Sunday, May 29, 2016



U.S. Navy

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Sunday, May 22, 2016


----El Nino has been pretty much a bust where I live in Southern California.  We've  received very little rain despite the weather expectations.   All we have is the rest of Grey May, then June Gloom to anticipate as the clouds overhead, though sometimes dark, float past to release any moisture in downpours elsewhere -- sometimes threatening flooding and/or mudslides. 

We can be grateful Northern California mountains did build up a snow pack almost normal for the season, but they'll need the same or more each year to come.  At least this year there will be snow to melt providing some portion of our Southern California usual water allocation.  Our city residents continue to convert landscapes to sustainable vegetation -- most of us voluntarily using water with care.  Meanwhile our city's legal efforts to acquire our water rights continue despite the company's unwillingness to sell them back to us.

----The political candidate onslaught has begun.  They've all previously been in Southern California numerous times in recent months and weeks, but now comes the big push.

Early afternoon I noticed two young men carrying clipboards coming through the neighborhood, but they turned away from my door when I directed their attention to my window sticker "No Solicitations - No Knock Registry" sign.  Now I wonder if they were soliciting for business, if they were promoting a candidate or if maybe they were after signatures on another of many circulating petitions.

----Later I tuned in to early afternoon TV news to learn Bill Clinton was expected in about fifteen minutes at a nearby community high school in Pomona as he campaigns for wife Hillary.  

----Heading south from here on one of our freeways into Orange County (known conservative stronghold ala Big John Wayne country) in the next few days Bernie Sanders (he's been in San Diego) will speak in Irvine at an outdoor amphitheater where I've enjoyed listening to the Pacific Symphony Orchestra concerts.

----Another day Donald Trump will be expressing himself in nearby Anaheim, also home to Goofy at Disneyland.

----A week or so ago Madeleine Albright was a speaker at one of our Claremont Colleges - Scripps - where she encountered protests to her appearance by some drowning out her voice.  Her months earlier comments calling for women to vote based on gender caused Scripps women students, especially, to let her know their adverse reaction.  There was some concern after a while that she wasn't being given an opportunity to be heard. 

I expect some individuals, both men and women, may gender vote, but I think most of us are wise enough to also consider additional more significant criteria.  I find it troublesome that there seems to be an increasing intolerance by many for listening to the views of those who differ from their own.

----ET 94 - external fuel tank -- is being united with NASA's Endeavour space shuttle at Los Angeles California Science Center Exposition Park.   Here's the tank arriving in L.A. after a trip through the Panama Canal from New Orleans:

Fuel tanks for all other shuttles launched disintegrated after being jettisoned.  Never launched, this tank is the only one remaining intact in the world.   This orange monster is reported to be fourteen stories high when in vertical position for take-off with the shuttle.  Today in horizontal position the tubular-looking tank was transported through streets where some light poles had to be temporarily taken down, though no trees trimmed as needed for the shuttle for safe passage.  Turning corners was a challenging maneuver, but despite the slow speed the tank arrived safely at the Science Center earlier than expected.

Shuttle Endeavour took a spectacular flight over L.A. in 2012 when it arrived in Los Angeles.  The flight flew over many special areas including east toward where I live, but here's one view over the famed Hollywood sign:


A spectator filled trip followed with transportation through the streets where it now rests at the Science Center as can be seen in this Los Angeles time lapse YouTube video:.

Recent years have seen other not just large but humongous objects being propelled through L.A. streets as I wrote about several years ago here in The Giant Megalith. 

Only auto motorcades on the streets are in our future as best we know now in Southern California  -- at least until our June 7th Presidential primary election.   A couple candidates, at least, will return later to raise money.   Then, we'll also see how important our state's voters are considered to be after the July Democratic and Republican national conventions.

This is a spectacular visual of Endeavour, the Los Angeles surrounding area, pilot audio noting points of interest, occasional radio chatter with control tower.  A special thrill for small plane enthusiasts though this is no small plane.


