Thursday, December 30, 2010

Have A Happy, and Safe New Year

Kevin over at Smallest Minority posted this powerful video from Australia earlier this month. It carries a strong message, and has many graphic images, but the message is important with New Year's Eve coming up. If you are going to be driving, don't drink; if you have been drinking, don't drive.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Frosty Fog

Fog, and below freezing temps mean that you should get up early and take in some whiteness and brightness.  The macro setting captures details that middle age eyes can't see.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

November 2010 e-Postal Scores

Manfred has posted the scores from the final Mr. Completely e-Postal Contest of 2010.  Click Here to go across the pond and see the final tally of the year.  There were only five competitors in November, which is disappointing, but I am willing to blame it on the weather and the holiday season.  I encourage all of our blog visitors to participate in Mr. Completely's contest next year.  It is good practice, fellowship with other shooters, and it is fun!  It is also a great opportunity to take new shooters out to the range, so let's all work together to make 2011 a really big e-Postal year.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ruger's Tactical Carbine Tips; Part IV

You will become a better shooter if you watch all of these videos from Ruger, and then put in some time on the range. Thanks again, Ruger!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Back To Work Already!?

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola: Warm Up With The Red Hot Mama

With the record cold and snow all over the place, it seems like a good time to warm things up with a Sophie Tucker song. EdmundusRex uploaded this record, and I have copied his notes below:

"Sophie Tucker (Jan.13,1884 - Feb.9,1966) was a singer and comedian, one of the most popular entertainers in America during the first two-thirds of the 20th century.

She was born Sonia Kalish to a Jewish family in Tsarist Russia. Her family emigrated to the United States when she was an infant, and settled in Hartford, Connecticut. The family changed its name to Abuza, and her parents opened a restaurant.
She started singing for tips in her family's restaurant. In 1903, at the age of 19, she was briefly married to Louis Tuck, from which she decided to change her name to "Tucker."

Tucker played piano and sang burlesque and vaudeville tunes, at first in blackface. She later said that this was at the insistence of theatre managers, who said she was "too fat and ugly" to be accepted by an audience in any other context.
She made a name for herself in a style that was known at the time as a "Coon Shouter", performing African American influenced songs. Not content with performing in the simple minstrel traditions, Tucker hired some of the best African American singers of the time to give her lessons, and hired African American composers to write songs for her act.
Tucker made her first appearance in the Ziegfeld Follies in 1909, but didn't last long there because Florenz Ziegfeld's other female stars soon refused to share the spotlight with the popular Tucker.
Tucker made several popular recordings. They included "Some of These Days," which came out in 1911 on Edison Records. The tune, written by Shelton Brooks, was a hit, and became Tucker's theme song. Later, it was the title of her 1945 autobiography.
In 1921, Tucker hired pianist and songwriter Ted Shapiro as her accompanist and musical director, a position he would keep throughout her career. Besides writing a number of songs for Tucker, Shapiro became part of her stage act, playing piano on stage while she sang, and exchanging banter and wisecracks with her in between numbers.
In the 1930s, Tucker brought elements of nostalgia for the early years of 20th century into her show. She was billed as The Last of the Red Hot Mamas, as her hearty sexual appetite was a frequent subject of her songs, unusual for female performers of the era. She made numerous popular film appearances, including Broadway Melody of 1938. In that film, Tucker sings a song during the big finale; even though she is playing a character and not herself, several neon lights displaying her real name light up in the background of the stage in tribute.
She continued performing in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, until shortly before dying of lung cancer in 1966 at the age of 82 and was interred at Emanuel Cemetery in Wethersfield, Connecticut.

Miff Mole (March 11,1898 - April 29,1961) was a jazz trombonist and band leader. He is generally considered as one of the greatest jazz trombonists and credited with creating "the first distinctive and influential solo jazz trombone style."
Sophie Tucker, Miff Mole Orchestra - I've Got a Cross-Eyed Papa (1924)"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

One More Christmas Carol!!

This excellent recording is shared with us by EMGColonel, over in the UK. This is an American Victor recording of the Trinity Choir, circa 1910, and uploaded yesterday, just in time for Christmas.

Christmas Day

Hark, the Herald Angels Sing with Organ and Orchestra: the closing Procession at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kansas City. Trinity Choir (John Schaefer, Director), John Fowler, organist. Christmas 2007

Video by anglicanorganistjohn

Before EJ went off to college to become an engineer, he played in the Christmas Orchestra several years at the Methodist Church in Carbondale, Illinois.  They always closed out the Christmas concert with this song.  A live performance of Hark the Herald Angels by an orchestra and a pipe organ will make you thrill and vibrate with the music; Unforgettable!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Weekend Steam: More Santa Train

The Santa Train at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City, NV.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Merry Christmas From Life's Other Side

Christmas Eve

The Harmony Double Mixed Quartet performs another Christmas song for the Puritone label of the Straus & Schram mail order company. Merry Christmas!

The True Blue Sam Family wishes all of our visitors a Merry and Blessed Christmas! Thanks for visiting, and now get back to your own family!

