Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Fine British Actor

British actor Rupert Graves was born on this day in 1963. His films include: The Madness of King George, Damage, Maurice, A Room with a View, Doomsday Gun, Mrs. Dalloway and others.

I guess he just needed a change . . .

1985 - Yul Brynner left his role as the King of Siam after 4,600 performances in The King and I at the Broadway Theatre in New York City. The show had run -- on and off -- for over 34 years.

Don't Go Near the Water

The famous July 4th scene from the Steven Spielberg movie, Jaws, was filmed on this day in 1974. A crowd of 400 screaming, scared, panic-stricken extras in bathing suits ran from the water, over and over and over again, until the scene was perfect. No man-eating killer white sharks were harmed during the production of this paragraph...

A Most Dangerous Odyssey

1859 - Frenchman Charles Blondin aka Jean Francois Gravelet crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope! It took him five minutes. 25,000 spectators stood and stared as he made his way across the falls in a most dangerous Odyssey ... one he had made several times before on stilts; carrying another man on his back; pushing a wheelbarrow; and even once, blindfolded. What some people do with nothing but spare time on their hands! Next, they’ll be going over the falls in wooden barrels!

Unimaginable Devastation

Possibly the most powerful, natural explosion in recorded history occurred on this day in 1908 at 7:17 a.m. The site was the Tunguska section of Central Siberia.

The spectacular explosion devastated a forested area, some 70 miles in diameter, caused seismic shock, a firestorm followed by black rain and an illumination that, it is said, could be seen for hundreds of miles. Yet, no crater was formed, and only the tops of the trees were burned at the central point of the explosion. It is said that the impact threw down horses that had been standing in a field 400 miles away and moved the tracks of the Trans-Siberian Railway, as if in an earthquake. It flash-burned people 40 miles away, melted their silverware and destroyed herds of reindeer. In the photo above we see a portion of one of the photos from Kulik's aerial photographic survey (1938) of the Tunguska region. The parallel fallen trees indicate the direction of the blast wave.

Even now, no one knows what caused the explosion ... an extraterrestrial visitor? A comet? A meteor? A black hole? An atomic explosion?

It sure beats fighting, killing and suicide

Mazen Qupty has been assembling artwork for a Palestinian national art museum.
(Ziv Koren / Polaris / For The Times)

Friday, June 29, 2007

A Lasting Legacy

On June 29 in 1860, the last stone was laid at Minot’s Ledge (Massachusetts) Lighthouse (shown above). The stone tower replaced an iron-pile lighthouse that had been destroyed by a storm in April 1851. The new lighthouse was built of 1,079 blocks (3,514 tons) of Quincy granite dovetailed together and reinforced with iron shafts. Minot’s Light has lasted through countless storms and hurricanes, a testament to its designer and builders. The first 40 feet is solid granite, topped by a storeroom, living quarters and work space.

Ever hear of a boy named George Washington Goethals ??

No one had a clue that the baby boy named George Washington Goethals, born on this day in 1858 in Brooklyn, NY, would someday change the way the world did business.

As an adult, Mr. Goethals became army officer and chief engineer over thousands of workers who completed the passage we know as the Panama Canal. The engineering marvel took eleven years to complete at a cost of $337 million. The U.S. President at the time, Theodore Roosevelt, said it was “the greatest task of its own kind that has ever been performed in the world.”

The United States government maintained control and payed rent to the Panamanian government until December 31, 1999, when it relinquished control of the canal to Panama.

We wonder if even Col. George W. Goethals knew how important the Panama Canal would be, both strategically and in commercial trade throughout the century.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Happy Birthday MARK !!

Born on this day in 1964, Mark (Eugene) Grace played 13 seasons for the Chicago Cubs, winning four gold gloves and being honored as an All Star three times. In the 1989 National League Championship Series Mark's performance was unforgettable in his duel with Will Clark -- GRACE batted 647 with 8 RBI and 1 HR and Clark batted 650 with 8 RBI and 1 HR to help San Francisco win in 5 games. Mark batted over 300 nine times. His over-all batting average was 303. Mark's specialty was magnificent fielding and clutch hitting. Thanks, Mark. for being there.

