Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Monday, December 9, 2013
'Tis the season. Snowflakes, gingerbread, mistletoe, and ho-ho-ho here we go right into the Yuletide. I heard a piece on NPR this week extolling the virtues of the holiday punch bowl and it brought back fond memories of the days when we used to get all dressed up for a holiday cocktail party. It's been a few years since our last blow out and absence makes the heart grow fonder. Or maybe that's absinthe.
Regardless, here's raising a glass of cheer and hoping that the holiday has been treating you right so far. May the lines be small, the sales be big, and the joy lasting. To put you in the mood here's a little seasonal ditty from Mr. Nelson's Orchestra, Jingle Bells.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Frank Ballou Stearns built his first automobile in the basement of his family's Cleveland, OH home at the age of seventeen. His first production model auto was a buggy-style, one cylinder came in 1897. Throughout the early 1900's, the F. B. Stearns Company focused on performance automobiles, introducing a 60hp four cylinder touring car with five or seven seats. Barney Oldfield won the Mount Wilson Hillclimb in a Stearns Six at Brighton Beach in 1910, a vehicle believed to be the most powerful of its era.
Eventually Stearns turned its attention toward the consumer market and by 1914 when this ad ran the company was introducing its Knight sleeve engine. The company's founder retired in 1925, selling out to J. N. Willys who operated the company until 1929 before liquidating it and sending the legacy of Stearns to the automotive graveyard.
This ad comes from a 1914 issue of Life Magazine.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
As this headline from the December 15, 1941 issue of Life Magazine screams, on this date in 1941 the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii plunged the United States into the conflagration that had been raging in Europe and China since 1931. The Japanese intended to use the attack as a preventative measure, thinking it would prevent US involvement in Imperial actions against Southern Pacific holdings of the United Kingdom and operations in Southeast Asia.
Japanese operations against Pearl Harbor began at 7:48 on a Sunday morning while most of the base's personnel were attending church services. 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo bombers attacked in two waves, launched from six Japanese aircraft carriers. When the smoke cleared, all eight US battleships anchored in Pearl were damaged, with four sent to the bottom of the harbor. 2402 Americans perished in the attack and 1,282 were wounded. The Japanese lost 29 aircraft and five midget submarines at a cost of 65 casualties.
Japanese leaders underestimated the American response, though, and on December 8th the United States declared war on Japan. By December 11th, war had also been declared on Italy and Germany and America had entered World War II.
While digging around the internet, looking for something besides the time-worn photos of burning aircraft and sinking ships we've all seen over the years, I came across this little snippet of a radio announcement. Hearing the words sends a chill through me and takes me back to a September not too long ago when the modern world changed forever.