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Prof. Boerner's Explorations

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


Archive for May, 2010
by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 On this day we celebrate the many men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. This memorial Day is set aside to honor them. We should never forget the price they paid to keep our country free, to give us liberty and freedom, and to provide the “living space” in which we live and thrive.

But I would like to also think about those brave men and women who are currently “on station” in those areas of the world where terrorists are still threatening our country. We cannot put the image of that day in September in 2001 when we suffered an unprovoked attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. We suffered that day, but those in Iraq and Afghanistan are under daily threat to their lives.

earlydays10_200 We need to keep the sacrifices of those innocent civilians who died that day be remembered on this Memorial Day. May the freedom and liberty that we enjoy continue to see our flag wave over this great land.   GLB


“And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.”

— Lee Greenwood

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by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Today we celebrate Memorial Day, that tribute to our soldiers who lost their lives in the service of our country. They may have fought their battles on our own soil or that of a foreign country. Fortunately, we have been able to identify the bodies of the fallen so that they may be interred in dignity.

However, in every war, conflict, and battle, some of the dead cannot be individually identified. They are laid to rest without a name. It is for this purpose that a monument stands proud at the Arlington National Cemetery — The Tomb of the Unknowns.

This tomb stands in a place of honor and is “watched” by a cadre of guards that stand guard over this special memorial. On this special day, a wreath is laid before the monument in honor of all those brave men and women who served and died in the armed forces of this county, but who have not been identified. Instead of being interred in mass graves, they receive their own graves, but are memorialized by this monument.

memorialday55 Let us give special thanks this day to these men and women, identified or anonymous. To them, we dedicate this day.  GLB


“A boy doesn’t have to go to war to be a hero; he can say he doesn’t like pie when he sees there isn’t enough to go around.”
— Edgar Watson Howe

“A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.”
— Gilbert K. Chesterton

“A hero cannot be a hero unless in a heroic world.”
— Nathaniel Hawthorne

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by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 While tomorrow is the day on which Memorial Day is observed in this country, today is the traditional Memorial Day. Flowers and/or crosses are placed upon the graves of those who died in the defense of our country and now lie in peace in our many National Cemeteries, including the Riverside National Cemetery near my home.

As you watch the TV and see it flooded with movies about our various wars, History Channel and PBS tributes to our brave men and women who were sacrificed on the many battlefields, take a moment to say a silent prayer. Let us also remember that they left mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers behind. These family members also need our prayers; they continue to feel their sense of loss.

Even though Memorial Day is for the remembrance of our dead soldiers, let us not forget those troops who are currently in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan. There they stand in our stead to protect the liberty and freedom that we too often take for granted.  GLB


“Memorial Day this year is especially important as we are reminded almost daily of the great sacrifices that the men and women of the Armed Services make to defend our way of life.”
— Robin Hayes

“It’s always the generals with the bloodiest records who are the first to shout what a hell it is. And it’s always the war widows who lead the Memorial Day parades.”
— Paddy Chayefsky

“In 2003, Congress authorized the construction of a visitor center for the Vietnam Memorial to help provide information and educate the public about the memorial and the Vietnam War.”
— Dennis Cardoza

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by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Today we recognize not only those brave men and women who defended democracy during the second World War, but we also celebrate the dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. We need to remember the statement of Harry S. Truman:

“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never orget their sacrifices”.

It was on this day in 2004 that president George W. Bush dedicated the memorial to the memory of those who served in all services and all theaters of action.

Let us remember their sacrifices as we gather together on Memorial Day for our get-togethers with family and friends. As we bar-b-que in our back yards, as we swim in our swimming pools, as we lounge in peace and contentment, let us remember that our present lives are only possible because these men and women stood against Hitler and his allies.

It is with a solemn gratitude that we reflect upon those brave souls.  GLB


“And there’s the Victoria Memorial, built as a memorial to Victoria.”
— David Dimbleby

“For famous men have the whole earth as their memorial.”
— Pericles

“Every memorial in its time has a different goal.”
— Maya Lin

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Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 This is a short note to let you know that I will be resuming a full schedule of posting again next week. I have been finishing up my photography classes for this semester. My projects have been demanding extra effort to complete my projects.

I appreciate your patience during these last two weeks of limited postings.

We will be looking at Memorial Day issues over the next three days, so be sure to join us for that exploration.  GLB



by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 As a young boy, I closely associated my baseball playing with the Brooklyn Dodgers. I was thrilled each year when they won the National League pennant and was sad when the hated Yankees once again beat my Dodgers in the World Series. I reveled when I heard that the Dodgers were moving to Los Angeles. I even went to see them play on many occasions when they played in the Memorial Coliseum, a football stadium.

When Dodger Stadium was built in Chavez Ravine, I went to cheer them on and see the greats of the 1960s play, especially the pitchers. When I couldn’t attend in person, I would listen to KFI radio and Vin Scully call out the play-by-play; it made me feel that I was almost there.