Happy Birthday MEL and thanks for the laughs

Born on this day in 1926 - Mel Brooks (Kaminsky), director, actor, producer, writer or in short -- GENIUS. His movies Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, High Anxiety and The Producers are comedic gems that can be enjoyed over and over again. In earlier years he was a comedy writer for TV's Your Show of Shows and Get Smart. In recent years he produced the Broadway HIT show The Producers.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hamgzhou Bay Bridge is the world's longest

NINGBO, Zhejiang Province -- Chinese engineers on Tuesday oversaw the connection of two sides of a 36-kilometer-long bridge, the world's longest sea crossing structure. Workers fixed the last steel beam to the bridge spanning Hangzhou Bay, near Shanghai, linking Haiyan of Jiaxing City to Cixi of Ningbo city in Zhejiang Province, east China.

The bridge will cut the length of the road trip from Shanghai to Ningbo by 120 km when it opens to traffic in August 2008. It is designed to last 100 years. The bridge, with a 32-km section spanning the sea, is a cable-stayed structure built at a cost of 11.8 billion yuan (1.42 billion U.S. dollars). Private investors funded almost 30 percent of the project, the first time China's private sector has invested in a major public infrastructure project in the country.

Construction of the six-lane bridge, which will have a speed limit of 100 km per hour, began in November 2003. Workers will finish the road paving by the end of the November.

The bridge was a key part of east China's freeway network and represented advanced technologies in bridge building, said Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan in a congratulatory letter. Wang Yong, head of the project, said the project led to more than 250 technological innovations and engineering breakthroughs. The project survived 17 challenges, including typhoons, sea tides and geological problems, during construction, said Wang

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Do you know who holds the record for the most Runs Batted In during a single season ??

Hack (Lewis Robert) Wilson, Baseball Hall of Famer who took the Chicago Cubs to the World Series in 1929 and set the record for RBI's in a season: 190 in 1930. The record still stands today. Hack Wilson was born on this day in 1900. He died Nov 23, 1948.

"Three Blind Mice"

You’ve heard of players, managers and owners being ejected from baseball games, right? But have you ever heard of an organist being given the heave-ho? It happened at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater, Florida (the home of the Philadelphia Phillies during spring training in 1985; a Class A League team uses the stadium the rest of the season). Wilbur Snapp played Three Blind Mice following a call by umpire Keith O’Connor. The umpire was not amused and saw to it that Mr. Snapp was sent to the showers.

Toronto's Finest and Tallest . . .

Early into the 1970s, the folks in Toronto, Canada were having problems with their TV and radio reception. Interference from the many skyscrapers being built in the city were causing TV shows to be superimposed on top of each other. To remedy the situation, the Canadian National Railway Company was commissioned to build an antenna that would tower over every building ever built. The antenna design turned into a tourist attraction design by John Andrews Architects and Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Architects; and after 40 months, the completed CN Tower opened ... on this day in 1976.
63 million dollars and 1,537 people were needed to complete the tallest free standing structure and building in the world. The CN (Canadian National) Tower, including the 335 foot (102 meters), steel, broadcasting antenna, is 1,815 feet, 5 inches tall (553.33 meters). At 1,465 feet, you’ll be standing on the world’s highest public observation deck, the Space Deck. You can take one of six elevators to the Sky Pod level at a speed of 15 miles per hour. After your 58-second-long trip, you can take another elevator inside the tower to the Space Deck. Or, you could climb the 1769 steps up the tower. You’ll have the distinction of dining in the world’s highest and largest revolving restaurant, aptly named "360", the home of the world’s highest wine cellar. Wine cellars are usually under the building, this one’s on top of the world!