Christmas Song Festival Continues!

The Harmony Double Mixed Quartet performs a wonderful old Christmas carol on the Puritone Label for the Straus & Schram Company.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sing Like Brenda Lee!

from Jim02026

Derek, The Good Deed Doer

Go visit The Packing Rat, then go do likewise.  Derek takes lots of new shooters to the range and starts them in the right direction to be safe and skillful shooters.  There are people all over this country who want to learn how to shoot; we should all follow Derek's example and take someone to the range.

The Christmas Festival Continues! More Reason For The Season!

The Trinity Choir recorded this lovely Christmas song in August, 1923.

True Blue Sam's Christmas Festival!

True Blue Sam is really busy with work this week, so I am "Blogging Light" and re-posting Christmas records we recorded last year.  They are just as good as ever, and you can play them as many times as you wish without having to change the needle or wind up the phongraph.  The paper fold-out nativity scene resides in Bea's house, and we are pretty sure it is at least 100 years old.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In Need Of Sunny Days

We're at the shortest day of the year, and the sky has been dismal and depressing. Warm sunny days are a treasure, and this bit of video was shot last October while I was out looking at tree planting projects for next spring. Warm, sunny day, and a 208 popping away; pretty sweet.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Weekend Steam: Wisconsin Santa Train

Wisconsin & Southern Railroad brings in the holiday season as Soo Line locomotive 1003 slowly treks south from Plymouth,WI on a snowy December day.

Courtesy of flightsimman

Friday, December 17, 2010

Crankin' It Up: Are We Having Fun Yet?

If you are having trouble getting in the holiday spirt, The Hoosier Hot Shots are just the boost you need. The aluminum Christmas tree now resides in Chez EJ, up in Chicagoland, and he has it in a front window with the rotating color wheel, for all passersby to admire and enjoy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gunblast's Gum Blast

Jeff Quinn did some early Christmas shopping for himself, and he demonstrates his new toy for us with the help of his grandson.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Do They Still Have Five And Tens?

Poets' Corner

I grew up in an old Iowa farm house, so I know a little bit about being cold; enough that I don't plan on going to Alaska during the winter. A good cold snap like we are having right now always brings to mind the winters when I was a kid, with numbing cold, and lots of blowing snow. My favorite poet, Robert Service conveys powerful impressions of the frozen north, and he has a way of entertaining you with his stories so that you can see the action in your mind. 'Blasphemous Bill' is one that always comes to mind when winter weather get serious.  Better put another log on.

The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill

I took a contract to bury the body of blasphemous Bill MacKie,
Whenever, wherever or whatsoever the manner of death he die --
Whether he die in the light o' day or under the peak-faced moon;
In cabin or dance-hall, camp or dive, mucklucks or patent shoon;
On velvet tundra or virgin peak, by glacier, drift or draw;
In muskeg hollow or canyon gloom, by avalanche, fang or claw;
By battle, murder or sudden wealth, by pestilence, hooch or lead --
I swore on the Book I would follow and look till I found my tombless dead.

For Bill was a dainty kind of cuss, and his mind was mighty sot
On a dinky patch with flowers and grass in a civilized bone-yard lot.
And where he died or how he died, it didn't matter a damn
So long as he had a grave with frills and a tombstone "epigram".
So I promised him, and he paid the price in good cheechako coin
(Which the same I blowed in that very night down in the Tenderloin).
Then I painted a three-foot slab of pine: "Here lies poor Bill MacKie",
And I hung it up on my cabin wall and I waited for Bill to die.

Years passed away, and at last one day came a squaw with a story strange,
Of a long-deserted line of traps 'way back of the Bighorn range;
Of a little hut by the great divide, and a white man stiff and still,
Lying there by his lonesome self, and I figured it must be Bill.
So I thought of the contract I'd made with him, and I took down from the shelf
The swell black box with the silver plate he'd picked out for hisself;
And I packed it full of grub and "hooch", and I slung it on the sleigh;
Then I harnessed up my team of dogs and was off at dawn of day.

You know what it's like in the Yukon wild when it's sixty-nine below;
When the ice-worms wriggle their purple heads through the crust of the pale blue snow;
When the pine-trees crack like little guns in the silence of the wood,
And the icicles hang down like tusks under the parka hood;
When the stove-pipe smoke breaks sudden off, and the sky is weirdly lit,
And the careless feel of a bit of steel burns like a red-hot spit;
When the mercury is a frozen ball, and the frost-fiend stalks to kill --
Well, it was just like that that day when I set out to look for Bill.

Oh, the awful hush that seemed to crush me down on every hand,
As I blundered blind with a trail to find through that blank and bitter land;
Half dazed, half crazed in the winter wild, with its grim heart-breaking woes,
And the ruthless strife for a grip on life that only the sourdough knows!
North by the compass, North I pressed; river and peak and plain
Passed like a dream I slept to lose and I waked to dream again.

