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Prof. Boerner's Explorations

Thoughts and Essays that explore the world of Technology, Computers, Photography, History and Family.

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Category: On this Day…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbWe remember the years of World War II for its Big Bands playing swing music. The leaders of these bands, like Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman, Les Brown, Count Basie & Artie Shaw, were famous for their bands. Their lead singers, like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby & Rosemary Clooney, also became cult heroes. A number of female singing groups also became popular. One of the most notable of these groups was The Andrew Sisters along with the McGuire Sisters and The Chordettes.

Andrew Sisters

The three sisters that formed the Andrew Sisters’ voices blended melodiously with their incredible syncopation.  This was made famous for catchy tunes like “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” caught on, especially after the release of the Abbott and Costello movie, Buck Privates. But they were also well-known for their performances of songs such as “Rum and Coca-Cola”, “Bir Mir Bist Du Schoen”, “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, and “Apple Blossom Time”.

They were among the first groups to sing in the rhythm and blues (jump blues) styling. This catchy tune caught on and became a favorite for the sisters. The beat is still attention-getting when heard by today’s younger generations. They are incredible to hear; take advantage of listening to some of their songs on YouTube!

But, it is once again time to dive into the wonderfully melodious music of the Andrew Sisters and learn more about their lives… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3315 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Bob Hope:

    

“A sense of humor is good for you. Have you ever heard of a laughing hyena with heart burn?”
— Bob Hope

“I grew up with six brothers. That’s how I learned to dance – waiting for the bathroom.”
— Bob Hope

“I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.”
— Bob Hope

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbToday, most of us make the assumption that when we go into our Doctor’s Office with an injury, especially bone injuries such as those received during athletic events, that one of the first things that the doctor will order is an X-Ray. This technique of making an image of our internal organs and bones will help to let the doctor make a better interpretation of the nature, location, and extent of our injury. But, such has not always been so.

The X-Ray machine and technique was not available until after the early 1900s. Even then, the specific dynamics were only incompletely understood. Wilhelm Röntgen, a German physicist, discovered the use of these mysterious emissions of certain substances, the dosage levels, and how to control them. For this work, he received the first Nobel Prize for Physics in 1901.

Coolidge_xray_tube

These discoveries had a profound impact on the scientific community through the next century. It was the event that prompted Pierre and Marie Curie to begin their study of the radioactivity of Radium. It was the underlying research that stimulated scientists from Einstein and the great scientists that developed the atomic bomb during World War II. It was used to study the far reaches of the universe and provided the data that was used by Stephen Hawking in his development of his cosmology.

It has also impacted the practice of medicine and has prompted the development of diagnostic procedures and helps avoid invasive procedures in many cases. Our quality of life and the effective treatment of our various maladies has been greatly enhanced.

So let’s get started with our exploration of Röntgen, X-Rays and their associated technologies in more detail… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3609 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Wilhelm Röntgen & X-Ray:

    

“A new era in the physiological investigation of linguistic sounds was opened up by X-ray photography.”
— Roman Jakobson

“Mozart’s music is like an X-ray of your soul – it shows what is there, and what isn’t.”
— Isaac Stern

“The theatre is a spiritual and social X-ray of its time.”
— Stella Adler

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbAs children, not many of us haven’t spend many a rainy (or snowy) day in the kitchen or on the living room floor playing board games. And which of these games was the most captivating?

Monopoly, of course! Why did this game capture our interest and keep us busy over the hours that we were stuck inside due to the inclement weather outside or due to illness? Because each of us had the chance to become business tycoons. We had an allocation of money and we could buy and develop property along the way. The biggest obstacles were the fund raisers (Community Chest), taking a Chance on the draw of a card, or the threat of going to Jail or having to pay income tax. But the greatest threat was landing on a developed property owned by someone else.

Monopoly_Logo_123

And, of course, there were the cute little game pieces that represented us as we made our circuit around the board. It was interesting to find out that these pieces, originally made of metal, were made of wood during World War II as part of our support of the war effort. Also it was fascinating to find out that Charles Darrow, who was awarded a patent on the game board on this day in 1935, probably modeled Monopoly after “The Landlord Game” developed and patented by Elizabeth Magie in 1904. Was Monopoly a derived work? Who knows, but it became a big hit and was purchased from Darrow in 1935 by the Parker Brothers toy company. They helped secure the patent in 1935 and it has been one of their star performers over the years.