Sixteen Toronto TV and FM radio stations broadcast their signals from the antenna ... and all over Southern Ontario, Canada, TV viewers and radio listeners can see and hear clearly, all because of the CN Tower ... Toronto’s favorite tourist attraction.

Monday, June 25, 2007

It Pays to Be Ignorant

On this day in 1942 America heard the first broadcast of "It Pays to Be Ignorant," a radio comedy show which maintained its popularity during a nine-year run on three networks for such sponsors as Philip Morris, Chrysler and DeSoto. The show was a spoof on the authoritative, academic discourse evident on such intellectual panel series as Quiz Kids and Information Please. The beginning of the show parodied "Doctor I.Q.". With announcers Ken Roberts and Dick Stark, the show aired on Mutual from June 25, 1942, to February 28, 1944, then on CBS from February 25, 1944, to September 27, 1950, and finally on NBC from July 4, 1951, to September 26, 1951.

Harry McNaughtonThe satirical series featured "a board of experts who are dumber than you are and can prove it." Tom Howard was the quizmaster who asked questions of dim-bulb panelists Harry McNaughton, Lulu McConnell and George Shelton. The Irish-born Howard (1885-1955) and Shelton (1885-1972) had previously worked together as a team in vaudeville and comedy film shorts, while McConnell (1882-1962) and British comic McNaughton (1896-1967) had both appeared in many Broadway musical comedies and revues between 1920 and the late 1930s.

Howard's questions often had the answer obvious in the query ("What town in Massachusetts had the Boston Tea Party?") or were common knowledge:

"Can you tell me the man's name children look for on Christmas Eve?"
"How long does it take a ship to make a five-day journey?"
"What animal does a blacksmith make horse shoes for?"
"For what meal do we wear a dinner jacket?"
"What is the habitat of the Bengal tiger?"
Some questions were just plain stupid:

"Do married men live longer than single men?" ("No, it only seems longer.")
"On what side do you milk a cow?" ("The outside.")
Even so, the panelists would inevitably get the answer wrong, providing outrageously funny answers instead, followed by an even more uproarious rationale for their answer. The show had a number of running gags which became catch phrases with listeners such as McNaughton's "Now we're back to Miss McConnell again" and Shelton's "I used to woik in that town."

The original radio cast brought the show to television in 1949-51, first on CBS and then on NBC. In the 1973-1974 syndicated TV version, host Joe Flynn queried panelists Jo Anne Worley, Billy Baxter and Match Game-regular Charles Nelson Reilly.
It Pays to Be Ignorant panelists ponder question, "What season of the year do you get Spring fever?" (l-r) Tom Howard, Harry McNaughton, Lulu McConnell, George Shelton.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn

On this day in 1876 Indian Chief Crazy Horse won the two-hour Battle of the Little Bighorn, Montana, wiping out the army of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer. Custer, who led the battle against the Sioux Indian encampment, was among the 200+ casualties. Ironically, the only survivor of Custer’s forces was a horse, Comanche.

The "Chief Crazy Horse" monument is a "work in progress" in South Dakota.

Bathing Beauties of 1926

Sunday, June 24, 2007

They don't "rough it" anymore like they used to . . .

The Wawona Hotel, which dates back to the 19th century, includes a putting green and a nine-hole golf course.
(Chris Reynolds / LAT)

A Little Piece of Paradise

In Yosemite National Park, the Ahwahnee Hotel's Great Lounge, built in 1927, includes a stone fireplace and is impressive along with the cuisine.
(Chris Reynolds / LAT)

San Francisco Icon

San Francisco Ferry Building from the bay.

Los Angeles Cloverleaf

Michael Muller, who got his professional start photographing snowboarders as a teen, strapped himself into a harness and hung from outside of a helicopter chopper to capture get this shot of the 110 and 105 freeway interchange.

