Tuesday, January 31, 2017

History: The Year is 1942

I've uploaded year 1942 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

Thirty Seconds over Tokyo: The Doolittle Raid -- I talk about how Japan made an error changing its plans but that my judgement is armchair quarterbacking.

The Battle for Los Angeles and Our Humanity -- I talk about the Japan invasion scare and George Takai's role in a controversial episode of the Twilight Zone.

Notable Births -- See Below.

This Year in Film -- See Below.

This Year in Music -- See Below.

In Other News -- See Below.

World War 2 in Review -- See Below.

Thirty Seconds over Tokyo: The Doolittle Raid

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, FDR wants a little payback... a "sneak attack" on Tokyo, but Army bombers can't reach that far, unless the B-25 is launched off the deck of an aircraft carrier! This is a CRAZY idea, and Colonel Doolittle is just the guy to do it. So, with several B-25s lashed to the deck of the USS Hornet Doolittle's team sets out to do the impossible. The Japanese pick up radio transmissions and deduce that the US Navy is coming to bomb Japan. They expect an attack from 400 miles out which is the maximum for carrier planes, but B-25s can launch from 500 miles out! Then two Japanese patrol boats spot the task force, so the B-25's launch immediately... 650 miles out. On that Saturday afternoon, Doolittle and his raiders hit Tokyo. There is virtually no opposition. The damage to Tokyo is insignificant, but the damage to Japanese morale is tremendous. The Home Islands are believed to be untouchable. The Japanese decide to hit Midway Island where they believe the bombers are coming from. This is a major error. They will have their heads handed to them at Midway later this year. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Japan's leadership had been arguing about their next move when Doolittle's raid came barrelling through. Trying to take Midway was not a dumb idea. It was a risky idea. And when you take risks, sometimes you win, but often you lose. During the 1967 Arab-Israeli Six-Day War, a Syrian tanker broke through the defense lines. The road to Tel Aviv seemed like a clear shot, but he was sure there must be an ambush waiting for him around the turn in the road. So he returned to the battle. The problem was... there was no ambush. The road was clear all the way to Tel Aviv! It is easy to "armchair quarterback" a war after the fact, so... from my armchair position... the Japanese should have stuck with their original plan to squeeze Australia by taking Samoa, New Caledonia and Fiji while leaving Midway Island for later... if ever. [3] [4]

The Battle for Los Angeles and Our Humanity

War hysteria is rising along the West Coast of the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Eleanor Roosevelt has come to visit Los Angeles and spoken to the Mayor, describing the devastation after the Japan's attacks. The Mayor calls for the rounding up of these Asian aliens who might act as a fifth column should the Japan invade California. Then an oil field just outside of Santa Barbara is shelled by a Japanese submarine. West Coast shipping is attacked and the voices defending Japanese-Americans go silent. Two nights later the military warn Los Angeles officials of the approach of enemy air craft. Search lights pierce the sky. There is something up there! Anti-aircraft guns try to shoot it down, whatever it is. Maybe it is a weather balloon. We will never know. The Battle of Los Angeles is over. The Japanese-round up is in full swing, and a 5-year-old boy named George Takai will be forced to sleep in a horse stall at the Santa Anita Race track until other arrangements can be made. His family will be transferred to a concentration camp in Arkansas. [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Of course, we know George Takai as the famous Mr. Sulu on Star Trek, but he has taken other acting roles, such as the controversial Twilight Zone episode, "The Encounter". It is 20 years after Pearl Harbor. An ex-serviceman is cleaning out his attic when he comes across a Japanese souvenir from World War 2, a samurai sword that he took from a Japanese officer... that he murdered. He was told by his officers, "It is Okinawa. No prisoners. They are just apes". Then a Japanese-American comes by, looking for work. It is Arthur "Taro" Takamori. Arthur picks up the sword and reads "The sword will avenge me." Soon these two are filled with remorse, confusion and anger. Arthur reveals that his own father was spying for Japan. It is rough dialogue to hear... even after all these years. It aired originally in 1964 and has been withheld from re-airing until the 2016 Twilight Zone Marathon. I watched it. It still hurts. [8] [9]

Notable Births

  • In Politics... (All Living): Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman, and Michael Bloomberg. [10]
  • Stephen Hawking (Living): Physicist, author of "A Brief History of Time". [10]
  • Charlie Rose (Living): Interviewer and news reader. [10]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Michael Crichton: Author of "Andromeda Strain", "Jurassic Park" and "State of Fear". [10]
  • -- Harrison Ford (Living): Hans Solo in Star Wars, and Indiana Jones. [11]
  • -- Paul McCartney (Living): The Beatles. [10]
  • -- Barbra Streisand (Living): Singer/actor in Funny Girl, Hello Dolly, and Yentl. [10]
  • -- Madeline Kahn: Comedian/actress in What's Up Doc?, Young Frankenstein, and Blazing Saddles. [10]
**Note: (Living) means they were alive when I checked.

