Saturday, April 10, 2010

General Order Number Nine

HdQrs Army of No Va
10th April 1865
General Order
No 9

After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.

I need not tell the brave survivors of so many hard fought battles who have remained steadfast to the last that I have consented to this result from no distrust of them; but feeling that valour and devotion could accomplish nothing that would compensate for the loss that would have attended the continuance of the contest, I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their Countrymen.

By the terms of the Agreement officers and men can return to their homes and remain there until exchanged.

You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray that a Merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection.

With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration for myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell.

R. E. Lee


Larry the Lobster is freed - maybe

Today in 1982 on Saturday Night Live Larry, a live lobster, was held aloft by Eddie Murphy and he told the TV audience they would decide Larry's fate by voting to determine if Larry lived or was eaten. He than gave two 900 numbers to call in for the vote. 239,096 callers voted to save him and 227,452 voted for him to be boiled.

Friday, April 09, 2010

National Chinese Almond Cookie Day

April 9th is National Chinese Almond Cookie Day.

Other food related news that happened today; in 1626 Sir Francis Bacon died of pneumonia after stuffing a chicken with snow to see the effect of coldest on preserving meat. see below which is from Wikipedia
In April 1626, Sir Francis Bacon came to Highgate near London, and died at the empty (except for the caretaker) Arundel mansion. A famous and influential account of the circumstances of his death was given by John Aubrey in his Brief Lives. Aubrey has been criticized for his evident credulousness in this and other works; on the other hand, he knew Thomas Hobbes, the fellow-philosopher and friend of Bacon. Aubrey's vivid account, which portrays Bacon as a martyr to experimental scientific method, has him journeying to Highgate through the snow with the King's physician when he is suddenly inspired by the possibility of using the snow to preserve meat. "They were resolved they would try the experiment presently. They alighted out of the coach and went into a poor woman's house at the bottom of Highgate hill, and bought a fowl, and made the woman exenterate it". After stuffing the fowl with snow, he happened to contract a fatal case of pneumonia. Some people, including Aubrey, consider these two contiguous, possibly coincidental events as related and causative of his death: "The Snow so chilled him that he immediately fell so extremely ill, that he could not return to his Lodging ... but went to the Earle of Arundel's house at Highgate, where they put him into ... a damp bed that had not been layn-in ... which gave him such a cold that in 2 or 3 days as I remember Mr Hobbes told me, he died of Suffocation."

Today's Quote

"I have nothing. I owe much. I leave the rest to the poor."

from the last will of Francois Rabelais who died today in 1553 in Paris, France.

The Black Sheep Relative Makes News

Back in December 2007 I wrote about some of my Black Sheep Family relatives and the court sysytem, well one of them is back in the news again. The oldest of that family, Eddie, was picked up recently for trying to hit a sheriff's deputy with his car. Naturally after being arrested for that he was also charged with operating an unregistered vehicle, displaying registration plates belonging to another vehicle, driving without a license, driving on a suspended license and driving on a suspended out-of-state license. Now this happen so often with this family (I think his two brothers are already in Wicomico County Detention Center - making it a family reunion) that it would be an amusing reflection on the court system if it was not for the fact that some innocent person is going to get hurt at some point.

DNREC Press Release

Delaware receives title transfer to ex-USS Radford, setting course for summer sinking of longest ship reefed in Atlantic

DOVER— It’s “Ship sinking ahoy!” for Delaware’s artificial reef program after DNREC Secretary Collin P. O’Mara signed a transfer agreement accepting title to the retired destroyer USS Arthur W. Radford—which will become the longest vessel ever reefed in the Atlantic Ocean when sunk later this year.

The 563-foot-long Radford is tentatively scheduled to go down in August onto the Del-Jersey-Land Inshore Reef site, located 26 miles southeast of the Indian River Inlet. The reef’s name comes from the three states—Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland—partnering with the U.S. Navy to enhance fisheries habitat and recreational diving opportunities by putting the Radford on the ocean floor. The Navy also is sharing cost of reefing preparations, including transport of the ex-warship to its resting place in Delaware waters.

“Delaware is proud to be at the helm of a conservation project from which sportsmen and the environment alike can expect to derive great benefits,” said Sec. O’Mara. “We believe our artificial reef program’s renown will become an even bigger draw through the Radford’s sinking—and of course, drawing fish for anglers and divers is why we’re reefing the ship as marine habitat in the first place.”