Explore Rome and all its glory, with just a click

ROME — Imagine strolling through the Forum like Emperor Constantine, or climbing the marble steps of the Senate amid the splendor that was ancient Rome, the caput mundi, the capital of the world.

Such flights of fancy have long been the dream of many a scholar, tourist and ordinary modern Roman. A new $2-million, 3-D computer project by a team of international experts may make the dream a reality — a virtual reality.

Designers of Rome Reborn claim it is the largest and most complete digital simulation of a historic city ever created.

Ten years in the making, the project was launched at UCLA, is based now at the University of Virginia and was unveiled to the public this week in Rome's City Hall.

It re-creates the Eternal City in AD 320, the time of Constantine, when Rome was at its peak with more than 1 million inhabitants.

Using historic maps, laser scans of Roman structures as they are today and the expertise of archeologists, artists and architects from Europe and the U.S., the creators of Rome Reborn have simulated 7,000 buildings and 31 monuments, including the Colosseum and others that are in ruins, such as the Temple of Venus and the Roman Senate.

The model shows almost the entire city within its original 13-mile Aurelian Walls as it appeared 1,700 years ago.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

First Automobile to Enter Yosemite

In 1900, Oliver Lippincott became the first motorist in Yosemite National Park, when he drove there in his Locomobile steamer. Lippincott would start a trend with his visit, as motorists increasingly chose to drive to National Parks, avoiding the more time-consuming train and coach rides. By 1901, a number of other motorists had made the trip to Yosemite, mostly in Locomobiles. A personal account survives from motorist William A Clark, who, with his wife, drove the fifth car into the park. Clark, who traveled from San Francisco, eloquently expressed the miraculous feeling of climbing to the elevation of 7,500 feet above sea level on the Big Oak Flat Road: "Individually, our souls were inspired; mentally, we were enchanted; personally, we could say nothing, for words fail when the Creator lays before us the sublime in the highest sense." Of his arrival into the Yosemite Valley, Clark described a less sublime, but equally sympathetic, brand of satisfaction: "We ran our machine into the midst of a circle of Eastern tourists, seated around a large campfire. To say that the apparition of an automobile suddenly appearing among them called forth general applause and hearty congratulations but feebly expresses it." The automobile is in large part responsible for creating the uniquely American culture of the National Park. The illustration above shows an 1899 Locomobile steamer.

A lesson to be learned . . .

1993 - Lorena Bobbitt cut off her husband’s, uh, you know, with a butcher knife -- while he was sleeping. Police recovered the, uh, thingy, from the roadside where Lorena tossed it. It was surgically reattached to hubby John Wayne Bobbitt, who, by then, was wide awake. Lorena said that she chopped off John’s, uh, gizmo, because he had forced himself on her. We are certain there are lessons to be learned here, but where to start...

The Enchanted Tiki Room

How lucky we all are that Walt Disney changed his mind, and instead of opening the Bird Cafe, a Chinese restaurant with an animated, talking Chinese elder spouting Confucius-type bits of wisdom, he created the Enchanted Tiki Room. On this day in 1963, the sounds of Polynesian drums heraldedthe opening of Disneyland’s first Audio-Animatronic attraction.

If you’ve never been inside the Enchanted Tiki Room, where all the birds sing words and the flowers croon, you are in for a refreshingly innocent 15 (used to be 18) minutes of entertainment. If you’ve experienced this Disney delight, you’ll most likely agree that, after all the thrills and chills of other attractions, the Enchanted Tiki Room is the perfect place to chill out (literally, it’s air-conditioned) and let the Tiki gods take over.

In the tropical garden outside the Enchanted Tiki Room, the Tiki gods and goddesses, Maui, Koro, Tangaroa-Ru, Hina Kuluna, Pele, Negendei, Rongo and Tongoroa set the mood, telling you of their South Sea legends.