River and plain and mighty peak -- and who could stand unawed?
As their summits blazed, he could stand undazed at the foot of the throne of God.
North, aye, North, through a land accurst, shunned by the scouring brutes,
And all I heard was my own harsh word and the whine of the malamutes,
Till at last I came to a cabin squat, built in the side of a hill,
And I burst in the door, and there on the floor, frozen to death, lay Bill.

Ice, white ice, like a winding-sheet, sheathing each smoke-grimed wall;
Ice on the stove-pipe, ice on the bed, ice gleaming over all;
Sparkling ice on the dead man's chest, glittering ice in his hair,
Ice on his fingers, ice in his heart, ice in his glassy stare;
Hard as a log and trussed like a frog, with his arms and legs outspread.
I gazed at the coffin I'd brought for him, and I gazed at the gruesome dead,
And at last I spoke: "Bill liked his joke; but still, goldarn his eyes,
A man had ought to consider his mates in the way he goes and dies."

Have you ever stood in an Arctic hut in the shadow of the Pole,
With a little coffin six by three and a grief you can't control?
Have you ever sat by a frozen corpse that looks at you with a grin,
And that seems to say: "You may try all day, but you'll never jam me in"?
I'm not a man of the quitting kind, but I never felt so blue
As I sat there gazing at that stiff and studying what I'd do.
Then I rose and I kicked off the husky dogs that were nosing round about,
And I lit a roaring fire in the stove, and I started to thaw Bill out.

Well, I thawed and thawed for thirteen days, but it didn't seem no good;
His arms and legs stuck out like pegs, as if they was made of wood.
Till at last I said: "It ain't no use -- he's froze too hard to thaw;
He's obstinate, and he won't lie straight, so I guess I got to -- saw."
So I sawed off poor Bill's arms and legs, and I laid him snug and straight
In the little coffin he picked hisself, with the dinky silver plate;
And I came nigh near to shedding a tear as I nailed him safely down;
Then I stowed him away in my Yukon sleigh, and I started back to town.

So I buried him as the contract was in a narrow grave and deep,
And there he's waiting the Great Clean-up, when the Judgment sluice-heads sweep;
And I smoke my pipe and I meditate in the light of the Midnight Sun,
And sometimes I wonder if they was, the awful things I done.
And as I sit and the parson talks, expounding of the Law,
I often think of poor old Bill -- and how hard he was to saw.

from BALLADS OF A CHEECHAKO by Robert Service

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Looks Like A Finger-Chopper-Offer To Me

This Keystone Common Sense Feed Cutter from 1872 is a great demonstration of the dangers of agriculture past, and a good reminder for all involved with machinery today.  One of my great-grandfathers (the father of Charles, the dashing lad with the Model T seen at the top of the page)was maimed by a corn knife accident, and that was a tough problem for someone making their living on the farm.  This nifty fodder processor offered, not maiming, but amputation to farmers, their spouses and offspring, if they were careless in their judgement while working up a corn shock, and you have to wonder if this machine has any tragedies attached to its history.  Making a living can be tough at times, so be careful out there.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sing Along!

Ruger's "History Of The Gun" Video Series; Parts Six and Seven

The next two "History Of The Gun" videos from Ruger cover the steps in cartridge development, and the evolution of rifling.

Nick Of Time

 The wife and I managed to get in a good load of wood just before dark on Friday night, and it's a good thing.  The weather really took a bad turn Saturday, and then it pulled out all the stops on Sunday.  Our roads were drifting shut on Sunday night, and the wind isn't letting up. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snow And Ice Covered?

Southern Illinois is colder than Chicago right now! If you can't take off a day of SLICK LEAVE, it's Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

Pax41 uploaded this excellent Christmas record by the Venetian Trio. Pax's notes:Recorded 4/22/1915

Howard Rattay (instrumentalist: violin)
Rosario Bourdon (instrumentalist: cello)
Francis J. Lapitino (instrumentalist: harp)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Regardless Of Your Opinions About Snow...

...this is still a great song. Thanks again to Jim02026!

Weekend Steam

Pull the slider ahead to 1:55 so you don't become impatient, and watch the Huckleberry Railroad Christmas Train pass through Genesee, Michigan. Courtesy of TrueWolverine87, on YouTube.

And from cplerrguy, a couple more of this beautiful little railroad.

And another, for jrahrig:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Crankin' It Up

Gene Rodemich's Orchestra recorded this dance number in December, 1922. True Blue Sam played it on his Brunswick in December, 2010.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Appeal From Soldiers' Angels

This came in from Soldiers' Angels today.  Any contribution is welcome, and needed to give comfort to our soldiers in faraway places.

Dear Soldiers’ Angel,

We have 24-hours to raise the final funds for shipping our Christmas Gift Stockings to our troops overseas and recovering from serious wounds in our military hospitals.

Shipping alone will be at least $350,000.
I urgently need to hear back from you right now –- and it has to be in the next 24 hours.
Please click here to make your tax-deductible donation.

As you can imagine, shipping into desert areas in Iraq and Afghanistan - - some of them decimated - - is very costly.

As of today, I don’t have the funds I need to continue. That’s why I’m writing and asking you please, once again, can you help a lonely soldier overseas during the holidays?

Please click here to make your tax-deductible donation.