Within the next two weeks, the Radford will be towed a short distance within the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where it’s now berthed, to Pier 5, Dry Dock 2, to be cleaned and prepared for sinking. Cleanup will follow EPA best management practices for reefing vessels and will be undertaken by American Marine Group, a Virginia-based contractor that has reefed many vessels along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

The ex-destroyer, named for Navy admiral Arthur W. Radford who served as the commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Command and chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was commissioned in 1977 and decommissioned in 2003. Following final inspection and clearance in August, the Radford will be towed down the Delaware River and to sea over the reef site, where it will be positioned for several days while the hull is strategically sliced open to allow for a methodical sinking by flooding its compartments.

Delaware has 14 permitted artificial reef sites in the Delaware Bay and coastal waters, with five of these sites located in federal (ocean) waters. Development of the sites began in 1995 as part of a comprehensive fisheries management effort by the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Delaware Reef Program. The collaborative Del-Jersey-Land Inshore Reef, which consists primarily of sunken retired ships and fishing boats, comprises an area of about one square mile with a depth of 120-130 feet.

“Having title really throttles up our anticipation for the sinking, because as we’ve said from the beginning, the Radford is an exceptionally good reefing candidate,” said Jeffrey Tinsman, manager of the Delaware Reef Program of DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife. “We are excited about adding this great vessel to a mid-Atlantic reef site that’s accessible from ports in three states.”

For more information on the state’s artificial reefs, please visit or contact Jeff Tinsman, Delaware Reef Program administrator, at (302) 739-4782.

Monday, April 05, 2010


The Nightmare Continues

So today I decided, for record keeping sake, to request a Delaware Fire Marshall Office report on my fire. It turns out (I was told) the secretaries (as in more than one) are out for the week (no reason given) and they have those records/files on their computers so one else can access them, but when they come back next week they will give me a call and see about producing a report for me. It seems like every place I go for service they are not set up to produce what I want but everyone stays on the payroll.

Helen learns w-a-t-e-r

Today in 1887 21-year-old Anne Sullivan teaches Helen Keller the word water.

Anne's Letter to Sophia C. Hopkins (April 5, 1887)

April 5, 1887.

I must write you a line this morning because something very important has happened. Helen has taken the second great step in her education. She has learned that everything has a name, and that the manual alphabet is the key to everything she wants to know.

In a previous letter I think I wrote you that "mug" and "milk" had given Helen more trouble than all the rest. She confused the nouns with the verb "drink." She didn't know the word for "drink," but went through the pantomime of drinking whenever she spelled "mug" or "milk." This morning, while she was washing, she wanted to know the name for "water." When she wants to know the name of anything, she points to it and pats my hand. I spelled "w-a-t-e-r" and thought no more about it until after breakfast. Then it occurred to me that with the help of this new word I might succeed in straightening out the "mug-milk" difficulty. We went out to the pump-house, and I made Helen hold her mug under the spout while I pumped. As the cold water gushed forth, filling the mug, I spelled "w-a-t-e-r" in Helen's free hand. The word coming so close upon the sensation of cold water rushing over her hand seemed to startle her. She dropped the mug and stood as one transfixed. A new light came into her face. She spelled "water" several times. Then she dropped on the ground and asked for its name and pointed to the pump and the trellis, and suddenly turning round she asked for my name. I spelled "Teacher." Just then the nurse brought Helen's little sister into the pump-house, and Helen spelled "baby" and pointed to the nurse. All the way back to the house she was highly excited, and learned the name of every object she touched, so that in a few hours she had added thirty new words to her vocabulary. Here are some of them: Door, open, shut, give, go, come, and a great many more.

Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Carlye S. Harris Shot Down Today in 1965

Today in 1965 Carlyle Smith "Smitty" Harris a pilot with the 45th Tactical Fighter Squadron, USAF, and from Preston Maryland, was shot down while on a mission to strike against the Thanh Hoa Bridge in North Viet Nam. He was part of a force consisting of 79 aircraft - 46 F105's, 21 F100's, 2 RF101's and 10 KC135 tankers. The F100's came from bases in South Vietnam, while the rest of the aircraft were from squadrons TDY at various Thailand bases was assembled and over a two day attack mission several aircraft were lost. On the second day Capt. Carlyle "Smitty" Harris was flying lead and reported his bombs had impacted the bridge, his aircraft however was on fire after the attack run. All flight members had him in sight until the fire died out, but observed no parachute, nor did they see the aircraft impact the ground. Smitty's aircraft had been hit right over the target, by what he believed was a 37 MM AA round. It was not until much later that it would be learned that Smitty had been captured by the North Vietnamese. Smitty was held prisoner for 8 years and released in 1973. Fellow POWs credit Smitty with introducing the "tap code" which enabled them to communicate with each other. Smitty remained in the Air Force retiring as a Colonel and moving to Mississippi.