This Year in Film

  • Bambi: (animated) Things end badly. [12]
  • Holiday Inn: Bing Crosby sings (I'm dreaming of a...) "White Christmas". [12]

This Year in Music

  • White Christmas: Sung by Bing Crosby from the movie "Holiday Inn". [13]
  • Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree: The Andrew Sisters (a war tune). [13]
  • Der Fuehrer's Face: A Spike Jones comedy tune ([Click here]). Disney will release a propaganda cartoon of the same name featuring Donald Duck ([Click here]). The cartoon is blatantly racist, so adjust your expectations accordingly. [13] [14] [15] [16]

In Other News

  • The Aqua-Lung is developed: by Jacques Cousteau and Émile Gagnan. [17] [18] [19]
  • DDT is first used as a pesticide. [17]
  • Daylight saving time is now in effect!: I've fallen behind or broken a spring. How does that go? [17]

World War 2 in Review


  • Captain Wendell Fertig (Army Corp of Engineeers, Reserve) remains in Manila as his family evacuates to the USA. [20]
  • Japan invades the Dutch East Indies, Kuala Lumpur, Burma, Singapore, Java, and Rangoon. [17]
  • American forces arrive in Europe. [17]


  • FDR establishes "exclusionary zones".... for Japanese-Americans on the West Coast, and Germans and Italians on the East Coast. [17]
  • A Japanese submarine shells a Santa Barbara oil field.: This attack becomes the comedic subject of the movie "1941". [17] [21]
  • The Voice of America begins broadcasting. [17]


  • Major Wendell Fertig destroys supplies to deny them to the enemy as US troops retreat toward Baatan. He drives his brand new Dodge into Manila Bay. [20]
  • U.S. General Douglas MacArthur evacuates from the Philippines. "I shall return." [17]
  • The Belzec extermination camp opens. Nearly 500,000 people (mostly Jews) will be murdered there this year. [17]


  • The Sobibór and Treblinka 2 extermination camps open. Over 1,000,000 people (mostly Jews) will be murdered there in the next year and a half. [17]
  • Bataan falls. The Bataan Death March begins. [17]
  • The Doolittle Raid over Tokyo is a tactically insignificant raid that will cause the Japanese to adjust their war plan. (This is a significant Japanese error.) [17]


  • Lt. Colonel Wendell Fertig avoids capture and heads for the jungle. [17]
  • Actress Lucille Ball claims that Japanese spies are sending secret radio messages that she can hear through her dental work. (Mythbusters says "No way.") [22] [23]
  • The Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAACs) is created. [17]


  • The Battle of Midway: The Japanese get their heads handed to them. (It will make a great movie.) [17] [24]
  • Japan invades the Aleutians. (American soil!) [17]
  • Anne Frank makes the first entry in her new diary. She is 13. [17]
  • Heisenberg's nuclear pile explodes. A new design for the Nazi nuclear bomb will be required.... and they have one.


  • Anne Frank goes into hiding in an attic above her father's office. [17]
  • WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) is established. [17]


  • Guadalcanal: U.S. Navy and Marines make their amphibious assault on the island. [17]
  • Six German saboteurs are executed in Washington D.C. for their role in Operation Pastorius. [17] [25]


  • Brigadier General Wendell Fertig organizes the Filipino guerilla fighters. The Filipinos call him Tatay, meaning "Father". (He is no general. I'm not even sure he is a colonel, but he is going to do a terrific job in the Philippines: the right man, in the right place, at the right time.) [20]
  • The Japanese bomb Oregon. A small float plane drops a few incendiary bombs, but this is a 1st for the continental US.) [17]


  • German U-Boats are running wild. [17]


  • Battle of Stalingrad: Soviet forces counterattack and surround the German Army. [17]


  • Gasoline rationing begins in the USA. [17]
  • Manhattan Project: Enrico Fermi initiates a nuclear chain reaction at the University of Chicago. Several men are ready to smother the nuclear pile before it takes out 1/3rd of the University and the surrounding neighborhood. (Those were the days, eh?) [17]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1942, Wikipedia.

Monday, January 30, 2017

History: The Year is 1941

I've uploaded year 1941 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

The Palace of Westminster is "Blown to Smithereens" -- I talk about the rebuilding of the House of Commons and two novels: "Blackout" and "All Clear."

Negotiating for Peace while Preparing for War -- The Japanese take two courses hoping for peace and getting a war.

Learning More about the Holocaust -- I recommend a film and then wax eloquent about lessons learned.

World War 2 in Review -- See below.

Notable Births --  See below.

This Year in Film -- See below.

This Year in Music -- See below.

In Other News --  See below.

The Palace of Westminster is "Blown to Smithereens"

"We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us."
-- Winston Churchill on the plans to rebuild the House of Commons. [1]
Well... it hasn't entirely been blown to smithereens. Much of the Palace can be saved but not all of it. The House of Commons and Westminster Hall have been hit hard during the German bombing raid. Three people have been killed and two incendiary bombs have hit. This forces the firefighters to make a choice because they cannot save both the House of Commons (completed almost 90 years ago) and Westminster Hall (completed over 800 years ago). The decision makes itself. They will rebuild the House of Commons a few years later while restoring the major elements of the original design. [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is difficult to convey in words what the British people were going through night after night during the Blitz. (The V-1 and V-2 rockets didn't come online for another 3 years.) The air raid siren would sound, and people would head for the shelters or the underground (subway). None of it would matter if you got a direct hit, so you waited to see if you would live or die. Those people were tough, but frankly... what choice did they have? For a better idea of what they went through, I suggest reading the science fiction novels "Blackout" and "All Clear" by Connie Willis. Time-traveling historians are trapped in London during the Blitz and during the evacuation of Dunkirk. There was a lot more going on inside of people than that "stiff upper lip" stuff. Connie Willis interviewed people who went through the Blitz and many of their personalities appear within "Blackout" and "All Clear". [5] [6]