I know you care about our troops. You’ve proven it already. But please don’t think someone else will do your part for this Christmas Stockings campaign.
This Christmas, thousands of man and women will need your help, prayers, and encouragement. And believe me, they’ll be so grateful.

They’ve been there for us.

Will you be there for them?

Patti Patton Bader
Founder, Soldiers’ Angels

P.S. I’m sure you agree: There’s almost nothing harder for our troops than being away from home during the Christmas holidays.

Please, now while you are thinking about it, make your tax-deductible contribution.

If we don’t have the funds we need in the next 24 hours, we’ll have to drastically slash the Christmas Stockings program. Please help in the next 24 hours.

Please click here to make your tax-deductible donation.

More Merry Christmas Mood Music!

Jim02026 has a great sounding player piano, and he films his rolls so you can sing along.  TBS will keep posting Jim's player videos to help spread some joy this Christmas, and because True Blue Sam likes player pianos.  I hope these lift your spirits this holiday season.

Grass Versus Trees Again

 I am covered up right now putting together plans for tree planting next spring, and part of every plan is a section telling landowners to kill fescue before they plant their trees.  Some listen, and some don't.  The ones that have fescue in their projects make good examples to show other landowners why killing grass before they plant is important.  The top photo is a tree planting project that was installed in crop stubble, with no weed control.  It has nearly 100% survival, and good form in the trees because of competition with weeds, and the natural concealment from deer.

This sad looking planting project is right across the road from the first planting, and it was actually planted before the other, in Hamilton County, Illinois.  This project was a fescue field, and the owner never got around to controlling the fescue grass.  White pine is one of the few trees that seems to be able to fight it out with fescue and survive, but they would have performed better if instructions had been followed.  The hardwoods were essentially a 100% failure.  Very few of these failed cases ever call to rectify the problem, so I assume that these folks weren't terribly interested in the first place.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Your Mileage May Vary With This Gizmo

 We are making more barn timbers out of one of the trees we had to drop, and I used a Beam Machine from Bailey's Logging Supply, just to see how it would do on a big job.  The Beam Machine uses a straight 2" X 4" as a guide, and you pull the saw through the log.  A 2" x 4" is not a very big base, and the challenge you face is keeping you saw squarely oriented throughout the cut.  You will have some roughness in the faces with this gadget, because you pull the saw back, rotate down, and repeat.  It did pretty well, though, and the inexpensive price makes it a fair investment.  In this photo the 2" x 4" rail and the Beam Machine have been removed to finish the cuts.
 Finishing the cuts.  You can see the Beam Machine on the left side of the photo.  It attaches to the bar of the saw with two set screws, and is easy to install and remove.
I cut firewood sections out of the slabs while the top log was still attached, then cut the half finished cant from the butt log.  We will finish this into a timber for use in our old barn, and have a few boards to boot.  I plan to use our Alaskan Mill to finish this job.
The Alaskan Mill will do a better job of making smooth cuts, but of course it costs more.  These milling attachments are more versatile than the inexpensive Beam Machine, but they also require more muscle as you have to push the saw through the cuts.  Read up on the various attachments that are available for your saw so you buy the right tool for the type of work you need to do.

You need to have a fair understanding of filing your teeth if you plan to use a chainsaw milling attachment.  The teeth are filed differently for ripping, but you won't have any trouble if you already know how to file a chainsaw blade.  Take a look at Chainsaw Sharpening Tips for hints on filing.  Ripping chains will have two teeth filed at about 25 degrees, and then two teeth filed at 0 to 10 degrees.  Chains filed for cross-cutting will have all the teeth filed at 25 to 35 degrees.  You can buy a chain already made for ripping, or file a crosscut chain to do the job.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Before Fuel Injection; Before Floats and Needle Valves...

Engineers and other inventors have been coming up with new and more efficient ways to deliver fuel to the combustion chamber ever since the first internal combustion engine.  This little video offers a good look at one of the early systems for regulating the amount of fuel in the carburetor bowl; an overflow and return to the fuel tank.  This method worked well and was used on many of the early gas engines and tractors.  Follow this link to have a look inside a Secor-Higgins carburetor, and to read of all its virtues.  The Secor-Higgins system was used in Falk gas engines and Rumely Oil Pulls, and it was a  major advance from more primitive mixing valves.  If you look closely at the diagram you will see that it, too, used the overflow system to regulate the fuel level in the carburetor. 

In the last segment of this video you will see the interaction between the magneto and ignitor on this engine. Ignitors have a stationary and a movable point inside the combustion chamber. The points are closed, completing a circuit, and then released. The spark occurs when the circuit is broken.

Time To Start Getting In The Mood

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Videos From Ruger Firearms

We will get back to Ruger's 'History Of The Gun," but we need to post the latest in Ruger's new carbine series, and one from Ruger's new Competition Series. In the first video, Dave Spaulding takes a look at some of the many accessories you can add to your tactical carbine, and he offers some darn good advice.

