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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, 2011
Edited by Gerald Boerner




JerryPhotoIn the 19th century, we saw remarkable advances in transportation in this country with the opening of the Erie Canal , the transcontinental stagecoach, and the Oregon Trail. In the 20th century, we saw the development of the automobile and airplane; both of these developments required petroleum to be refined into lubricating oil and gasoline. By the mid 1900s, the easy sources of these petroleum reserves have been tapped. The U.S. became dependent on imported oil and the discovery of new sources became more difficult.

Within this context the discovery of the north-slope petroleum reserve in Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. The problem was getting that crude oil to Valdez for shipment to the lower 48 states. This challenge was solved by the building of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. This became a modern engineering feat which U.S. industry solved to deliver the needed oil to American consumers and industry.


“The Alaska corporation commonly known as Alyeska Pipeline Company was founded in 1970 to design, construct, operate and maintain a pipeline to transport oil from the fields on the North Slope of Alaska where oil was discovered in 1968 to an ice-free deep-water port in Valdez, AK. The pipeline was built between March 1975 and June 1977, running from the North Slope fields at Prudhoe Bay to the Marine Terminal at Valdez on Prince William Sound. Alyeska then went on to operate and maintain TAPS. The first oil flowed into the pipeline on June 20, 1977 and the first tanker load departed from Valdez on August 1, 1977.”  (Wikipedia)

So let’s get on with our exploration of this engineering success story…  GLB

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

[ 4042 Words ]


Quotations Related to PIPELINE:


“I’d like to work with the missus, but there’s nothing in the pipeline at the moment.”
— Guy Ritchie

“Well I’ve got lots more great TV projects in the pipeline.”
— Lisa Snowdon

“One of the attractive things about being in Scotland is that we have a very good pipeline of new people coming into the company from the excellent universities around us.”
— David Milne

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Edited by Gerald Boerner



JerryPhotoOn 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_200We 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

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

[ 992 Words ]


Quotations Related to MEMORIAL DAY:


“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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Edited by Gerald Boerner




The National Mall is the site of our nation’s tribute to our leaders and warriors from our biggest wars. Today we are celebrating the building and dedication of the Lincoln Memorial. It reminds us of his greatness through his Statue and words from some of his greatest addresses. Included is the Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address. Located nearby are the World War II Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial , and Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This is a very consecrated site!

On this Memorial Day, let us take a minute to say a special prayer to thos dedicated soldiers from all of our past and present wars. We live in a free country because of the sacrifices made by the men celebrated by these memorials. Let us, above all, remember that ultimate sacrifice made by the great emancipator, Abraham Lincoln.


“The National Mall is an open-area national park in downtown Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The National Mall is a unit of the National Park Service (NPS), and is administered by the National Mall and Memorial Parks unit. The term "National Mall" commonly includes areas that are officially part of West Potomac Park and Constitution Gardens to the west, and often is taken to refer to the entire area between the Lincoln Memorial and the United States Capitol, with the Washington Monument providing a division slightly west of the center. The National Mall receives approximately 24 million visitors each year.”  (Wikipedia)

Now, let’s plunge into our exploration of the building and dedication of the Lincoln Memorial…  GLB

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

[ 4109 Words ]


Quotations Related to MEMORIAL:


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

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

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

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Edited by Gerald Boerner



JerryPhotoToday we look at the first African American coach on a Major League Baseball team: Buck O’Neil on the Chicago Cubs. We are quite comfortable seeing Black, Hispanic, and Asian players on most teams. Many of the most successful Black players have also earned positions of coaches, and in some cases managers. Buck O’Neil was different. He became a major league coach without paying his dues as a major league player. But he had a distinguished career with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League.

We have all heard the success story of Jackie Robinson breaking the Color Barrier. We have seen (or heard) broadcasts of the famous African American stars like MVP Roy Campanella, Cy Young Award winner Don Newcombe, Jim Gilliam, and Joe Black. These players along side Jackie brought six National League Pennants to the Brooklyn Dodgers through the late-940s to the mid-1950s. These were the teams I followed as a youth; I was thrilled when they moved to LA and I was able to see them play in the LA Coliseum and Dodger Stadium.


