Archive for the ‘History’ category

We Must Never Forget Them…

May 26, 2009

As we pass another Memorial Day, we continue to have troops engaged in active military operations in several countries.

Some will never return from the field of battle.

In their memory, we present this clip, because we can never forget them and the scores who followed before them…


That masterful piece of storytelling is the work of Emmy-award winning reporter Boyd Huppert, with KARE TV 11 in Minneapolis.

It’s part of a series he does called Land Of 10,000 Stories…

You can see more of Boyd’s work here.


Artist Kaziah Hancock is part of something called Project Compassion, which involves 4 other artists doing the same thing.

You can learn more about their efforts by clicking this link here.


My Zimbio

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The Day The Gas Ran Out….

May 15, 2009

Former president Jimmy Carter sat before Congress recently complaining that things haven’t changed much since he was president with regard to dependence on oil.

And he warned the problems we faced back then when the gas ran out are bound to happen again.

The gas stopped flowing late in 1973, when the oil producing countries of the Middle East decided to teach the world a lesson..

On October 17, 1973 OPEC, the oil cartel voted to stop shipping petroleum to countries that were supporting Israel in a war with two of its Arab neighbors.

That conflict began when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel during the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kipper.

The effect of the embargo was swift and dramatic.

Gas prices jumped from about 25 cents a gallon to nearly a dollar—if you could get gas.

Service stations ran out of fuel.

People waited in lines for two or three hours to buy gas—which service station operators voluntarily rationed to stretch their supply as much as possible.

A nationwide speed limit of 55mph was imposed to save fuel—and the Department of Energy was formed to create a cohesive energy policy…

On March 17, 1974 OPEC voted to end the embargo—but the United States was wary–and was looking at conservation….

In 1977, in a speech that was rife with conservation symbolism, newly inaugurated President Jimmy Carter sat next to a lit fireplace, in a sweater—talking about creating a long range energy policy for our country.

But in 1979—the gas ran out AGAIN.

This time the precipitating cause was the Ayatollah Khomenini’s Iranian revolution that forced the dictatorial Shah of Iran from the country.

Once again— shortages created gas lines…

Service stations shut down several days a week—and gas was available either on odd or even days—depending on the whether the last number of your license plate was odd or even..

The situation got so bad—the government printed gas rationing coupons—but they were never issued…

People lowered heating thermostats to 65 degrees—and tried other ways to conserve petroleum…

Eventually the shortages abated..

Now, more than 30 years later, many of the initiatives proposed in the 70’s under Jimmy Carter have gone unheeded.

Had we worked toward energy independence THEN— we might not be in the situation we’re in now.

After a brief respite—gas prices are on the march upward again. And as they burn more and more of our disposable income, are we going to let another 30 years slide by before we do anything— or are we going to demand our leaders begin crash programs now to help mitigate our energy problems today?

The choice is yours.

Don’t let them fuel us again.


My Zimbio

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Pigging Out On The Swine Flu….

April 29, 2009

Like a toddler in a playpen grasping at the most shiny object that captures its attention, the media has glommed on to the Swine Flu story as the most desirable object at the moment and is engaged in frenzied, saturation coverage…

Before you run in fear at the sight of a pig, someone sniffling—or go hide under the covers till all this passes—you may want to know—some of us have heard all this before.

It was back in 1976—and a soldier at Fort Dix told his drill instructor he wasn’t feeling well.

With-in the day, 19-year-old Army Private David Lewis died.  The government identified the culprit as a “Swine Flu”—and predicted a horrifying epidemic…

It recommended mass inoculations—and along with the the frenetic news reports predicting dire consequences—-the government created a massive public relations campaign aimed at selling the fear of Swine Flu death.

The funny thing was— the supposed epidemic never materialized and  the only one person who ever succumbed to the  Swine Flu back then was Private Lewis.

Although just one person died from the Swine Flu, records indicate hundreds died from talking the shots that were created to protect people from the virus.

As you can read here there were a lot of political pressures and other factors involved in creating the turmoil about the ’76 Swine Flu epidemic.


Although it’s been over 3 decades since the Swine Flu was first discovered at Fort Dix— researchers have never been able to figure out HOW it originated there.

And that’s the funny thing about this latest outbreak of Swine Flu.

All the experts say they can’t figure out WHY it started in Mexico.

These viruses usually take root in Asia, and work their way around the world.

There’s no known reason for it to begin in Mexico.

THE  “B”  WORD…….

There’s one more little tidbit about this strain of the Swine Flu that’s odd.

It’s  makeup is something no one has ever seen before—and it’s highly unusual in its structure.