Now let’s dive into a closer look at the origins of the board game, Monopoly, and how it has changed over the years… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4181 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Monopoly:

    

“But no man has a monopoly of conscience.”
— Mary A. Ward

“I think it’s wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.”
— Steven Wright

“I don’t know what a monopoly is until somebody tells me.”
— Steve Ballmer

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbToday we take an interesting walk down memory lane, or memories of freeways gone by! It’s hard to believe that it was at the end of the Great Depression and Works Project Administration that the first freeway, or “controlled-access highway,” was built to connect downtown Los Angeles with Pasadena. We need to remember that this was a time when Los Angeles had a fantastic commuter system in operation, the Pacific Electric Railway (Red Car), that connected all parts of the Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Orange Counties together. But the it the era of the automobile was fast approaching.

BigRedCar

In 1939, the California Legislature passed a freeway law that enabled the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) to start building a limited-access parkway that followed the route of the Arroyo Seco canyon between LA and Pasadena. This became, when completed, the Arroyo Seco Parkway (Freeway) that would allow cars to travel up to 45 mph between the two endpoints! Regular surface traffic could be avoided by those going between the San Gabriel Valley and downtown. This connection was presently served by the Pacific Electric Railway. But as cars became more depended upon, especially in the post-war period, freeways would be the preferred way of getting around.

The whole transportation landscape in the LA basin was ripe for change. The family car was favored over the fixed-rail lines or the current undependable bus system. Furthermore, several of the large trucking companies in LA were in the process, during the late 1940s, of acquiring the bus systems and wanted to eliminate the highly efficient, but somewhat outdated, Pacific Electric routes. Thus, parkways like the Arroyo Seco we seen as the future of LA.

We now talk about where we live, shop, dine, or catch the latest sporting or entertainment event in terms of which they are closest to. We have become a freeway culture. It doesn’t seem to matter that cars give off emissions that pollute the air, tie us up in traffic jams, or lead to inefficient uses of resources by one-passenger vehicles; this is freedom!

But now it is time to proceed with our look at the history that revolves around California’s first freeway, the Arroyo Seco… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4280 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Freeway:

    

“Boston’s freeway system is insane. It was clearly designed by a person who had spent his childhood crashing toy trains.”
— Bill Bryson

“How many times have you been on the freeway and had someone fly by you at 100 mph then end up two cars ahead of you at the off ramp? What’s the point?”
— Mark Harmon

“I got a role in this movie called Freeway playing this really angry, aggressive, violent young woman who believed wholeheartedly in the truth. I had such satisfaction afterward, and I thought, That’s what I want to do.”
— Reese Witherspoon

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbIn this country, most of us only know about the events in Czechoslovakia only from travelogues that visit its capital city, Prague. Some of us remember the Soviet tanks entering the country when it got too “independent”, but we really don’t remember or have any recollection of that country in Eastern Europe, part of the Warsaw Pact nations. They were communist “puppet” states as far as most of us were concerned. The internal events only became relevant when they threatened the security of Western Europe. But that is what we had NATO for, wasn’t it?

Czechoslovakia-1969The Prague Spring, a confrontation between the Soviet troops and tanks, too place in the Spring of 1968, pitted the Czech dissonants seeking to preserve their reforms were overwhelmed by the Soviet forces. Many of the leaders were put into detention camps as punishment. When the communist system fell in 1989, the wave of freedom swept through Czechoslovakia along with other members of the Warsaw Pact. Democracy blossomed and Havel was elected as president in the first free election. Later, when the Czech Republic split from the Slovakia, Havel was elected as the first present of the new republic.

It was quite a journey for Havel from being a playwright to becoming the country’s leader. He paid a high price for this transition to freedom. He was imprisoned and suffered persecution by the ruling communist power structure. He emerged stronger and well-prepared to lead his new country into the new experience of democracy. Not only is today the date in which he became president, it is a fitting tribute since he passed from this life on December 18th.