This event was the continuation of the integration of professional sports in the United States, with professional football having led the way in 1946, with the concomitant demise of the Negro Leagues, and is regarded as a key moment in the history of the American civil rights movement. Robinson was an exceptional player, a speedy runner who sparked the team with his intensity. He was the inaugural recipient of the Rookie of the Year award, which is now named the Jackie Robinson award in his honor. The Dodgers’ willingness to integrate, when most other teams refused to, was a key factor in their 1947–1956 success. They won six pennants in those 10 years with the help of Robinson, three-time MVP Roy Campanella, Cy Young Award winner Don Newcombe, Jim Gilliam, and Joe Black. Robinson would eventually go on to become the first African-American elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.”  (Wikipedia)

Now it’s time to move ahead with our exploration of this man who helped establish the equality of Black players in Major League Baseball…  GLB

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

[ 3999 Words ]


Quotations Related to BASEBALL:


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

“I see great things in baseball. It’s our game – the American game.”
— Walt Whitman

“Baseball was, is and always will be to me the best game in the world.”
— Babe Ruth

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Edited by Gerald Boerner



JerryPhotoThe Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery reminds us of the many dead that are never identified from any war. This was especially prevalent for World Wars I and II as well as for the Korean Conflict. Advances in DNA testing methods advanced sufficiently by the Vietnam War that almost all soldiers were able to be identified that an “Unknown” was difficult to find; in fact, the soldier interred as the unknown was eventually identified.

None the less, the memorial allows us to give homage to those who fell in battle, identified or not. The ceremonial guard, the ritual of the changing of the guard, and the unit assigned to this duty all contribute to the special respect given to this memorial. Let it always be so.

 President George W. Bush visits  Arlington National Cemetery and lays a wreath at the Tonb of the Unknown Soldier on Memorial Day.
Monday,  May 26, 2003. White House Photo by Tina Hager.

“The white marble sarcophagus has a flat-faced form and is relieved at the corners and along the sides by neo-classical pilasters set into the surface. The stone was quarried in Marble, Colorado from the Yule Marble Quarry. The tomb was then fabricated by craftsmen in Proctor, Vermont before it was shipped by train to Washington, DC. The finish carving was executed by Thomas Hudson Jones in Virginia.”  (Wikipedia)

Onward now to the exploration of this monument and its history…  GLB

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

[ 3553 Words ]


Quotations Related to HERO:


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

“A hero has faced it all: he need not be undefeated, but he must be undaunted.”
— Andrew Bernstein

“A hero is a man who does what he can.”
— Romain Rolland

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Edited by Gerald Boerner



JerryPhotoThe golden voice of Frank Sinatra appeared on the bandstands with many of the best known big bands during the late 1930s. His good looks and sex appeal made him the dream of the teen “Bobby Soxer” teenaged girls listening in on the radio broadcasts. After the war, he appeared in movies, but the fading popularity of the Big Bands led to a decrease in his popularity.

His career was revitalized with his appearance on the new media, television. His first exposure was on Bob Hope’s show and he soon was scheduled for his own show. He also earned roles in several movies, starting with From Here to Eternity for which he received an Oscar. He rode the crest of this popularity for two decades followed by another “retirement”. During this time, he united with the “Rat Pack”.


Stephen Holden wrote for the 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide:

  • Frank Sinatra’s voice is pop music history. […] Like Presley and Dylan — the only other white male American singers since 1940 whose popularity, influence, and mythic force have been comparable — Sinatra will last indefinitely. He virtually invented modern pop song phrasing.

Let’s get into our overview of his fabled career for this boy from Hoboken, New Jersey…  GLB

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

[ 4079 Words ]


Quotations Related to FRANK SINATRA:


“Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.”
— Frank Sinatra

“Dare to wear the foolish clown face.”
— Frank Sinatra

“Hell hath no fury like a hustler with a literary agent.”
— Frank Sinatra

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Edited by Gerald Boerner



JerryPhotoWhile Jules Verne & H.G. Wells are acknowledged as the founders of Science Fiction and Edgar Allan Poe is the acknowledged as the founder of the Mystery Novel, Bram Stocker is the founder of the Gothic Novel. These authors developed new genres of literature. Stocker also focused on a new type of creature, the vampire. In recent years this has become the topic of interest among young people in print, television, and movie screen.

Vampire lore has not only been the focus of the pop novel, but has also led to the examination of historical characters like Vlad, the Impailer. Recent books like The Librarian have integrated vampire lore into historical fiction works to appeal to a broader audience.


“The Dracula legend as he created it and as it has been portrayed in films and television shows may be a compound of various influences. Many of Stoker’s biographers and literary critics have found strong similarities to the earlier Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu’s classic of the vampire genre, Carmilla. In writing Dracula, Stoker may also have drawn on stories about the sídhe, some of which feature blood-drinking women. The folkloric figure of Abhartach has also been suggested as a source.”  (Wikipedia)

But, let’s get to today’s exploration of Bram Stocker’s Dracula…  GLB

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

[ 3064 Words ]


Quotations Related to DRACULA:


“As a child, I was more afraid of tetanus shots than, for example, Dracula.”
— Dave Barry

“To win a woman, take her with you to see Dracula.”
— Bela Lugosi

“There was a gap of seven years between the first and second Dracula movies.”
— Christopher Lee

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Edited by Gerald Boerner



JerryPhotoWhen our audacious young President, John F. Kennedy, took office in 1961, he indicated that he was going to point this country in a new direction. a few months later, he identified one of these new directions: landing men on the moon and return them to earth safely, before the end of the decade of the 1960s. This was a major challenge since we had only recently put an unmanned satellite into earth orbit. But we went about mobilizing our engineering, scientific, and manufacturing resources for the task.