The Enchanted Tiki Room entertainment troupe consists of 225 singing, talking birds, flowers, tiki gods and drummers. Emceeing the sit-down show (230+ guests) is the multi-colored Macaw parrot, José. José, speaking with a Spanish accent, brings the show to life, introducing his parrot comedic partners, Michael from Ireland, Pierre from France and Fritz from Germany. The South Seas show is appropriately sponsored by Dole Pineapple and is complete with tropical rain storm ... don’t worry ... you won’t get wet in the Enchanted Tiki Room (although some redesigning has been done and the Tiki gods in the garden now occasionally squirt water at unsuspecting guests).

The Annexation of Texas by the United States

On June 23, 1845, a joint resolution of the Congress of Texas voted in favor of annexation by the United States. The leaders of the republic first voted for annexation in 1836, soon after gaining independence from Mexico, but the U.S. Congress was unwilling to admit another state that permitted slavery. Sam Houston (shown above), commander of the Texas army during the fight for independence from Mexico and the first president of the Republic of Texas, was a strong advocate of annexation.

In 1845, the political climate proved more favorable to the request for statehood. On December 29, 1845, Texas officially became the twenty-eighth state in the Union although the formal transfer of government did not take place until February 19, 1846. A unique provision in its agreement with the United States permitted Texas to retain title to its public lands. Further, Texas was annexed as a slave state.

Herman Munster Becomes a Victim of Identity Theft

It seemed a nasty thing to do to an affable, if monster-like, character. But it appears someone stole the MasterCard number of Herman Munster, the dad on TV's "The Munsters."

No, the victim wasn't Fred Gwynne, the (late) actor who played Herman. The victim, if you can call it that, was the fictional Munster.

CardCops Inc., a Malibu Internet security company, said some clueless online thieves offered to sell Munster's personal data, which included his address on the show (1313 Mockingbird Lane) and his birth date (Aug. 15, 1964, suspiciously close to the date the series went on the air).

CardCops President Dan Clements, whose company monitors underground chat rooms for identity thefts, suspects that a practical joker posted the worthless data and it was snapped up by the crooks, who are based overseas.

"The [U.S.] culture really tripped them up," he said. "These guys don't watch TV Land."

Dreamy and Disturbing and Haunting Images

The announcement for "Hyper-Graphics," Austrian artist Arnulf Rainer's show at the MAK Center, is one of the most striking we've come across in a long time. Shown above is Rainer's 1978 untitled (Death Mask). MAK Center for Art and Architecture is located at 835 N. Kings Road, Los Angeles, (323) 651-1510. The show runs through Aug. 26. Closed Sundays through Tuesdays. .

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Sheer Talent of Henry Ossawa Tanner

His subject matter pictured life of blacks in the U.S. South during the 1880s. He, too, was black, and probably one of the first black artists to be exhibited in galleries throughout the U.S. This, however, is not what made Henry Ossawa Tanner famous. Rather, it was just his sheer talent.
Tanner was born on this day in 1859 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He studied painting under the noted artist Thomas Eakins while attending the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. It was Eakins who encouraged the young Tanner to paint professionally. Several years later, in 1891, Henry Tanner moved to Europe to escape racial prejudice. He settled in Paris where he continued his studies and turned to painting pictures with religious themes. His art with its glowing, warm colors and dramatic light and dark contrasts was influenced greatly by the Dutch artist Rembrandt. Still, it was his early work like The Banjo Lesson (shown above) that is best known.

Tanner died in the city he came to love and call his own, Paris. His work lives on in the United States, having been displayed in galleries in Louisville to New Orleans, from Chicago to New York City.

The Banjo Lesson, an oil painting on canvas, hangs in the Hampton University Museum, Hampton, Virginia.

Houdini Had It

Houdini letterhead, with bust portrait of Houdini and illustrations of his escapes. Now world famous, Houdini's letterhead visually summarized an adventurous life. It included a term present in Funk and Wagnall's dictionary where the following definition was given under the heading "Houdini": "houdinize, vt. To release or extricate oneself from confinement, bonds, or the like, as by wiggling out."