You see, it combines elements of three KINDS of flu: Swine, Bird and Human flu.

No one has ever seen a virus with all three of those characteristics together.

It almost sounds like it was specifically designed.

Let’s try and connect what few dots are out there.

  • * A hither-to unknown kind of virus, showing up in a place where it shouldn’t be.
  • * A virus with unusual characteristics that appears to be “created.”
  • * Mexican population panicked by threat.


Does it sound like maybe this was a test run of a generically engineered bit of Bio-Terrorism?

Before you dismiss that possibility—let’s see how this one plays out…


My Zimbio

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Kill The Message—Not The Messenger…

February 20, 2009

Could you get by for one week without turning to the Internet for something?

Chances are you can’t.

But, old line newspaper folks are tossing about the idea that they should pull the plug on Internet news reporting for a week— just to show us how important newspapers are…

That’s an interesting thought—but do newspapers REALLY think they can turn back the on-line revolution?

As you can read here, the papers are upset that the Internet has been “poaching” their news for years—and they believe it is helping to hasten their decline.

That may be partly true—but the fact remains—newspapers have buried their heads in their ink barrels for years—and for the most part—failed to take full advantage of the electronic world the net offers.

Over 20 years ago— those who provided us with the daily printed word began to flirt with the the concept of putting content on line—and in the intervening decades pretty much haven’t moved beyond the philosophy that the on-line edition “won’t be much competition to the street edition” of the paper which is articulated at the end of the video below.

This is not an anti-newspaper screed. EYE am old enough to have started my career writing for papers.

But, as times changed, so did EYE, moving from radio to TV—and now into the ‘net.

There was a time when TV threatened to put radio and the movies out of business.

But both those mediums re-invented themselves and became more viable today than they were when they had no competition.

Now— newspapers need to learn the same lesson.

Adapt or die.

And right now the newspaper business is dying.

They have a choice—but their time to decide is running out.


My Zimbio

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Cranking Up Technology….

January 8, 2009

The annual MacWorld expo is in full swing—and folks are waiting  to see what cool techie things Apple is going to introduce this year.

Among the rumored—and hoped for items—an Iphone nano, a smaller, more economical version of the hugely popular Iphone.

InformationWeek says here that an Iphone nano would probably sell for around $99.00, which would make it especially appealing in this time of a sagging economy.

The IPhone’s just the latest example of cool-tech that we all embrace without a thought.

But it wasn’t that long ago that a simple change for a relatively low-tech device brought about consternation, worry—and massive education campaigns.

EYE am talking about the switch from the “pick-up and speak” phone to the dial phone.

Back in the day, the Bell System rolled out the dial phone slowly—in small areas of the country.

And it took a lot of effort to teach folks how to dial a phone.

It wasn’t like the phone was a new thing. It had been around several decades before dials were introduced to replace operators connecting your number…

But phone company officials were scared the public wouldn’t get it.

Part of that education campaign included short-subject movies that were shown at the local theatres in between the newsreels and cartoons—explaining to folks HOW to “dial-it-yourself.”

Some of the movies were better than others content-wise.

My favorite is this little story about a fictional family—whose grumpy ‘ole grandpa becomes the biggest booster of the new dial phones..



Now-a-days, we’re so used to high tech phones and such we generally start using them right out of the box—leaving the instruction books unopened—still in their protective shrink-wrap.

Although we’ve come a long way from the days of the crank-phone—one thing hasn’t changed.

Just like the crank phone days—we’re still periodically shouting into our super cool, high-tech cell phones, “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW??”


My Zimbio

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Radio Daze…

January 5, 2009

When EYE was a kid, my world revolved around radio.

My little transistor radio brought music and personalities into my life in a very special way…

Radio was such a big deal in my life EYE’m told my first word was “hotdog!” —a favorite expression of radio personality Arthur Godfrey whom my mother listened to religiously, as did  millions of others…

Back in the 60’s—Godfrey was huge.

Edgy as Howard Stern. Influential as Rush Limbaugh, and as popular as Ryan Seacrest.

Godfrey’s radio shows drew such huge audiences, that several were simulcast on the fledgling medium known as television to help create an audience there.

He was so powerful— he could get away with  dissing his sponsors big-time while still selling the hell out of the product.

Radio was such a part of my life that at the age of 5, EYE apparently woke up in the middle of the night, marched into my parents room, announced EYE was going to be a radio actor, and then walked out again—to return to sleep.

Whether EYE  was huddled under the covers in my bed late at night listening to the far away radio stations whose AM signals went great distances after dark— or just keeping up with the latest “rock & roll” hit, radio was personal.