Negotiating for Peace while Preparing for War

"We'd rather not fight at all. We think we should try our best to negotiate, and only when we're pushed to the edge shall we fight."
-- Japanese General Sugiyama, attempting to convince the Emperor of his plan to win a war with the USA.
Most people in the United States anticipate a war with Germany. Most Japanese anticipate a war with the United States, primarily because the Japanese media is state-controlled, and they have blamed the United States for the poor economic state of Japan. In some ways the USA is to blame, but the Japanese media has done its job too well. The US ambassador is now carrying a six-shooter. (He feels a little foolish, but he can sense the danger.) The Emperor has endorsed preparations for war while negotiating for peace, but he CLEARLY WANTS PEACE. However, when a nation is preparing for war, the tempo of activity increases. These changes are easily seen from a hotel window or merchant ship. While the diplomats negotiate, it seems as if Japan is drawing its sword. Also there is a lot of confusion in the translation of Japanese into English which make the Japanese diplomats sound like liars. That is why FDR has rebuffed SOME of Japan's proposals. However, to Japan, FDR's response looks like economic war. FDR doesn't realize it, but Japan has set a deadline on negotiations, and the time is up. [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It sounds like a Tom Clancy novel where the foolish politicians are telling their fellows, "Don't worry. We can always pull back the troops!" But there is a momentum to war that pulls everyone forward. I have tried not to excuse the Japanese. Nor do I want to portray them as the "Yellow Peril". They are adults. They decided to move into China and Vietnam, placing themselves in opposition to the United States. They knew what that meant for a future conflict. They placed their military on a hair-trigger. When you do that, it is your responsibility to let the other guy know that you are going to shoot him if this little talk doesn't turn out OK. When the war was over, the Japanese people were mortified and angry at what the military had put them through.... the ones that had survived, anyway. [8]

Learning More about the Holocaust

I suggest watching the movie "Shoah" (1985) by Claude Lanzmann. The movie has no terrible scenes of suffering. No marching Nazis. No piles of shoes or eyeglasses or hair. It is a simple interview film. Lanzmann traveled Europe asking questions and filming the answers. No accusations. Simple questions like, "What did you see, hear, smell?" "Did you know any Jews?" "What did they tell you was going on?" "Where did the Jews live?" "Where did they go?" The answers are simple and often devastating. You look in their eyes and you can feel what they feel. Many are glad to talk, but then the conversation suddenly turns, and you realize it could happen again... at least with these people. It is not over. [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I have avoided detailing what has been happening during the Holocaust in this history segment, just as I've avoided a lot of detail with many subjects. This is not a history podcast, but there are lessons to learn, not from the truly evil because those people are too easily dismissed. It is more important to understand the average person. A lot of the systems that we thought would keep us safe failed us. Science failed us in eugenics. Religion failed us when it was subverted by government. Those are the lessons for me... to use science for good, but not make science my God. To use government for good, but not too good. And to use my religion to help me find God, but not allow the clergy to become my only path to God.

World War 2 in Review

  • A rumor about Japan's plan to attack Pearl Harbor is going around.: Washington D.C. is notified. [10]
  • "Give us the tools, and we will finish the job." -- Winston Churchill to the United States.
  • The USA "lends/leases" ships to Britian: More "lending" than leasing. [11]
  • Manhattan Project: Plutonium is discovered!. They are going to need it. [12]
  • The "Rats of Tobruk" hold against Rommel.: The Nazis call the Australians "Rats" and the Australians like the name! [13]
  • Quisling becomes Premier of Norway and a Nazi collaborator: Thus the word "quisling" enters the English language. [14]
  • The USA rounds up 100,000 Japanese-Americans.: (Are we at war with Japan?) [15]
  • Bob Hope performs his first USO Show: (Are we at war?).
  • A German U-boat is captured with an intact Enigma cypher machine!.
  • Deputy Fürer Rudolf Hess parachutes into Scotland on a mission of peace.: But he has no diplomatic power. [16]
  • Hitler launches "Operation Barbarossa" against the Soviets: The Barbarossa myth has Germany returning to its ancient glory.
  • Ho Chi Minh enters an alliance to throw off Vietnam's oppressors.: So it begins.
  • FDR declares an "unlimited national emergency"... "within the limits of peacetime authorizations": What?. [17]
  • Hitler asks for a "Final Solution" to the Jewish question.: He is asking by what method should he murder all the Jews?
  • Zyklon B is used at Auschwitz to gas the Soviet prisoners.: First they came for the socialists...
  • Nazis and Ukrainian collaborators murder 33,000 Jews.: The Jews believed they were being relocated. [18]
  • The Lockheed P-38E Lightning rolls off the line..
  • The second warning message of a coming attack by Japan.: It is November 17th, but this is not the only indicator.
  • FDR declares financial war on Japan.: He knows that the Japanese are going to strike but not where. [19]
  • Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, Hawaii!: The attack is directed by a battleship commander, so he hits the soon-to-be obsolete battleships first. (This is a critical error.)
  • "Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." -- FDR to a Joint session of Congress, December 8th. [20]
  • IT'S WAR!
  • Japanese subs fire on American shipping along the West Coast.. The Japanese submarine scare is on. [21]

Notable Births

  • In Politics (All Living): Bernie Sanders, Dick and Lynne Cheney, and Jesse Jackson. [22]
  • Richard Dawkins: evolutionary biologist and critic of religion. [22]
  • Charles Whitman: University of Texas Clock Tower sniper. (He had a brain tumor.) [22]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- In Music (All Living): Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, and Joan Baez. [22]
  • -- More in Music (All Living): Paul Simon, and Art Garfunkel. [22]
  • -- Yet More in Music (All Living): Helen Reddy and Tom Fogerty. [23]
**Note: (Living) means they were alive when I checked.