An old picture of a very beautiful Echo Park scene

The Echo Park Lake is located near downtown Los Angeles.

Iguazu Falls in Argentina

For more shots like this, click on the link below.

10-acre Patagonia lake disappears

A lake in southern Chile has mysteriously disappeared. The lake in the Magallanes region in Patagonia had a surface area of about 10 acres and was fed mostly by water from melting glaciers.

Juan Jose Romero, regional director of Chile's National Forestry Corp., said, "The only things left were chunks of ice on the dry lakebed and an enormous fissure."

From Times Wire Reports

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"Down" and "Out" in Beverly Hills

In 1947, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, the man who brought organized crime to the West Coast, is shot and killed at his mistress Virginia Hill's home in Beverly Hills, California. Siegel had been talking to his associate Allen Smiley when three bullets were fired through the window and into his head, killing him instantly.

Siegel's childhood had been pretty similar to that of other organized crime leaders: Growing up with little money in Brooklyn, he managed to establish himself as a teenage thug. With his pal Meyer Lansky, Siegel terrorized local peddlers and collected protection money. Before long, they had a business that included bootlegging and gambling all over New York City.

By the late 1930s, Siegel had become one of the major players of a highly powerful crime syndicate, which gave him $500,000 to set up a Los Angeles franchise. Bugsy threw himself into the Hollywood scene, making friends with some of the biggest names of the time--Cary Grant, Clark Gable, and Jean Harlow. His all-night parties at his Beverly Hills mansion became the hot spot in town. He also started up a solid gambling and narcotics operation to keep his old friends back east happy. Just before World War II began, Siegel traveled to Italy to sell explosives to Mussolini, but the deal fizzled when tests of the explosives did too.

In 1945, Siegel had a brilliant idea. Just hours away from Los Angeles sat the sleepy desert town of Las Vegas, Nevada. It had nothing going for it except for a compliant local government and legal gambling. Siegel decided to build the Flamingo Hotel in the middle of the desert with $6,000,000, a chunk of which came from the New York syndicate.

The Flamingo wasn't immediately profitable and Siegel ended up in an argument with Lucky Luciano over paying back the money used to build it. Around the same time that Siegel was killed in Beverly Hills, Luciano's men walked into the Flamingo and announced that they were now in charge. Even Siegel probably never imagined the astounding growth and success of Las Vegas in the subsequent years.

The "Funny Girl" was "plenty funny"

Fanny Brice, born Fannie Borach, debuted in the New York production of the Ziegfeld Follies on this day in 1910. It wasn’t long before Brice became known as America’s funny girl.

Brice was originally noticed by composer Irving Berlin; but was truly discovered by Florenz Ziegfeld, appearing as a Ziegfeld show girl, and then as the star of the Follies over the next 26 years. The comedienne, who sang novelty and dialect songs, also wowed the audience with her torch numbers such as, I’d Rather Be Blue, When a Woman Loves a Man, My Man and Second Hand Rose.

A regular on Rudee Vallee’s radio show, The Fleischmann Hour, in the 1920s, Fanny Brice joined The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air at age 45. The show on CBS radio was the introduction of her funny-voiced character, Baby Snooks. In 1937 she joined NBC radio and continued as the Snooks kid, a seven-year old spoiled brat. Brice’s most famous line was, “Whyyyyyy, daddy, whyyyyy?” From 1936 through 1951, Brice was one of radio’s biggest draws.

Fanny Brice died on May 29, 1951 at the age of 59 but she is still with us in the Broadway show [1964] and film [1968], "Funny Girl", based on her life. Barbra Streisand gained recognition and acclaim for her role in both, as Fanny Brice the "Funny Girl".
Fanny Brice as "Baby Snooks" with Bob Hope

Monday, June 18, 2007

What a GREAT Day !!