So, let us now proceed to our exploration of the life and context in which Václav Havel led his free nation along the road to democracy… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4254 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Czech Republic:

    

“I explained to the prime minister [Asgrimsson] that for the Czech Republic it was no choice, but necessity…”
— Vaclav Klaus

“…it is such a delicate part of Czech history that it cannot be done without consensus on it in the Czech Republic.”
— Vaclav Klaus

“People come here [Cuba] from all over, and from as far away as Argentina, Poland, the Czech Republic and Japan.”
— Elian Gonzalez

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbI remember watching pro football games on TV as a teenager. I was involved with playing on my Junior High and High School football teams. The workouts, especially at the end of summer before school started; they were twice a day and totally exhausting in the heat of August in SoCal. Watching Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts was a real treat. Even better, I remember my dad taking me to football games at the Los Angeles Coliseum to see the LA Rams play the Colts. While I don’t remember this game specifically, the Colts were always an exciting team.

8319682-standard

This specific game was noteworthy by the intense battle on the field between two championship squads on the field of Yankee Stadium. As is often the case, the encounter turns on the result of an error by one or other team. This was the case here, with the score tied as regulation time expired. After a short break, they commenced an overtime sudden-death period — the first team to score was the winner. The battle continued until the Colts scored to win. To date, this was the only NFL Championship Game to ever go into sudden-death overtime!

But now, let’s get to our exploration of that notorious championship game played by the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts in 1958… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4340 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Championship:

    

“I did six years of planning to win the championship from Jack Dempsey.”
— Gene Tunney

“I still think we have a great shot at this championship.”
— Jeff Gordon

“Each championship is unique and special.”
— Trish Stratus

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbRevolutionaries have many things in common. Not only do they “see” things in new ways. Lincoln did it with his vision of a truly United States and Equality for all men and women. Darwin did it with his view of how the different species of fauna are related to each other. Furthermore, both of these men were born on the same day, February 12th. They both lived to apply their vision of the world to their respective environments — Lincoln to the political map and the laws that enabled equality of both states and individuals while Darwin did it by recording his observations on the voyage of the HMS Beagle that set sail this day.

HMSBeagle

Science in the mid-1800s was based on naturalistic observation and recording. This was enabled when Charles Darwin set sail on the HMS Beagle on a five year journey of discovery. He observed nature at every stop and fastidiously recorded these observations in his journal. During the voyage, he started to see patterns among his observations. Patterns like this suggested relationships between animal species and their environments not explained by the prevalent “Creation” explanation of the relationships among animal species promoted by the church.

Instead, it suggested the operation of a principle that he termed “Natural Selection.” This principle was supported by his observations, especially on the various Galápagos Islands, that indicated that animals had adapted to the particular needs of that particular microenvironment. Therefore, he concluded that those members of the species that adapted were able to survive, the “Survival of the Fittest.” Upon his return, he spent a good thirty years developing his Theory of Evolution before it was published in his famous The Origin of the Species.

So let’s get going on our exploration of this journey and Darwin’s development of his ideas in a hostile cultural environment of mid-19th century England…  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4137 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Charles Darwin:

    

“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
— Charles Darwin

“A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections – a mere heart of stone.”
— Charles Darwin

“I am turned into a sort of machine for observing facts and grinding out conclusions.”
— Charles Darwin

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbOn this day in 1799, on the floor of the United States Congress, Representative Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee III delivered a short Eulogy commemorating the recent death of the Beloved General and President, George Washington. Washington had died on December 14th after a short illness. He is remembered for his wartime exploits as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, the survivor of the terrible winter in Valley Forge, the abortive start-up of this new nation during the Articles of Confederation, and the creation of the United States Constitution. He became the young country’s first President, elected to two terms by unanimous votes of the Electors in each election.

The_Surrender_of_Lord_Cornwallis_at_Yorktown_October_19_1781

But he was responsible, above all, for the creation and formation of this new, novel form of government — a republican democracy. He gave himself unselfishly of himself to each of these assignments, but, above all, he molded the new government by avoiding the pitfalls placed in front of him. He resisted the attempt to make him “King”, as evidenced by his Newburg Address. He forged a government THAT WORKED in the two-party environment not foreseen by the Constitution. And he created a model for the Executive Branch of this new government with his Cabinet of Secretaries, a National Bank, and a powerful centralized government that merged thirteen independent states into one strong national union that preserved certain rights for the states while providing a strong central government with the power to levy taxes and maintain a standing, federal militia. The was a second revolution forged by this leader — George Washington.