This Year in Film

  • Sergeant York: #1 grossing film. [24]
  • The 47 Ronin: (Japan) War-motivating film. [24]
  • Dumbo: (animated) A sub-plot to the movie "1941" starring Jim Belushi. [24] [25]

This Year in Music

  • Chattanooga Choo Choo: The Glenn Miller Band. [26]
  • God Bless the Child: Billie Holiday. [26]
  • Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy: The Andrew Sisters. (Recorded a year before the USA entered the War. Hmmm.) [26] [27]

In Other News

  • Cheerios in introduced.. [28]
  • Commercial television begins: The FCC approves NBC to run commercials. The first is for Bulova watches. [28]
  • The first programmable computer is on display: The Z4 is as big as a raft. No relation to Zilog's Z80 series. [28] [29] [30]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1941, Wikipedia.

Friday, January 27, 2017

History: The Year in 1940

I've uploaded year 1940 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

France's Surrender and the Temptation of Vietnam -- I try to answer the question... why did Japan enter the war at all?

Faith, Hope, Charity and the Zombie Apocalypse -- I talk about the RAF planes of Malta and a Zombie Apocalypse novel.

Trotsky Dies... Rather Messily -- Stalin has a long memory.

Notable Births -- See Below.

This Year in Music -- See Below.

This Year in Film -- See Below.

In Other News -- The Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapses, the F4U Corsair makes its debut, and the first McDonald's opens.


France's Surrender and the Temptation of Vietnam

[It is] a treasure lying in the street just waiting to be picked up!
-- Foreign Minister Masuoka, "Mr. 50,000 Words," speaking to Japan's new cabinet members about Vietnam. [1]
Japan joins the Axis powers toward the end of this year, and one wonders why. They refused to join last year. What has changed? It is Hitler's win over France. The Germans fool the French by feinting toward Belgium and outflanking the forces holding the Maginot Line. The French have no defense in depth, so once the Germans are past the weak point in the line, the Allies are surrounded and must evacuate across the English Channel from Dunkirk. The French are forced to surrender at the same spot that Germany suffered its humiliating defeat after World War 1. Now France is the loser, and the German people cheer. Even if a German citizen secretly opposes Hitler, it is a relief to get back some of their own. So now Hitler installs the Vichy French government and uses French ports to launch his U-boat attacks on British shipping... which brings us back to the Japanese. Remember all those years ago when France invaded Vietnam? Vietnam is rich in resources and food. It's ports and runways make it strategically desirable as a means for Japan to attack China. By joining the Axis Powers Japan can convince the Vichy government to hand over Vietnam to them. It is ripe, low-hanging fruit, so to speak. [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It was "ripe" all right. This was one of those cases when a little more thought and a lot less enthusiasm was called for. Sure. Japan could have used Vietnam, and it fit with their overall strategy to become the ruling power in the region, but many Japanese leaders realized that doing so would put them in conflict with the United States and the other Anglo powers. Nevertheless, it was too tempting and the new government was only 4 days old. The fast-talking "Mr. 50,000 Words", as the Foreign Minister was called behind his back, convinced them to change their policy. Several members of the government resigned. One man shed tears. The word "inscrutable" is often applied to the Japanese of this time. Usually, public tears were not on the agenda. He must have had some idea of what was coming for the land he loved, but no one could have imagined two atomic bombs.

Faith, Hope, Charity and the Zombie Apocalypse

The Island of Malta was once held by the Knights of the Order of Saint John against the Arab invasion of Europe. Frankly, the Knights saved Europe. In 1940, Malta is still a strategic position, so a British ship drops off a few crates containing obsolete Gloster Gladiator biplanes. The mission is to assemble the plane from crates (which is why planes are sometimes called "crates") and then hold Malta, letting no bombers pass. These planes are being held together with chewing gum and a pray. The pilots cannibalize, they improvise, they carry out the mission no matter what. As the story goes, they name the last three planes: "Faith, Hope and Charity" after the biblical verse. Only "Faith" will survive the war. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I find the story inspiring. Your mileage may vary. I'm not sure how true the story is, but my guess is that it is mostly true. The pilots and crew certainly had trouble maintaining their planes, and went beyond the call of duty to keep the planes running and in the action. The "Zombie Apocalypse" is a reference to a series of novels I've read concerning an Australian SAS commando turned school teacher who must bring his family through a Zombie Apocalypse alive. The solution seems to be to go to sea in boats, but throughout the series he takes his lessons from "Faith, Hope and Charity"... the RAF planes and their crews who did whatever it took to get the mission done. The name of the first book in the series is "Under a Graveyard Sky" by John Ringo. Warning: This is a novel for adults so adjust your expectations accordingly. [13]

Trotsky Dies... Rather Messily

Like an elephant, Stalin doesn't forget. (He is also fat, ugly and he smells.) Leon Trotsky has been on Stalin's "to-do" list for a long time now. The Great Purge has eliminated almost anyone who might be a threat to Stalin, and millions more are killed... just because he can. Trotsky was the former heir-apparent to the leadership of the Soviet Union after Lenin, but Stalin squeezed Trotsky out and eventually had him banished. Trotsky is now living in Mexico, generally minding his own business. He has hired an assistant that he trusts, but this fellow is Stalin's hired assassin. As Trotsky sits at his desk, going over papers, the assassin pulls out an ice axe and swings for the back of Trotsky's head. (Assassination tip: DON'T CLOSE YOUR EYES!) Trotsky cries out good and loud for a LONG time. He actually wrestles with the assassin until the bodyguards arrive. Trotsky dies the next day from loss of blood and shock. The assassin will spend a few years in a Mexican jail and then be released. He will receive the Order of Lenin... for assassinating Lenin's heir... ironically. [14] [15] [16]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Is this the Russian way? I recall a former Russian FSB agent was murdered when radioactive polonium was sprinkled into his food. It was the first documented case of such a poisoning... and frankly... where would one get polonium except from a nation-state? Alexander Litvinenko was the fellow in question and from his deathbed he blamed Vladimir Putin. [17] [18]