On this day in 1975 Fred Lynn of the Boston Red Sox had one of the greatest days in major-league baseball history. Lynn contributed 10 runs, 16 total bases on three home runs, a triple and a single in a game against the Detroit Tigers. The Red Sox won the game 15-1. The photo above shows Lynn in the middle.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

It's a bus . . . it's a boat . . . it's a duck !!

Is it a bus? Is it a boat? It's a duck! New York Splash Tours now offers amphibious tours of the Big Apple. Its new fleet of AquaBuses ferries visitors from Times Square through the streets of New York before driving into the Hudson River for a view of the famed Manhattan skyline. Enter the river through a short tunnel ride that simulates a stormy sea voyage. Join the captain for a one-hour tour. Adults $29, children 3 to 11 $20. Info: (877) 527-4691, .

This is Lake Titicaca, and you thought it wasn't real ??

Lake Titicaca is the highest commercially navigable lake in the world, at 3,812 m (12,507 feet) above sea level. Located in the Altiplano, high in the Andes on the border of Peru and Bolivia, Titicaca has an average depth of 107 m, and a maximum depth of 281 m. The western part of the lake belongs to the Puno Region of Peru, and the eastern side is located in the Bolivian La Paz Department.

More than 25 rivers empty into Titicaca, and the lake has 41 islands, some of which are densely populated.

Titicaca is fed by rainfall and meltwater from glaciers on the sierras that abut the Altiplano. It is drained by the Desaguadero River, which flows south through Bolivia to Lake Poopó. This accounts for less than five percent of the lake's water loss, however, the rest is caused by evaporation as a result of the strong winds and sunlight at this altitude.

Ankara's Kocatepe Mosque

The Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara, Turkey.
(Burhan Ozbilici / AP)

French hotel in a storybook setting

Hostellerie Les Griffons, a hotel in the Perigord region of southwestern France.
(Hostellerie Les Griffons)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Thanks a lot -- I guess ??

We've all heard it -- now you can see it

Many people have heard a sonic boom, but few have seen one. When an airplane travels at a speed faster than sound, density waves of sound emitted by the plane cannot precede the plane, and so accumulate in a cone behind the plane. When this shock wave passes, a listener hears all at once the sound emitted over a longer period: a sonic boom. As a plane accelerates to just break the sound barrier, however, an unusual cloud might form. The origin of this cloud is still debated. A leading theory is that a drop in air pressure at the plane described by the Prandtl-Glauert Singularity occurs so that moist air condenses there to form water droplets. Above, an F/A-18 Hornet was photographed just as it broke the sound barrier.

For more spectacular images posted by Valuca, an independent UFO researcher, click on the link below.

Here's a beautiful shot of a potential disaster

Photo of Mt. St. Helens in Washington state from the collection of the Cascade Volcano Observatory.

M and M -- it sounds delicious

On this day in 1953 the Ford Motor Company presented one of TV’s biggest events. Ethel Merman and Mary Martin headlined a gala 50th anniversary show for the automaker.

FDR's First 100 Days

June 16, 1933, marked the end of the first hundred days of the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR). Those one hundred days were a period of frenetic activity.

Following his inauguration on March 4, Roosevelt immediately sought to stem the financial panic that had begun with the stock market crash of 1929 and to restore public confidence. He started by closing the nation's banks on March 6. On June 16, 1933, FDR signed the Banking Act, which separated commercial banking from investment banking and established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. He also signed the Farm Credit Act, the Emergency Railroad Transportation Act, and the National Industrial Recovery Act (which created the Public Works Administration).

The investment of federal monies in a series of public works programs, which provided desperately needed jobs, formed an integral part of Roosevelt's domestic agenda, the New Deal. Under Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, the Public Works Administration initiated and oversaw about 34,000 public works projects. Millions of unemployed Americans went to work in the 1930s in programs such as the Work Projects Administration (originally named the Works Progress Administration), the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.