Over the years, they were my favorite baseball team. I can only imagine what the fans in Brooklyn felt when they lost their beloved “bums” to Los Angeles. It was probably much like I felt when the Rams left Los Angeles for that mid-western city on the Mississippi, St. Louis. Teams may come and go, but our love of our team is forever…  GLB


“In baseball, you don’t know nothing.”
— Yogi Berra

“Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.”
— Yogi Berra

“Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things.”
— Robert Frost

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by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Recently we looked at the building of skyscrapers, those monuments to man’s ingenuity and technical expertise. Today, we celebrate the opening of another of these mega-monuments to man’s building capabilities — the Golden Gate Bridge.

I remember the thrill I get every time I cross that strait between the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It is awesome! I look down in amazement at the water far below and get a queasy feeling in my stomach. I am constantly amazed at the feat that those brave workmen accomplished. I have seen a number of documentaries on cable TV that showed the skills required to complete this bridge.

There is no doubt that it is a transportation asset to those living in Marin Country who work in the city (San Francisco) on a daily basis. Prior to the bridge, these same people needed to take the ferry across. Today, we take the ferry from San Francisco to Sausalito as a tourist adventure, not as a daily commute. Isn’t it interesting how a given mode of transportation changes from a routine activity to a tourist oddity.

Anyway, the Golden Gate Bridge represents a monument to its builders and an asset to the people. In this day of planned obsolescence, it is reassuring to see some structures span the years as well as the straits.  GLB


“Bridges become frames for looking at the world around us.”
— Bruce Jackson

“Education is all a matter of building bridges.”
— Ralph Ellison

“Bridges are perhaps the most invisible form of public architecture.”
— Bruce Jackson

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by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Today we look at one of the dark acts of our country, a country that fought against the British for independence and freedom. This was the Indian Removal Act that forced the more advanced Indian tribes of the Southeastern United States to give up their ancestral homelands and migrate to the western banks of the Mississippi River.

This was nothing short of genocide. It was intended to acquire their lands for the natural resources found on it, including gold. They were not permitted to take much of their possessions and had to settle in inhospitable lands in the middle of winter. This resulted in the death of large numbers of their members.

It was the start of a long campaign that was waged against most of the Indian tribes found in the new, western territories that were added to this nation throughout the 19th century. It was a point of national shame.  GLB


“As to the Indians, the guiding principle was, promise them anything just so long as they get out of the way.”
— Stephen Ambrose

“At least the Pilgrim Fathers used to shoot Indians: the Pilgrim Children merely punch time clocks.”
— e.e. cummings

“But we must not try to drive the Indians too fast in effecting these changes.”
— George Crook

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by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 St. Louis, a city associated with the Mississippi River, music (Blues, Ragtime and Jazz), the St. Louis Cardinals (baseball), the St. Louis Rams (football) and the stepping off point into the West. When President Jefferson completed the Louisiana Purchase, he sent Lewis and Clark to explore the vast expanse of the new territory along the Missouri River and onward to the Pacific Ocean. This city symbolized the gateway to the vast riches and adventure of the expanded United States.

When the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial was constructed in 1965, it included a symbol of St. Louis’ place in that national expansion with the building of the Gateway Arch. This monumental structure included a special tram that carries visitors to the observation platform at the top that allows visitors to view up and down the Mississippi River.

It continues to symbolize St. Louis’ role as the gateway to the West. Today, we examine this structure as a symbol and architectural achievement.  GLB


“Being the gateway to a large city, St. Louis, I had felt from the very beginning that somehow this building should symbolize this sense of being a gateway.”
— Minoru Yamasaki

“Humility is the gateway into the grace and the favor of God.”
— Harold Warner

“Sex is the gateway to life.”
— Frank Harris

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by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 From World War II, we have heard many stories of the “silent war” that went on “below the radar,” so to speak. We have heard of the great job that was accomplished by the English codebreaking school at Bletchley Park that broke the secrets of the Enigma Machine. We have heard of the U.S. codebreaking operation in Hawaii that broke Japanese codes used in the Pacific theater of war. But the real secret that helped us win the war in the Pacific through the use of the oral languages of the American Indians.

The Navajo language is not a written language and therefore was relatively immune from outside groups to understand it by studying the documents of the culture; there were none! A group of Navajo men were recruited and designed a coding schema that would allow the U.S. forces to pass information between on-shore forces to their leaders stationed on ships and other bases.

Using this code permitted information about Japanese troop strength and movements freely in real time over voice radios. Our soldiers could then be moved and positioned to most effectively counter the Japanese strategies.

We owe a great Thank You to this brave group of Native Americans for their contribution to our country. It should also cause every American to think twice about the harsh and unfair treatment which our country used to try to subdue and destroy the culture of this great group of First Peoples.  GLB


“It is strange how little harm bad codes do.”
— Frederick Pollock

“All men are rapists and that’s all they are. They rape us with their eyes, their laws, and their codes.”
— Marilyn French

“I cannot help thinking that the menace of Hell makes as many devils as the severe penal codes of inhuman humanity make villains.”
— Lord Byron