World War 2 in Review

  • "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." -- Winston Churchill as the new Prime Minister. [19]
  • The USSR sends grain to Germany. Germany would never attack it's food supplier. Would it?
  • The Belgians blow their bridges. [20]
  • German Panzers break through the Maginot Line. [21] [22]
  • Allied troops are pushed back to Dunkirk. 340,000 troops begin evacuation. [23]
  • "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender..." -- Winston Churchill after the miracle of the Dunkirk rescue. [24]
  • The Germans roll into Paris. [25]
  • "But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour." -- Winston Churchill. [26]
  • The Battle of Britain begins. The Luftwaffe bomb targets in the UK.
  • The US Army mobilizes. Moving things around and stepping up training. (Are we at war?)
  • The Luftwaffe hit a church. Civilian targeting begins.
  • Churchill orders the bombing of Berlin. [27]
  • London is hit hard. 2,000 are dead. This is Hitler's big mistake.
  • "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." -- Winston Churchill, thanking the RAF pilots in the Battle of Britain. [28]
  • The invasion of Britain is delayed indefinitely.
  • The Draft begins in the United States. (I think we are at war!)
  • Germany targets St. Paul's Cathedral.
  • St. Paul's Cathedral is damaged but it still stands.

Notable Births

  • Jim Bakker (Living): A glitzy televangelist convicted of fraud. [29]
  • Nancy Pelosi (Living): Congresswoman and first woman Speaker of the House. (Various snide comments deleted.) [30]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Patrick Stewart (Living): Star Trek's Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Professor Xavier of the X-Men. [31]
  • -- Chuck Norris (Living): Martial arts expert, actor and political conservative. [32]
  • -- Bruce Lee: Martial arts innovator, and actor. [33]
  • -- John Lennon: Musician and songwriter for The Beatles and husband of Yoko Ono. [34]
  • -- Ringo Starr (Living): Drummer for The Beatles and "Mr. Conductor" in Thomas the Tank Engine. [35]
**Note: (Living) means they were alive when I checked.

This Year in Film

  • The Great Dictator: starring Charlie Chaplain. [36]
  • Pinocchio: animated film from Disney Studios. [36]
  • Fantasia: mixed animation-live classical concert from Disney Studios. [36]

This Year in Music

  • In the Mood: (Glenn Miller Band) [37]
  • I'll Never Smile Again: (Tommy Dorsey Band). [37]
  • When You Wish Upon a Star: (From the Disney animated film, Pinocchio.). [37]

In Other News

  • The Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapses. The amazing video remains as a warning to engineers. ([Click here]) [38] [39]
  • The F4U Corsair makes its debut. It has trouble landing on aircraft carriers. (Are we at war?) [40]
  • The first McDonald's opens: It's a BBQ joint. It will switch to burgers later. [41]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1940, Wikipedia.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

History: The Year is 1939

I've uploaded year 1939 to the TSP Wiki...


The American Nazis Hail George Washington -- US citizens say that Washington was the "first fascist".

Abridging the Public's Right to Know -- Hitler's Mein Kampf (My Struggle) is sold in the USA in it's abridged form... the form that might give the impression that he wants a war.

World War 2 in Review -- It's a little jumbled but I try to give a sense
of what it happened in the various countries involved.

Notable Births -- See below.

This Year in Film -- See below.

This Year in Music -- See below.

In Other News -- Nylons, the Hydra-Matic transmission and Amelia Earhart.

The American Nazis Hail George Washington

WHAT???!!! The German-American Bund is celebrating George Washington's birthday with the Nazi salute. If you will recall, the current salute to the American flag is EXACTLY the same salute and has been for decades. The American Nazis declare boldly that George Washington was "the first fascist." New York's Madison Square Garden is hosting a convention of 22,000 American Nazis. From the picture, it looks like a 50 foot tall image of George Washington is at center stage, flanked by American flags and swastikas. A banner flies overhead, "Stop Jewish Domination of Christian Americans". (FYI, Alex Shrugged is Jewish. He doesn't want to dominate anything but his own life and property.) Nazi speakers at the convention state that FDR (that is, "Frank D. Rosenfeld") can stuff his "Jew Deal", and keep America out of Germany's war with Europe. Children's camps are springing up across the USA... especially in Wisconsin, California, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. Children sing "Deutschland, über alles." If you are wondering why FDR is not leaping to the aid of Great Britain right now, it is because he wants to win his reelection bid next year. To do so he will sacrifice many things including any shred of decency he may possess. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It looks bad. Doesn't it? I don't recall the Kaiser getting this kind of German-American support during World War 1. What changed? Germany's defeat changed everything. Their pride was broken. They came to America to escape the economic disaster that ensued. In fact, American eugenics immigration policy favored the Germans, but some Germans did not assimilate well into American society. As Hitler rose to power, Germany was getting respect again. Many German-Americans went to Germany to fight under Hitler, but don't read too much into it. The current and accurate information that the average American could have about ANYTHING going on overseas was limited to what newspaper reporters chose to tell the public. Some of those reporters were LIARS! Others were being blackmailed, and some editors supported FDR's reelection. With such a large number of American Nazi voters, the media tried to move the discussion away from the Jews. That sounds crass, but most of the Jewish-American leadership supported FDR's reelection bid though in the end, many of them regretted it. [7]