The mid-70’s brought a change to radio…

There was a new era of personalities who were becoming the Arthur Godfrey’s of their time.

Among them, legendary disc jockey Bob Vernon who moved up from Cleveland to eventually preside over the afternoon craziness on WNBC radio in New York  as “Vernon With A “V”…

As he explains:

We were creating a new kind of radio in those days. Up until then, every Program Director and consultant in the country were hammering it into jocks to “Keep a smile in your voice and SELL the music.” Our little band of radio people in Cleveland thought that was incredibly boring. John Lund, our Program Director, and Jack Thayer, our General Manager, encouraged us to see how many of the traditional radio rules we could break – as long as the ratings kept growing. And they did.

But something was happening to radio.

It was becoming less personal…

Sony Invented the Walkman, a portable tape recorder with headphones that allowed you to create your own playlists of music—with no interference by announcers.

Boomboxes also became popular—blasting pre-recorded music loudly about the area.

Again—no one wanted to hear “traditional” radio programs.

Then came the Ipod—combining the best of playlists and radio.

Yes, you can just use it as an music player. Or you can download podcasts of radio programs—and listen to them the way we used to listen to transistor radios.

Both my kids have Ipods. And—just like me a generation ago— their headphones are glued to their ears as they listen to podcasts and to music.

EYE watch them enjoy their time with “radio” in a slightly different form.

Yes, radio has become personal again—only the delivery system has changed.

In the words of Arthur Godfrey, HOTDOG!


My Zimbio

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It Was Hurry Up And Wait In 2008…

December 31, 2008

It is one of the most enduring mysteries in the history of  air travel.

A man hijacked an aircraft for ransom—and escaped without ever being caught.

In 2008 the FBI decided to re-open the case of D.B. Cooper.

Four months later—they thought they had a huge new lead.

But, like the elusive hijacker they are still seeking, their big lead vanished into thin air…


Originally published in the blog, BETWEEN the LINES prior to it being disabled by a faulty system upgrade under the title:


His name was D.B. Cooper—or at least that’s what he called himself when he purchased an airline ticket to Seattle aboard Northwest Airlines on Thanksgiving Eve 1971..

By the time the flight was over—Cooper disappeared with $200,000 dollars he’d demanded as part of his hijacking scheme.

36 years later—Cooper, and MOST of the money—remain missing.

Now—as you can read in this link to the FBI’s website—the bureau is renewing its efforts to find him…

It was one of the biggest news stories of the time.

A man claiming to have a briefcase full of dynamite demands almost a quarter of a million in cash—and 4 parachutes….

He lets the plane land in Seattle, allows everyone but the crew to leave—and demands the aircraft fly to Mexico City after he’s given the cash and parachutes..

He orders the rear door be opened—and the plane to fly low and slow…

Somewhere over Nevada he jumps from rear stairs of the Boeing 727 aircraft disappearing into the night—and becoming the stuff of folk lore in the process…

In 1980, a young boy finds about $5800 in twenty dollars bills in a stream..The money is part of Cooper’s loot..

In the intervening years—a number of folks have either claimed to be Cooper—or said they know who Cooper was…

Nothing has ever panned out.

Now the FBI would like to get their man—and they’re asking for the public’s help.

Who knows—in today’s Internet based society—maybe someone will know who D.B. Cooper is..

Or maybe he’s reading this right now !

Originally posted in the blog, BETWEEN the LINES on April 1, 2008 under the title:



D.B Cooper—the man who jumped into history books back in 1971 as the only person to get away with hijacking an airplane for ransom—may soon find history books about the case being rewritten…

That’s because a couple of kids in Washington state MAY have found be a key piece of evidence—Cooper’s parachute.

Back in January, we told you how the FBI decided to reopen the case after 36 years hoping new evidence would surface…

And surface it did—quite literally in Amboy, Washington where a man was grading a road…

His kids found some cloth sticking up at the site—and they began digging to unearth it…


Eventually, they revealed a full parachute…

Now, as you can see here—the FBI is trying to figure out if it was the same kind of Military chute given to Cooper as part of his demands during the skyjacking…

The FBI’s had the now retired military rigger who packed Cooper’s chute examine the remains—but they’re not allowing him to talk about what he found during his analysis…

Investigators hint they MAY have more to say about the case later this week…

One more thing to keep in mind.

After he jumped Cooper left behind his necktie…

In 2007, The FBI was able to lift DNA from that tie.

That DNA may ultimately figure into this case.


BUT— as of December 30, 2008—Nothing has happened with the case — And we’re still waiting for the FBI to solve it


My Zimbio

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