Sunday, May 08, 2016


Periodically I've been writing personal memories for my family so thought I’d share one commemorating my mother.  

Mother was born in nineteenth century United States to educated conservative but progressive farm parents as our agrarian society was becoming industrialized.   We had entered the twentieth century by the time Mother completed the 8th grade of school.   The Great Lakes State where she lived required those students wanting to attend high school must first pass a specially designed competency test referred to as “the Boxwell exam.”    
Mother’s parents encouraged their children who were so inclined to attend high school.   She passed the Boxwell, went off to a town the long-horse-and-buggy days-distance-away from her home to live weekdays with a family in the town where the high school was located.  In return for that family providing her board and room where she stayed while attending classes, she performed housekeeping duties in their home, plus her father paid them a small sum.    

Interestingly, I was able to locate the Boxwell exam's questions in the Ohio State University Library archives.     Here are a few questions with one I chose from each discipline an eighth grader was expected to have mastered.   The student was offered ten question choices in each discipline from which they had to select nine to answer.  
There were no yes/no or multiple choice questions as in many of today’s tests, often recorded on Scantron forms. 

Grammar and Composition:     
Analyze or diagram the following:  Captain Nathan Hale, a brilliant and handsome young man came forward and said, “I wiLL undertake it.”  His Last words were, “I regret that I have but one Life to Lose for my country.”

7,8,9,10. Spell as the examiner pronounces: Aviator, vigil, Brazil, courtesy, tapestry, grieve, candor, reverie, Japanese, merino, sterile, dissent, refrigerate, justice, suffrage, peppermint.
Write a short composition upon any of the following topics: "Raising Corn," "The Amazon Valley," "The Reciprocity Trade of the United States With Canada," “The Panama Canal" or "Our National Congress and Its Work of the Last Year."
Write a short selection of poetry or prose from memory as a sample of your penmanship.
Read for the examiners. (65%)
If ten men can dig a ditch 3.6 rods long, 2 feet deep in 8 days of 9 hours each, in how many days can twelve men dig a ditch 49 rods long and 3 feet deep if the days are only 8 hours long?
United States History including Civil Government:
What is a protective tariff? What is a tariff for revenue? What do you understand by the conservation of our natural resources?
Name the three divisions of the brain, and state the work of each division.                                                                                                                       

Click Boxwell's for a link to more details and questions if you're interested.    

Mother spoke of having to memorize all 88 Ohio counties; learning Latin to better understand the roots or relationships to some of our English words, especially scientific and legal ones, but these may have been high school studies.       

Following high school graduation Mother attended Kent Normal School (Kent State University now).  She became a teacher after completing the then required two year program for certification.  Subsequently she taught in a one room school house in her northern Ohio home community.   The experience of teaching all age students through eighth grade together in one room was the practice of the day.

1920 was the first year in which women could vote in the United States following passage of the 19th Amendment to our Constitution.   My mother became 21 that year, enthusiastically voting in that Presidential election.   She continued to proudly vote in all elections at every level throughout her life.    She cherished educated voting as a hard won right and a citizen's responsibility for living in this free nation.  

After meeting and ultimately marrying my father, they moved to a different area of the State where their family began.   Consequently, her life took quite a different path from that in education due to a variety of reasons, including the later development of unexpected health issues. 
Each year that I become older and closer to her age when she departed this earth, I increasingly think of matters I would so enjoy discussing with her now.   This year’s election is one such topic, especially when I read this description of issues in that first 1920’s election in which she voted.  

American Leaders Speak…    “…politicians were arguing…Overseas there were wars and revolutions; at home there were strikes, riots and a growing fear of radicals and terrorists. Disillusionment was in the air…The debate between the nationalistic activism…and the global idealism…”. 

My mother had a very positive outlook on life as she adapted to changing times and circumstances.     She was loving and supportive of our family throughout my life as only a mother can be.