Abridging the Public's Right to Know

Adolf Hitler's manifesto entitled Mein Kampf (My Struggle) is selling reasonably well in America in it's ABRIDGED English translation. It has been edited for the sensibilities of good Americans, and to avoid giving the United States an excuse for entering the war. However, a reporter working for the International News Service, realizes that the abridged version does not accurately reflect what is in the original German version. In fact, it is giving an entirely false impression to the American people. Since it is unlikely that the reporter could ever obtain copyright permission to translate Hitler's manifesto, he and his buddy work night and day to translate and publish their own unauthorized translation without permission. They are immediately sued for copyright infringement (which it certainly is). By the time the court rules against them, and orders a halt to publication, half a million copies are sold. The proceeds will go to charity. Hitler can go to... court. [8] [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
So who was the reporter? It was the future US Senator Alan Cranston of California.... that One-World-Government, pain-in-my-backside. (He has since passed away, but the pain remains.) He published the translation because he didn't like the way Hitler's propaganda was skewing public opinion. For this one good deed (and it really galls me to say it) all is forgiven. Today, I look at how the public is manipulated by propaganda and I wonder, "Have we learned nothing at all?" Even people that I KNOW understand propaganda don't want to face it, probably because facing it means they must do something about it.... like finding the facts. Thinking about what it means and then telling others the truth. Truth-tellers are not popular people. I've told the truth many times, but now that I am older, I can get away with it. I smile and people laugh. Humor is like that.... speaking the truth out loud. It surprises people. I'd rather they think about it.

World War 2 in Review

  • USA: FDR asks for money for the War. (America is at war?) The "Neutrality Patrol" is launched to protect British shipping. (How is that neutral?) [12] [13]
  • Britain: The draft begins, a mutual defense treaty with Poland is signed, radar stations are built, balloons are anchored over major cities, and women and children evacuate London (for some reason). [12]
  • France: French troops are moved up to the Maginot Line to block a German invasion... as if it was World War 1. (These guys are hosed.)
  • Germany: Doctors euthanize the sick. Czechoslovakia is occupied, and Poland is blitzed. IT'S WAR! U-boats attack British shipping. The mass deportation of Jews to Poland begins. [14] [15]
  • Italy: Albania is overrun. The "Pact of Steel" alliance is signed with Germany. [16]
  • Japan: Declines the "Pact of Steel" alliance with Germany and Italy. Continues to beat the tar out of China. [17]
  • USSR: The German–Soviet Non-aggression Pact is signed. The USSR invades Finland and Poland. The USSR is expelled from the League of Nations. (The League is worthless.) [18]

Notable Births

  • Lee Harvey Oswald: Some people think he assassinated John F. Kennedy. (People like Alex Shrugged.) [19]
  • David Frost: Best known for the TV interview of former President Nixon. (Nixon was paid $600,000.) [20]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Ian McKellen (Living): Gandalf in Lord of the Rings; , Magneto in X-Men and British historian in The Da Vinci Code. [21]
  • -- Richard Kiel: Who? The 7 foot tall villain in "Moonraker", "The Longest Yard", and the Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man". [22]
  • -- Cleavon Little: Sheriff Bart in "Blazing Saddles", replacing Richard Prior in the role. [23]
  • -- Lily Tomlin (Living): Ms. Frizzle in The Magic School Bus, and comedy characters like Ernestine from the phone company. [24]
  • -- Ray Stevens (Living): Known for "Everything Is Beautiful" and comedy songs like "Gitarzan" (Guitar-zan) and "The Streak". [25]
**Note: (Living) means they were alive when I checked.

This Year in Music

  • God Bless America: sung by Kate Smith. [12] [26]
  • Over the Rainbow: sung by Judy Garland. [12] [26]
  • When the Saints Go Marching In: sung by Louis Armstrong. [26]
  • Moonlight Serenade: played by the Glenn Miller Band. [26]
  • The Beer Barrel Polka: played by Will Glahé, the Polka King. [12] [26]

This Year in Film

  • Gone With the Wind: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." (Academy Award for Best Picture). [12] [27] [28]
  • The Wizard of Oz: (musical) A Thanksgiving favorite starring Judy Garland. [12]
  • Gulliver's Travels: (animated) A Paramount film to compete with Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs released 2 years ago. [29]
  • Of Mice and Men: Adaptation of John Steinbeck's novella of dustbowl migrant workers and Lennie, a man of limited mental gifts. [30]
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: The Frank Capra film that puts Jimmy Stewart on the map. [31]

In Other News

  • Nylons on sale now! STAMPEDE! [12]
  • The Hydra-Matic automatic transmission on sale now. STAMPEDE! [12]
  • Amelia Earhart is declared dead. Her Lockheed 10 probably crashed over the Pacific. By now she is dead. [32]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1939, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

History: The Year is 1938

I've uploaded year 1938 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

Radio Terror Panics the Nation... The Martians Have Landed! -- Orson Wells makes his name with this famous radio broadcast.

Peace for Our Time -- Neville Chamberlain never said "Peace in our time."

The Night of Broken Glass -- Over 1,000 synagogues are burned, holy scrolls are defiled, shop windows are smashed and 91 Jews are murdered.

Notable Births -- see below

In Other News -- see below

Radio Terror Panics the Nation... The Martians Have Landed!