The next video introduces us to Steel Challenge shooting, a wonderful sport that is great fun for all participants. Mike Briggs does a great job explaining the basics of Steel Challenge, and the quote you should remember is "When you do it, you're smiling a lot." Having sampled steel shooting at the Gun Blogger Rendezvous, I have to agree. Everyone has a good time, whether they are shooting or watching. One of the bloggers at Reno was shooting a Walther P22, and hitting an 18" x 24" target at 100 feet during one of the stages; color me impressed! It is a sport that you can enjoy with off-the-shelf equipment, and at your level of skill, even if you are a novice.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Mondays Won't Let Up

What do you do when your corn cracker jams up? Poking with your fingers could be painful, and who wants fingers in their cornmeal? Keep a cob handy, and Safety First! Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola: What's Old Is New Again

This video of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor was over on Roberta X, and it is fascinating to watch the histogram pass by as the music plays.

Fascinating, but having spent many happy hours pedaling a player piano, it was very familiar, even if the orientation is wrong for a player roll. Here is the same piece played on an 1895 Aeolian player reed organ. When a hole is uncovered in the tracker bar, air goes through a tube, opens a valve, and a vacuum operated pneumatic opens the valve for a corresponding reed.

If you sat through all of the reed organ, you deserve a bonus!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bonus e-Postal Time!

Manfred is extending the deadline for the November Mr. Completely e-Postal contest until December 12, and Cheaper Than Dirt is extending the season long Zombie Shoot until December 6.  If you haven't entered these contests already, or have another gun you would like to enter, print out the targets and head to the range.  Both of these contests give you a chance to win a $50 gift certificate, generously donated by Cheaper Than Dirt, so you may win more than bragging rights.  Everyone who enters is a winner in these contests, because you will have the satisfaction of shooting with other enthusiasts, and getting in some much needed practice. 

Weekend Steam: Winter In Southeast Iowa

Mt. Pleasant, Iowa draws steam enthusiasts even in December, when the Midwest Central Railroad hosts the "North Pole Express."  I just checked the North Pole Express page, and all the scheduled rides are sold out for this Christmas season.  Click here to have a look at photos from 2008, and watch for info about 2011.  Evidently, you must sign up well in advance to have a seat.  Steam and railfans are welcome to come and watch Number 9 pull the train around, and if you get lucky, you may get some video of the train running in snow.
The above video was posted courtesy of steamairman, one of the many volunteers who make this railroad run.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Crankin' It Up

This week and next we have a couple of lively dance numbers. Lovin'Sam is by Bennie Krueger's Orchestra, and was recorded sometime in 1923. This rendition has a great saxophone part, so be sure and listen for it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oscar Theodore Bentrup...

O. T. Bentrup was born in St. Joseph, Missouri on June 15, 1920 to Alfred C. and Mary Elizabeth Hermesmeyer Bentrup, and passed away on November 30, 2010, at his home in Belle Prairie, Illinois.  He was preceded in death by his parents and all of his siblings: Raymond, Maurice, Alfred (Dutch), Dorothy, Lloyd, and Donald.  He worked as a brakeman, and then as a conductor on the CB&Q Railroad (later the Burlington Northern) from 1940 to 1982, except for the years during World War II when he served in the Third Marine Division.  During his time in the Pacific he fought in the invasions of Bougainville, Guam, and Iwo Jima. 
He married Patricia Ann DuLany in St. Joseph, Missouri on November 6, 1949 at the Zion United Church of Christ, where both remained members.  Patricia survives, along with daughters Susan Johnson (David N.) of Dahlgren, and Jill Heffernan (James P.) of St. Louis; grandchildren Stephanie Heffernan of Columbia, Missouri, Joshua Heffernan and Cora Heffernan of St. Louis, and Ezekiel Johnson of Brookfield, Illinois.
In the top photo we see O.T. on his final run for the Burlington Northern Railroad.
This photo was taken on Ray's wedding day in 1932.  Ray is the tall one on the left.  Lloyd, in front of Ray, died from wounds received on the USS Colorado during the shelling of Tinian in 1944.
Maurice, who was in the SeaBees visited O.T. on Guadalcanal.  I don't know if this photo was taken before or after the Bougainville campaign.
O.T. with his younger daughter Jill, in 1957.

Daughter Susan, O.T., and Pat, with dogs Teddy and Liza, planting another tree on the farm.

Final Figures Published By Soldiers' Angels!

Soldiers' Angels has posted the final results for the special fundraising competition for Project Valour-IT, and the numbers are impressive!  Project Valour-IT and Soldiers' Angels need contributions year-round, so if you weren't able to contribute during the competitive fundraiser, don't despair!  You can click on the links for Soldiers' Angels or Valour-IT on the left side of this page to make a contribution anytime.  Our servicemen and women are laying their lives on the line for us every day, so please send them a little love once in a while.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ruger's "History of the Gun," Parts 3, 4, and 5

These three videos from RugerFirearms fit very well together and bring firearms up through the muzzleloading era.  I am old enough that during grade school, my teachers read stories to us of people using muzzleloading firearms, with descriptions good enough that you could have gone out and shot one if you had never seen one before.  I can remember one teacher reading to us from Laura Ingalls' books about Pa casting bullets at the fireplace in their cabin because he thought that Indians might attack them.  I don't think teachers are reading stories like these to kids today, if they take the time to read at all in the classroom.  I was lucky; I had four teachers during my grade school years that read every day to the class, and that greatly increased my desire to read books myself...and to shoot muzzleloaders.  Thank You, Ruger, for posting these great videos!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tomorrow's Monday, And You Know What That Means...