The Passing of Antonio Nero

I saw in this week's Laurel Star an obituary for Antonio Nero,who died March 26th, now I didn't know Mr. Nero I just know his family and him had an impact on Delmar. It mentioned in the OB he had a restaurant in Delmar and the apartments currently up for sale were usually aways referred to as the Nero apartments. When I was Mayor I had several discussions with his son Eugene. I am sure if I had the time to talk to Gary Horseman he could tell me many more stories about Mr. Nero. It also mentioned Mr. Nero was the son of the father and mother who died from eating poison mushrooms. He was enterprising man who had a full life.

Quote of the Day

"Well they have given me strep and head lice but they haven't given me pink eye or ringworm - yet"
quote from a first year elementary school teacher who stopped by to visit us today.

Living At Pond's Edge

Well the insurance company put us up at the Pond's Edge apartment, in south Delmar. We have been here a little over a month now and I really like it. Particularly in comparison to living under a bridge or in a motel it is great, I still will be glad to get back into my own house.

The apartment complex is only a few years old and everything is kept up and in good shape. I have usually lived in a house that I had to maintenance so not having to cut grass and worry about heat and plumbing issues is pretty good. It has a pool and exercise room (like I will be using the exercise room), and parking isn't bad. Now we are awestruck by the closet space, after living in a 100 year old house where there were no closets we now have walk in closets, ironically all our clothes burnt so for a brief period we had nothing to put in the closets (they are now filled). The other great thing is the water pressure and hot water is there all the time. At our house if you were taking a shower and someone flushed a toilet you would end up with a dribble of water coming out of the shower head. Overall it pretty nice here if for no other reason than I don't have to worry about anything going wrong.

The three bedroom floor plan at Pond's Edge

There are a few draw backs living here. First there is a lot of dog owners here.

Some of the owners do not clean up after the dogs and it is not uncommon to step in dog shit.

The kitchen cabinets are made for some one about 8 feet tall. My wife had to get a four foot step ladder to get into the upper cabinets.

It has an Electric stove. Now both of us are use to cooking with gas and I have burned more food in this apartment than I would have thought possible. I won't miss not having one once we move back to our house.

The biggest drawback is it is not home.

Update on the Bureau of Engraving Issue

As you know, back a couple of weeks ago I mailed off some burnt currency from the house fire to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing Mutilated Currency Division. Now they require you to mail all mutilated currency by "Registered Mail, Return Receipt Requested." and insuring the shipment is the responsibility of the sender. It cost $16 for those mailing features so if you have less than $16 in mutilated currency it is a loser to send it to them.

Yesterday I received a letter from them acknowledging receipt of the currency and saying my case had been rated as a grade 2. They said a grade 2 is "Complete almost complete, or easily identified portions of notes, containing little amounts of foreign matter, checks are normally processed within 60 to 90 days." A check in 60 to 90 days - well I am glad I will be getting something but why does it take 60 to 90 days? They say they have received a large number of mutilated currency cases and it will be sometime before we shall be able to process your case. They will notify me of the determined value later. You know this has been an on-going thing with my house fire. The insurance adjuster said they didn't get back to us due to the large number of insurance claims from the blizzard. I try to be understanding but frankly I am tire of listening to these excuses, I pay taxes and I pay insurance premiums and I want action.

Helping The Daughter to relocate

Another trip to the western shore, and going over that overpriced toll bridge that should have no tolls charged by now because I am old enough to remember when they built it and the cock sucking Maryland Governor said once the bond was paid off the toll would go away. Lying ass politicians.

Well since I got that off my chest and out of the way, for the past couple of days I have been over in the Germantown, Maryland area helping my daughter move from one place to another.

The place she lived was a second floor apartment and I thought I would die climbing and going down stairs carrying stuff to the vehicle to be moved. Luckily for me she moved to a ground floor apartment.

The Germantown area has a lot of recreation areas and shopping areas in comparison to here but the number of people there kills a lot of the enjoyment of using those amenities.

I will say at this time of year it is a great looking area. With so many shopping centers and apartment/townhouse/conds complexes the area is covered in ornamental trees and shrubs. Developers consider native trees to be too difficult and too tall so they plant all those Bradford pear, crabapples and cherry trees. This time of year they are in bloom plus the State of Maryland has all those daffodils planted on the highways. It is great looking.

Some streets are just a tunnel of cherry, pear or apple blossoms, such as Mateny Court.

Another area we were in was Kentland which has a number of small businesses and and a nice looking downtown area, at least I think it was downtown, all those buildings run together and can't tell where you are. I will have to say more about it in the future.