On the Sunday night prior to Halloween, Mercury Theater presents War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. It begins with an introductory narration by Orson Wells followed by dance music as if it is a normal broadcast. The music fades in and out as a series of news flashes report on strange lights from the planet Mars as if a giant gun has been shot toward Earth. Then a reporter on the scene describes the crash of a huge cylinder at a farm near Grover's Mill, New Jersey. There is a humming sound, and the cylinder opens. A strange beast emerges. "It is indescribable!" shouts the reporter. He then proceeds to describe it. "Something is happening.... a beam of light!" You can hear shouts in the background and then a long silence. "Ladies and gentlemen, we seem to be having technical difficulties." Yes, they are. The switchboards at AT&T light up. People are crying and screaming as the telephone operators try to calm the callers. If anyone had a lick of sense they would have realized that everything was happening too quickly to be real. Yet 1 in 12 listeners believed it was real. The next day newspaper headlines read "RADIO PLAY TERRIFIES NATION" Actually, the NEWSPAPER was pointing out the unreliability of their competitor, RADIO news! Luckily the newspapers spelled Orson Wells' name correctly. The young man is now famous. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
A year prior, the FCC Commissioner had pointed to the potential of radio to terrorize the public and give children nightmares. When I was a kid living in the Los Angeles area, I was fascinated when the movie, "War of the Worlds" starring Gene Barry came on TV. The movie centered the story on Los Angeles... not New Jersey. They named places that I knew, so when the TV said that the Martians were topping the hills, I could see those hills from my front yard! I ran outside to look! OK. OK. I was just a kid, and I already knew that it wasn't really happening, but I still felt compelled to look. [7] [8] [9]

Peace for Our Time

"I have returned from Germany with peace for our time."
-- Neville Chamberlain, 1938.
Neville Chamberlain never said "Peace in our time." That is a quote from the Book of Common Prayer, but the Prime Minister returns home in late September after a conference with Hitler and waves the Munich Agreement. This peaceful interlude will be brief, though. The Munich Crisis, as it was called, started years before with the breakup of Austria-Hungry after World War 1 and the creation of the nation of Czechoslovakia. Many ethnic Germans who had been living in Austria suddenly found themselves living in Czechoslovakia and they complained. Hitler is itching to annex those parts along the Czechoslovakian border. They call the area "Sudetenland" meaning "the mountainous country", but it really describes areas all over the map. The agreement itself calls for an evacuation of the Czechs... right the heck now. They aren't too happy about it, but they agree nevertheless. Poland had already annexed the Polish-speaking portions of Czechoslovakia. They have few friends now except the Soviets. The UK was supposed to be an ally, but no more.. [10] [11] [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The German Chief of the General Staff, Ludwig Beck, resigned in protest of the annexation warning that it would start a world war! Imagine that. He planned to have Hitler arrested if only the UK had threatened to defend Czechoslovakia and oppose annexation. That would have given Beck the justification to arrest Hitler, but it was not to be. Chamberlain caved. It is easy to look back and say, "We could have avoided war, if only. If only." I'm not sure that Beck's plan would have worked. In the end Neville Chamberlain's agreement looked like appeasement, and he was replaced by Winston Churchill... the man who had warned that war was coming if they didn't do something, and once the war had begun he was charged with fighting the war he didn't want to fight in the first place. [13]

The Night of Broken Glass

Jews are leaving Germany by the thousands, but the USA has determined through eugenics that the majority of Jews are potential criminals, or imbeciles. Jews who cannot get out of Germany are moving to the larger cities such as Berlin where there is some anonymity, but the Nuremberg Laws require Jews to identify themselves when asked. The Yellow Stars sewn to a Jew's clothing won't be required for another 3 years. Marriage between Jews and non-Jews is forbidden. Even Jewish families who had sincerely converted to Christianity a generation prior are considered "tainted," so to speak. The Brownshirts stand outside Jewish businesses with signs encouraging a boycott. Then a Nazi diplomat is assassinated in France by a Polish-Jewish teenager. In retaliation, the Brownshirts gather for an evening of terror while the German authorities look the other way. Over 1,000 synagogues are burned, holy scrolls are defiled, shop windows are smashed and 91 Jews are murdered. 30,000 Jewish men are sent to concentration camps. And so it begins. [14] [15] [16] [17]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I was standing in the Jewish section of a local bookstore when a woman asked for my help. I was wearing a skullcap so she figured I was Jewish. (Uh... Yeah!) She was Christian, but she felt drawn to the Jewish texts. I asked her a few questions, and determined that her family had converted to Christianity long ago but they were originally Jewish on her mother's side. Her eyes widened when I explained that Nazi Germany would have identified her as a Jew and sent her to a concentration camp. It was unpleasant news, I know, but after the Holocaust many Jews tried to forget their Judaism, and often failed to tell their children. That leaves future generations vulnerable to a round up. But Alex! That can't happen in the good old USA! Can it? Yes it can. Japanese-Americans were rounded up during World War 2. I had to warn her. I gave her some advice on learning Hebrew and recommended two reasonable translations. Unquestionably, she was Jewish.

Notable Births

  • Donald Knuth (Living): One of the big hitters of computer science. [18]
  • Ted Turner (Living): Founder of CNN and husband of Jane Fonda until 2001. [19]
  • Jerry Brown (Living): Governor of California. His girlfriend, Linda Ronstadt, called him "Governor Moonbeam." [20]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Johnny Paycheck: Best known for singing, "Take This Job and Shove It" [21]
  • -- Natalie Wood: She was the cute girl in the old, "Miracle on 34th Street" and Maria in Westside Story. [22]
  • -- Jon Voight (Living): "National Treasure II", the TV show "24" and the father of Angelina Jolie [23]
  • -- Dawn Wells (Living): Mary Ann of Gilligan's Island. [24]
  • -- Christopher Lloyd (Living): 'Doc' Brown in "Back to the Future" and Uncle Fester in "The Addams Family". [25]
**Note: (Living) means they were alive when I checked.