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

EdmundusRex posted this delightful Ben Bernie record for us to enjoy.  How often do you hear "Hollyhocks" used in a rhyme?  The title made this one irresistible to me, and it is an added bonus to listen to a new song from my dad's favorite band.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Weekend Steam

This is nice little slide show of photos taken nearly fifty years ago, and shared with us by Strobx1, the little boy in the pictures.

Here are Strobx1's notes about the photos from his YouTube site:  View a slide show with big band music and see GTW Pacific type 4-6-2 #'s 5627 and 6323 In Muskegon Michigan in 1957 and August of 1961. See the 6323 as it travels east bound along Laketon Avenue towards Simpson Jct. The 6323 will cross Laketon Ave then head south to "Shaw Jct" where it will head East on the Pennsylvania tracks (The GTW used the PRR to gain access to Muskegon) to Marne MIch where it will join the Grand Haven line at "Penn Jct". Then east to Grand Rapids crossing the Grand River and ending up at Durand Mich. The 5627 had a famous sister. Dick Jensen's 5629 which was one of the main steam excursion engines along with steamer off the CB&Q. An unresolved dispute between Metra and Mr Jenson resulted in Metra scrapping the 5629. See the 5629 in service and it's scrapping at the Metra Blue Island (ex Rock Island Yard). I was only three years old at the time the 1957 photos were taken.I do not remember these. But I do remember the 6323 in August of 1961. Liability was NOT an issue and my Dad & I were free to climb all over the engine. My Dad asked permission to do so. He received it. Likely because the GTW guys knew the PM/C&O guys.The whole experience was frightening for a 7 year old child. My dad stepped on a floor pedal and the "Butterfly" firebox doors swung open. He asked me to look inside. The heat was unbearable in this white hot coal fire. I was scared. If that weren't enough, we climbed on the tender. When I got to the rear platform, The engineer blew two LOUD whistle blasts, then started to move with my Dad & I on the tender. Now I was REALLY scared. But he stopped after about 10 feet to blow water out of the cylinder cocks. We lived a 1/2 mile from the Pennsy. So my Dad wanted me to listen, When he heard the 6323 coming he said "Remember this sound because you'll never hear this sound again!" Steam had died on August of 1961 according to my Dad. That was my only experience with steam until we saw the ex Southern Mikado 2-8-2 #4501 in Birmingham Alabama.. This time I wasn't scared!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Crankin' It Up

This is not the song I expected when I pulled it out of the record cabinet. I was thinking that it was "All Alone, By The Telephone" as sung by John McCormack; but this is a delightful novelty song that would have fit well on the Vaudeville stage. It was recorded on April 5, 1911 by Ada Jones (Soprano), and Walter Van Brunt (Tenor). The original owners of this disc dearly loved it, and played it to death with old needles. The old Brunswick was making boiler room noises near the end of the song, but hey, it's authentic, it's educational, and it's free.

Bonus!!! Pax41 has posted the song I was thinking about when I saw the title:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

While You Have The Family Together...

...Print out the rules and a bunch of targets for the Mr. Completely November e-Postal Match, and share some shooting with your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandkids, and anyone else who shows up for dinner.  This month you are shooting at 25 yards, but it is a big bullseye, and everyone should make some points.  Every entry is a chance to win a $50 gift certificate from Cheaper Than Dirt, a fine store offering superb online service to shooters.  Cheaper Than Dirt is also sponsoring a season long Zombie Shooting Contest, which is listed in the Get Out and Shoot section on the left side of this page. 

This is the last e-Postal shoot of 2010, so be sure you enter; you know you need the practice!

Nobody Has Said It Better...

"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789." G. Washington

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Got Punctuation?

The Mrs. noticed this sign while I was gassing up a recently, and asked me if I wanted to win a boatload of candy cigarettes. I wasn't interested, but just in case you want to be a winner, this place is on Broadway in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Odds and Ends

There are lots of video bits that just don't fit anywhere by themselves, and some oddball pictures with the same problem. Time on Monday night was limited, but I managed to string some photos and video together, and put an Eck Robertson song with them so it is worth playing.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ruger's "History Of The Gun" Video Series

This is another fascinating collection of videos by Ruger; I think there are ten of them.  I will start out with two this week, and we will look at more later.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another Monday, Coming Right Up

Back To The Old Grind!

I Did, Did You?

I did my part for National Ammo Day; if you forgot, run out today and buy at least 100 rounds!