These resources were brought together and achieved the goal. Two Apollo 11 astronauts successfully landed on the moon in 1969. They rejoined the third astronaut and returned to earth safely. Ironically, many of the details of this voyage of discovery bears many of the specs written by Jules Verne in his novel From the Earth to the Moon which was published in 1865!


The real-life Apollo program bears similarities to the story in several ways:

  • Verne’s cannon was called Columbiad; the Apollo 11 command module (Apollo CSM) was named Columbia.[5]
  • The spacecraft crew consisted of three persons in the book and each Apollo mission.
  • The physical dimensions of the projectile are very close to the dimensions of the Apollo CSM.
  • Verne’s voyage blasted off from Florida, as did all Apollo missions. (Verne correctly states in the book that objects launch into space most easily if they are launched towards the zenith of a particular location, and that the zenith would better line up with the moon’s orbit from near the Earth’s equator. In the book Florida and Texas compete for the launch, with Florida winning.)
  • The cost of the program in the book ($12.1 billion US in 1969 dollars) is almost similar to the total cost of the Apollo program until Apollo 8 $14.4 billion US dollars)
  • Both the spacecraft in the book and all Apollo craft were recovered by U.S. Navy ships.
  • Verne peculiarly describes the projectile of the Columbiad as made of aluminium, instead of steel that would have been usual for the time. Columbia was built mainly of aluminum alloys.

But, let’s get on with our exploration of the Apollo program…  GLB

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

[ 4059 Words ]


Quotations Related to APOLLO:


“He who commands an Apollo flight will not command a second one.”
— Wally Schirra

“At this point in my career, Apollo 13 is a million light years away.”
— Kathleen Quinlan

“Some of the wives didn’t keep up with the program. It started breaking apart during the Apollo days.”
— Wally Schirra

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Edited by Gerald Boerner



JerryPhotoTechnology and engineering work together to construct amazing transportation and building projects. One of the early examples of this partnership resulted in the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn across the East River. Prior to the bridge, pedestrians, bicyclists,  and vehicle (horse-drawn and motorized) traffic.

The Brooklyn Bridge also highlights the trials and triumphs of a German immegrant family. The Roeblings were not only engineers, but they brought to America the techniques of making wire ropes that permitted the construction of suspension bridges. The Brooklyn Bridge sat as the crowning achievement for this family that gave their lives to the task. And it should be noted that the project was overseen for the final eleven years by a woman!


The Brooklyn Bridge was initially designed by German immigrant John Augustus Roebling, who had previously designed and constructed shorter suspension bridges. The Brooklyn Bridge was completed thirteen years later and was opened for use on May 24, 1883.  (Wikipedia)

So we will get our exploration started on the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, that symbol of the borough that could not be moved…  GLB

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

[ 3976 Words ]


Quotations Related to BROOKLYN:


“I’m just a simple kid from Brooklyn who landed into the most enchanted lifestyle imaginable.”
— Michael Musto

“I’m a Brooklyn boy. I was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised there, and spent most of my childhood there.”
— Robert Jay Lifton

“I have made all my films for my children with the exception of my first film because my oldest daughter wasn’t born when I was making the film about the Brooklyn Bridge.”
— Ken Burns

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Edited by Gerald Boerner



JerryPhotoWe love to hear stories of the heroic acts of soldiers on the field of battle. We believe in the recognition of such acts so much that our Congress created the Medal of Honor. Sgt. William Harvey Carney was the first African American soldier to earn this honor during the Civil War; he actually the twenty-first to receive it (posthumously). He bravely retrieved the Union Banner from the Confederates during the Second Battle of Fort Wagner in 1863.

This award is significant due to the general reluctance of the North to allow African Americans to serve as soldiers. The 54th Massachusetts unit became the home for those who did serve and the record of this unit is noteworthy.


“The Medal of Honor is one of two military neck order awards issued by the United States and is the sole neck order awarded to members of the armed forces. As the award citation includes the phrase "in the name of Congress", it is sometimes erroneously called the Congressional Medal of Honor…”  (Wikipedia)

It’s time to get on with today’s exploration of the heroics of the African American soldiers in th 54th Massachusetts Regiment during the Battle for Fort Wagner…  GLB

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

[ 1974 Words ]


Quotations Related to HEROES:


“The heroes of the present will retreat to the imitation they are anyhow.”
— Charles Olson

“The law has no power over heroes.”
— Charlotte Lennox

“The real heroes were my good buddies who died during the battles.”
— Ira Hayes

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