In Other News

  • Hitler seizes the Holy Lance that pierced Jesus. Supposedly. Different churches claim to have this holy object. [26] [27]
  • The Toll House chocolate chip cookie is invented. Toll House is a popular restaurant featuring home-style cooking. [28]
  • Howard Hughes breaks the around the world speed record. He completes his flight in 3 days, 19 hours and 17 minutes. [29]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1938, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

History: The Year is 1937

I've uploaded year 1937 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

The Nanking "Event" -- This is the Japanese mass murder and destruction of Nanking. Call it what you want. It is horrific.

The Nazis Hire a "Solutions" Company -- I talk about keeping track of undesirables and how IBM helped. I also talk about how I will buy from former collaborators, if it is clear they are making better decisions now.

Notable Births -- Colin Powell, Saddam Hussein, Bill Cosby, Morgan Freedman, Jane Fonda, George Takei, George Carlin.

In Other News -- Edwin Land founds Polaroid, the Hindenburg disaster and cannabis is now taxable

The Nanking "Event"

Crush the Chinese in three months and they will sue for peace!
-- Japan's War Minister Sugiyama, 1937.
This "event" will be called "The Rape of Nanking" but not by the Japanese. Japan already has a puppet government installed in what we call Manchuria. Unfortunately, their expansion options are limited until Mao Tse-tung provokes an incident at the Marco Polo Bridge. Shots are fired and suddenly the Second Sino-Japanese War is underway! The War Minister figures this war will be over in 3 months. (It will last over 8 years.) FDR is calling for a "quarantine" of the Japanese aggressors. "Quarantine" is code for BLOCKADE! Japan is an island nation about the size of California, so a US blockade would be an act of war. Then the worst thing possible occurs. Japanese aviators from the aircraft carrier Kaga hit and sink the gunboat Panay flying an American flag. They also hit a British ship. Everyone has their back up and the Japanese won't back down. They are winning this fight and they are on the road to Nanking. Nothing can stop them now. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Exactly what happened is clear. The capital city of Nanking was majorly jugged by Japanese soldiers over the next 4 weeks. Looting, rape and mass murder were rampant. People were "hunted like rabbits". 20,000 men of military age were marched to a field and shot. Estimates of the non-military death toll range from 40,000 to 300,000. One could say that official Japan didn't order it. The commander of the army promised good treatment to the people of Nanking, but the officers on the scene clearly encouraged it. A large number of soldiers don't go wandering off for that long to rape and pillage without a lot of officers knowing and approving it. FDR started calling Japan a "bandit country" and it just got worse from there. [4]

The Nazis Hire a "Solutions" Company

Yes. Its another episode of "How much worse can the Nazis get?" For example, if you don't salute properly you get a punch in the nose at minimum. More likely a beating. Reverend Martin Niemöller was promised protection for the Church. After all, the soul of Germany is in danger from the Godless communists. (The communist/socialists are aggressive atheists, so his worry is real.) Now the Reverend has been arrested for activities against the State. He will be sent to a concentration camp and write that famous speech that starts, "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--Because I was not a Socialist." Of course, keeping track of communists, Jews and rebellious reverends would be an impossible task without the wonder of the age... the IBM tabulating machine. They "keep tabs" on people by occupation, race and religion. The punch cards run through a sorter and identify people who would otherwise slip through the cracks. IBM's Thomas J. Watson will be honored by the Nazis with the Order of the German Eagle this year for the punch card solution to their Jewish problem. [5] [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
All these years later, it's embarrassing. Isn't it? I'm not sure what Watson's motivation was for accepting the award. He tried to give the award back later, but he failed to do so for reasons that seemed good at the time. Now, they seem less good. I am Jewish, and I have Jewish friends who work for IBM. I'm not putting down the current company. Companies often last longer than the people who made those critical business decisions. Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen are other examples of Nazi collaborating companies from which I would gladly use their products. Why? Because it is the decisions that the companies make today that matter. For years, the only companies that would sell cars to Israel were Mercedes-Benz and Subaru. Today, Israel even buys German submarines. So... make your own decision, but I have no problem buying German if it makes practical sense.

Notable Births

  • Colin Powell (Living): US Army General and Secretary of State. (He also speaks Yiddish!) [9]
  • Saddam Hussein: President of Iraq. (The consensus said that he had an atom bomb. Oops!) [10]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Bill Cosby (Living): Comedian and actor on I Spy and The Cosby Show. [11]
  • -- Morgan Freedman (Living): He played "God" in "Bruce Almighty" and plays President in everything else. [12]
  • -- Jane Fonda (Living): "Barbarella" (a cult classic) and "The China Syndrome" (killed the nuclear power industry). [13]
  • -- George Takei (Living): Star Trek's Mr. Sulu. FDR sent him to a concentration camp. Apparently, a 5-year-old Japanese-American boy posed a security risk to the United States. (I am appalled.) [14]
  • -- George Carlin: "When fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jack-boots. It will be Nike sneakers and Smiley shirts." [15]
**Note: (Living) means they were alive when I checked.

In Other News

  • Edwin Land founds Polaroid. His polarizing material works great for sunglasses. Land will be essential to the development of spy satellites. [16] [17]
  • The Hindenburg disaster. "Oh the humanity!" cries Herbert Morrison as the airship bursts into flames moments before landing. [18]
  • The sale of cannabis is now taxable. Of course, possession is also illegal.... but for the medical research community, it is taxable. [19]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1937, Wikipedia.