Not My Victrola

EdmundusRex posted this great record by Ted Lewis, and his notes are copied here for your edification:
"Theodore Leopold Friedman, better known as Ted Lewis (June 6,1892 - Aug.25,1971),

was an American entertainer, bandleader, singer, and musician. He led a band presenting a combination of jazz, hokey comedy, and schmaltzy sentimentality that was a hit with the American public. He was known by the moniker "Mr. Entertainment"

Born in Circleville, Ohio, Lewis was one of the first Northern musicians to start imitating the New Orleans jazz musicians who came up to New York in the teens. He first recorded in 1917 with Earl Fuller's Jass Band, who were making an energetic if somewhat clumsy attempt to copy the sound of the city's newest sensation, the Original Dixieland Jass Band. At the time, Lewis didn't seem to be able to do much on the clarinet other than trill. (Promoting one recording the Victor catalog stated:"The sounds as of a dog in his dying anguish are from Ted Lewis' clarinet"). He improved a bit later, forming his style from the influences of the first New Orleans clarinetists to reside in New York, Larry Shields, Alcide Nunez, and Achille Baquet.

By 1919 Lewis was leading his own band, and had a recording contract with Columbia Records, which marketed him as their answer to the Original Dixieland Jass Band who recorded for Victor records. At the start of the 1920s he was considered by many people without previous knowledge of jazz (that is to say, most of America) to be one of the leading lights of hot jazz. Lewis's clarinet playing never evolved beyond his style of 1919 which in later years would sound increasingly corny, but Lewis certainly knew what good clarinet playing sounded like, for he hired musicians like Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey, and the wonderful (and, unfortunately, largely forgotten) Don Murray to play clarinet in his band. For years his band also included jazz greats Muggsy Spanier on trumpet and George Brunis on trombone. Ted Lewis's band was second only to the Paul Whiteman in popularity during the 1920s, and arguably played more real jazz with less pretension than Whiteman, especially in his recordings of the late 1920s.

Lewis's band got cornier and schmaltzier as the Great Depression wore on, but this seemed to match the general public's taste, as he kept commercially successful during an era when many bands broke up. Through it all he retained his famous catch-phrase "Is everybody happy?". Lewis adopted a battered top hat for sentimental, hard-luck tunes (he called himself "the high-hatted tragedian of song"). Frequently he would stray from song lyrics, improvising chatter around them. This gave the effect of Lewis "speaking" the song spontaneously: "When ma' baby... when ma' baby smiles at me... gee, what a wonderful, wonderful light that comes to her eyes... look at that light, folks..."

Ted Lewis And His Band - Harmonica Harry (1930)"

Here is "When My Baby Smiles," which is refferred to in the notes above. This song was recorded in 1938, and was re-issued on a Decca 45 in the 1950's. Posted on YouTube by boyjohn.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Project Valour-IT Totals

Many thanks to all who contributed to Project-Valour-IT during the Veterans' Day fundraising competition. You can look at the totals raised by the teams HERE. The competition between the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines is all in fun for a noble cause, and more than $94,000 dollars were contributed to help our wounded heroes. Thank You for helping!

Weekend Steam: Sad News

Mrs. True Blue Sam and I did not get to travel to many steam shows and collect raw video for you this year as we normally do, and this is the last steam video that I have to share until next summer. Oh Well; I have pulled out my stash of old Iron Men Album magazines (Which go back into the 1940's), so I will come up with some good still photos to share with you, and there are other YouTubers with good steam video. Weekend Steam will continue, and maybe next year I can come up with more of my own videos.

This video shows a very pretty, homebuilt double-simple engine at Pinckneyvile. The proud owner is a gentleman from Coulterville, Illinois. I wish I knew the significance of Elmer Fudd on the smokebox door.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I Have Been Accused...

...of keeping all the deer out behind the barn, and while that really isn't true, I won't be doing anything to disturb this fellow's happy home while road hunters are circling.

Things To Do Today:

Buy at least 100 rounds!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Firearm Deer Season: Safety First!

Firearm deer season begins this Friday in Illinois.  Most hunters have been through a hunter safety course that covers basic gun safety and deer stand safety, but there are other hazards out there that most people don't know about.  Much of the good deer habitat in Southern Illinois is abandoned farmland, and in the not-too-distant past, much of Southern Illinois and other parts of the Midwest had a home on every 40 acres.  Every home had at least one well or cistern, and there are still lots of them out there trapping dumb animals that don't know to look out for them.  I have been lucky, because the worst ones I've seen weren't the first ones I saw.  This one, for instance, has a sandstone cap with a hole too small for a human to fall through.  It's the exception to the rule.  Many have water and straight sides, so if you fall in you might climb out.  I have seen many that are bell shaped, deep, and dry.  If you fall in one of those you are a goner.  I was out with a buddy one day, and he stopped suddenly after he had dodged around a tree.  If I had been following too closely I would have run into him, and both of us would have fallen down a 20' deep well with a dry bottom.  Anyway, as you go to your favorite hunting spot in the dark pre-dawn hour, be on the lookout for dark spots that don't seem to have a bottom.  The main trick I use to spot these hazards in my part of the country is to look for walnut trees on upland sites.  Most homes had walnut trees planted around them, and now the descendants of those trees still mark the old homesites.  Your part of the world may have its own signs; learn them and stay safe!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cleopatra In A Former Life

This scene immediately brought to mind Cleopatra on her barge, showing her Rudder Guy where she wanted to go, as the slaves toiled away at the oars.  Ride Like An Egyptian!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fun Fall Activities

This nice little 1 1/2 HP John Deere engine was running a cider press at the fall Pinckneyville show. Lots of fun to watch!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ruger Firearms Begins A New Video Series!