After serving two terms as President, he set the precedent of retiring from this position. This would establish the pattern that was followed until the 1930s and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Upon retirement, he gave one of his most stirring speeches, his Farewell Address. He thus retired to his beloved home, Mount Vernon, to become the gentleman-farmer that had been his goal all of his life. However, within two years after his retirement, he awoke sick one morning and passed from this earth.

That was on the 14th; on this day, the 26th of December, his friend, Henry Lee, arose to deliver his short tribute to his long-time friend. And we will never forget those words: “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of his Countrymen…” They reflect the sincere feelings of a grateful nation to a man who had helped shape that same nation.

But it is now time for us to proceed with our exploration of the Eulogy of George Washington, Soldier, Statesman, President, and, all above all else, Gentleman… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4552 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Eulogy:

    

“I have no other view than to promote the public good, and am unambitious of honors not founded in the approbation of my Country.”
— George Washington

“I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”
— George Washington

“I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent.”
— George Washington

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbWhen the talk turns to journalism, there have been a number of names that come to one’s mind. Among those are William Randolph Hearst, Horace Greeley, and Joseph Pulitzer. These publishers were the heads of influential publishing empires during the early years of the 20th century. Who can forget Greeley’s call for young men to “go west, young man, go west”. And Hearst was the publishing villain who was pilloried by Orson Wells in his movie, “Citizen Kane”. (Those of us living in California also know him through his famous Hearst Castle along the Pacific Coast; this edifice is the epitome of self-indulgence!) And then there is Pulitzer, who will ever be remembered for the prize that bears his name — the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism.

Puck112188c

Pulitzer was born in Hungary to a poor, working class Jewish family. He emigrated to the United States when he was rejected by most military units of the late 19th century. He held menial jobs in New York and Boston, but eventually moved west to St. Louis, Missouri. There he started his career in journalism and eventually purchased a share of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. He turned that paper into one of the biggest in the lower mid-west.

Eventually, he acquired sufficient financial resources to purchase the New York World. He used this paper as a way to introduce a new type of journalism, Yellow Journalism, the the world. This was a way to introduce sensationalism into the newspaper and facilitate subscriptions. He also introduced advertising to the newspaper world.

But enough of this background. Let’s get on with our exploration of Joseph Pulitzer and his legacy… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3792 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Joseph Pulitzer:

    

“A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will in time produce a people as base as itself.”
— Joseph Pulitzer

“Our Republic and its press will rise or fall together.”
— Joseph Pulitzer

“The power to mold the future of the Republic will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations.”
— Joseph Pulitzer

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbTrading Blocs or Free Trade? That has been an ongoing question among nations for many years. It has also spawned many international conflicts. What is the difference between these two forms of trading relationships, you ask. Basically, Trading Blocs establish a priority relationship among certain parties to the bloc at the exclusion or high prices to outsiders. Free Trade, on the other hand, emphasizes the equality of all trading partners. There are no preferential relationships. This boils down to a matter of tariff restrictions to exclude the non-preferred partners from the group.

Freetradeclipper

There generally is not a hard and fast relationship. Trading partners vary over time and are most often modified by armed warfare. There are essentially some countries in each trading group that control precious and/or scarce resources  that are desired by members that don’t hold those resources. This became the basis of conflicts such as the War of 1812 and most of the European wars of the past several centuries.

This particular agreement that we are examining today is between the three major trading partners in North America — the United States, Canada, and Mexico. These three countries have been at odds with each other over the years. Conflicts have arisen, especially between the U.S. and Mexico. This trading pact is NOT between equals, but Mexico has been traditionally the poor relative of the other two nations. Much conflict over this agreement continues to pop up. It will probably take many years for this relationship to gel; the events along the U.S–Mexico border threatens the economic stability promised by the agreement.

But now let’s get on with our exploration of NAFTA and its effects upon the three trading partners… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4157 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to NAFTA:

    

“It certainly was difficult to sell NAFTA because it’s always difficult to sell open markets.”
— Lawrence Summers

“Since NAFTA was put in place, Mexico has lost 1.9 million jobs and most Mexicans’ real wages have fallen.”
— Stephen F. Lynch

“NAFTA and GATT have about as much to do with free trade as the Patriot Act has to do with liberty.”
— Michael Badnarik

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