to enlist - there is a first). The US Army is now saying no way, shave and ditch the turbans.

I understand Sikhism is the fifth largest world religion and frankly it seen to be one of the better ones (any religion that doesn't want to convert me to their religion is Okay with me).

The concept of God in Sikhism is of oneness with the entire universe and its spirit. God is found not by searching in remote places, but by eliminating ego, which is said to allow a deeper, more accurate perspective on the nature of reality. Sikhs believe they have no right to impose their beliefs on others or even to cajole members of other religions to convert. Such practices are strictly forbidden in Sikhism. Sikhs are required to defend the freedom of worship of other religions just as they would their own. Sikhs do not believe that followers of other religions are doomed in the eyes of God regardless of their personal character and behavior, nor does being born into a Sikh family guarantee salvation. However, this does not mean Sikhs view all religions as being similar. The philosophy, practice, and history of Sikhism are unique and seen as clearly distinct from any other religion.

Every Sikh baptized as Khalsa vows to wear the Five "K's": Kesh - uncut hair and beard, as given by God, to sustain him or her in higher consciousness; and a turban, the crown of spirituality. Kangha - a wooden comb to properly groom the hair as a symbol of cleanliness. Katchera - specially made cotton underwear as a reminder of the commitment to purity. Kara - a steel circle, worn on the wrist, signifying bondage to Truth and freedom from every other entanglement. Kirpan - the sword, with which the Khalsa is committed to righteously defend the fine line of the Truth.

So enter the problem with the Army and the Sikhs; Kesh - uncut hair and a turban. Now this is just military bullshit as we know Sikhs and the Gurkhas are some of the best fighters in the world. Most Armies in the world have no problems with beards or turbans. The Military could just make an exception based on religion and get on with their purpose in society. However let me relate my personal insight of exceptions in the Military. Back in the 1960's American Blacks were growing Afro's. They said it showed their culture and heredity. The Afro hair do was grown big. In the Military a cover (hat) would not fit over it. The Military made an exception and said those outlandish haircuts were okay. No big thing except for everyone who was not black now looked at black people in the military as people who had special favors granted them. It created a division in the military and when in a firefight Mr. Special found he was about to get his ass kicked, backs were turned and they let Mr. Special get his ass kicked.

Now I doubt a Dentist and a Doctor is going to have to worry much about having his back covered as only 10% of the military is actually involved in fighting. The rest are support people. The Military has three ways it can go; one, grant the privilege to everyone in the military or two, don't give any exceptions to anyone or three create a segregated units just for Sikhs. Anywhere in between creates more problems than it solve.

Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

In a bizarre and historically inaccurate portrait of a state there is a politically correct movement underway to shorten the name of their state from Rhode Island and Providence Plantations to just Rhode Island. Rhode Island is the state that keeps beating us out for the claim to fame of being the smallest state in the union (Rhode Island 1,545 square miles, Delaware 1,954 square miles - taken at low tide no doubt.) Not only are they the smallest state that has the longest name they are now out to prove, once again, that they have some of the dumbest residents. They want to shorten their state name because they feel the word 'plantations' bring back memories of 'Gone With The Wind' and slavery. Save me from the politically correct. Plantations is an old word referring to a farm. Many older wills and documents on Delmarva refers to the plantations that were owned by the deceased.

Roger Williams, who advocate abolition of slavery, and equal treatment to Native Americans, founded 'Providence Plantations' as a separate colony. It later merged with Rhode Island, which was also a separate colony to form the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Altho slavery did exist in Rhode Island it was limited and the slaves were used more in ship building and trades than stoop labor on farms.

Now the politically correct people would like to change the name and last Thursday Rhode Island House lawmakers voted 70-3 to let residents decide whether their home should simply be called the "State of Rhode Island." It is laughable. How much money will be spent on this possible name change? Like the money could be spent on nothing else productive. The unemployment rate for May in Rhode Island was 12.1% and expected to climb. This is a state heavy in unions, teachers, and state workers (same road Delaware is on). They voted liberal bleeding hearts (democrats)to be in the state legislature and what they got for that vote was social spending programs, and nice deals for the unions and state/municipal workers. I have always consider a company to be in trouble when they decide to change their name. It means the Board of Directors are so incompetent they can make no decision to grow or make the company more profitable so they go with a name change. Now we have a whole state that is incompetent and can't agree on anything, so they are thinking of changing their name.

A look at old Delmar

Barbara Moore O'Neal sent me some photo's of Delmar back in the 1950's and 1940's. I am publishing a few of them. In the background you can see what Delmar looked liked at that time. Of note, I posted Barbara's engagement 1956 article and she is still married to the same person.

maybe the 1950's notice the multiple tracks and buildings standing at that time in west Delmar and the train station.

Similar view today

Erma Smith and Elizabeth (I would guess in the 1940's) notice the Movie theatre and the restaurant where the Apartments and Sports Nuts bar is today.

Pennsylvania Ave about the same location today

Barbara and her sister (I would guess in the 1940's?) on North Second Street

North Second Street today