Ruger's newest series will show us many tactical tips using carbines. Dave Spaulding does a great job as a presenter in these videos, and if you like what you see, bring up Ruger's videos on YouTube to leave comments. Even though you see Ruger firearms being used in these videos, I think it is important to note that the instruction given is applicable to all brands. These videos are not advertisements for Ruger's products, but are meant to help shooters no matter whose firearms they are using. Thank You, Sturm-Ruger!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

That Was A Short Weekend!

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola: Early Jazz Classic

Leona Williams and her Dixie Band - That Teasin', Squeezin' Man Of Mine (1923), posted by EdmundusRex: Leona Williams was born in New Orleans. She was an early jazz singer and she is represented by 16 sides cut for the Columbia label during a series of recording sessions that took place from January 23, 1922 through February 5, 1923. The quintet that backed her, billed as her Dixie Band, also made quite a number of fine recordings under the name of the Original Memphis Five.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quick Cal Gives Us A Shooting Lesson!

Quick Cal is one of the fastest quick draw artists around, and he graciously donated his time to teach the newbies at the Gun Blogger Rendezvous.  I saw over on Mr. Completely's blog that Cal was injured in a fall, and will have a fairly long recovery because of some broken vertebrae.  You can send Quick Cal your get well wishes at; QuickCal (at) cowboyfastdraw (dot)com.   

Weekend Steam: Commitment

How much are you willing to spend on your hobby?  I figured out long ago that steam traction engines will cost you approximately the same as a nice new car (not a plain Jane).  This has stayed pretty constant for the last forty-five years that I have been watching old engines, and listening for clues to the value.  Showing these old behemoths isn't cheap, either.  This engine belongs to a big farmer, so he would have had the Diesel rig for moving equipment, but this trailer may have been built just for moving steam engines.  These machines sort of get into you blood, and folks pull out all the stops to have a good time with them.

You never know when you may need a boost to get out of a mudhole; that looks like a mighty handy helper to keep in the toolbox.  Models don't come cheap, either.  They must have a coded boiler, and the castings and machine work to build one push the cost up out of reach for most people.  Luckily, steam hobbyists are happy to let the rest of us look for 'no charge.'

Friday, November 12, 2010

Crankin' It Up

Selvin's Novelty Orchestra recorded this lively dance number on May 14, 1920. This was made during the acoustic era, during which you often heard lots of percussion, which recorded well through a megaphone.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How Are We Doing?

Here are the totals for the Project Valour-IT Veterans' Day Fundraiser, as of midnight last night.  So far, a little over $86,000 has been contributed to buy laptops for wounded warriors.  Many Thanks to all who have contributed to help our heroes.

This photo from the Valour-IT website shows  Major Chuck Ziegenfuss using his voice activated laptop while he was recovering from his wounds.  These men and women lay their lives on the line for us every day, so please show them a little love, and make a contribution. Thank You!

Take A Moment At The Eleventh Hour!

Soldiers' Angels Project Valour-IT Fundraising Competition

Project Valour-IT began when Captain Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss was wounded by an IED while serving as commander of a tank company in Iraq in June 2005.

During his deployment he kept a blog (an online personal diary, opinion forum, or news analysis site-called a milblog or military weblog when written by a servicemember or about military subjects). Captivating writing, insightful stories of his experiences, and his self-deprecating humor won him many loyal readers. After he was wounded, his wife continued his blog, keeping his readers informed of his condition.

As he began to recover, CPT Ziegenfuss wanted to return to writing his blog, but serious hand injuries hampered his typing. When a loyal and generous reader gave him a copy of the Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred software, other readers began to realize how important such software could be to CPT Ziegenfuss' fellow wounded soldiers and started cast about for a way to get it to them.

"At that time I had no use of either hand. I know how humbling it is, how humiliating it feels. And I know how much better I felt, how amazingly more functional I felt, after Soldiers' Angels provided me with a laptop and a loyal reader provided me with the software. I can't wait to do the same, to give that feeling to another soldier at Walter Reed." - Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss at TC Override (wounded in Iraq)
Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss (Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss' father), provides voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand and arm injuries, amputations, eye or brain injuries, at major military medical centers. Operating laptops by speaking into a microphone, our wounded heroes are able to send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the 'Net, and communicate with buddies still in the field without having to press a key or move a mouse."

learn more

learn more

Project Valour-IT is doing great work helping our wounded warriors, and they need your help. Click the buttons to read more about Soldiers' Angels and Valour-IT, and please make a contribution!

This announcement will be kept at the top of this column until Veterans' Day, so be sure to roll down the page to see the latest posts.