Jul 15

The tank banks

I saw this piggy bank at Stonehenge. At the time I had no idea about the history behind it, which is, like most history, rather interesting.

It comes from a World War 1 British fund raising campaign. Six tanks toured the countryside promoting war bonds. You have to remember this is in the fall of 1917 and tanks were still the high end of war marvels. The public was fascinated to see in person what they were just starting to read about.

The tank rolled in with soldiers and artillery alongside. Airplanes dropped pamphlets, speeches were made. The tank was put through its paces before spending several days in the town with a table inside where people were giving money. They raised millions of pounds, nationally. Soon a competition emerged to see which place could raise the most money and “win” a tank. West Hartlepool would win and Egbert — they do know how to name things, don’t they? — stayed in the town until it was scrapped in 1937.

After the war was over, the government gave 264 tanks to towns and cities in 1919. Most just rusted out over time and sold for scrap. All but one was gone before the end of World War II. The town of Ashford still has their tank, the only one left. It is now a registered war memorial, though without its engine or gearbox and with replica armaments. You can see the tank here:

That tank, one of 1,200 Mark IVs the British built for that particular war, is thought to have never seen combat. Only eight remain. The Mark IV carried a crew of eight and traveled at seven miles per hour.

Feb 15

There are at least four (really bad) puns here

One more week and this becomes a thing, but today I saw this cruise down the highway.


If you think of it, most everything gets shipped somewhere, one way or another. But you never really think about that, at least until you see a truck hauling logs going one way as it passes a truck hauling logs going the other way. Then it seems silly. “They’ve got logs over here, too!”

Maybe it should have sunk in and stuck in our traveling minds the first time we saw a big truck hauling other trucks, or when you saw a freighter moving most any thing that can move on its own. Everything gets shipped, even the live fish. And you hope to never think about it, or become aware of it which, in this case, would usually mean bad news puns because of an accident. “Ofishials: Traffic flounders after accidents, bystanders threaten to sushi.”

Just Coelorinchus horribilis.

(Yes, I had to look that up.)

You want to see that crudely drawn logo, you say? No problem:


I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the fish has a fishing pole. Like a fish can whistle.

Things to read … because I can’t whistle, either.

Boston’s Winter From Hell:

Sure, it’s not the same as an earthquake: The snow will melt, eventually. But that will bring more woes. The flooding will hurt the T, ruin roofs and basements and clog roads still more.

Where are the federal disaster funds, the presidential visit, Anderson Cooper interviewing victims, volunteers flying in, goods and services donated after hurricanes and tornadoes? The pictures may be pretty. But we need help, now.

This is more snow, seven feet in three weeks it says, than I’ve seen in my entire life, probably. And there are certainly big problems — many of them are detailed in that column. But, really?

(We’re absolutely getting two to four inches of snow later this week. I’m going to laugh at us.)

Easily the best story I read yesterday, Chasing Bayla:

Moore had engineered something that could be a breakthrough for rescuers, a way to sedate whales at sea. The man standing to his left on the Zodiac platform held the instrument Moore had conceived for the task: a pressurized rifle tipped with a dart and syringe filled with 60 cc’s of a sedative so powerful that a few drops on human skin could kill.

Bayla was probably seven tons, but you can’t weigh a free-swimming whale. If the estimate were wrong, an overdose could plunge Bayla into a catastrophic slumber and she would drown.

Moore scanned the horizon. Fishing charters and Disney Cruise Liners jockeyed for space at the shore. Ahead, the vast reach of the Atlantic met at every point with the prickling Florida sun.

He knew that the work of a lifetime shouldn’t come down to a single moment. He was the father of four grown boys. He loved his wife. His home was an island in Marion Harbor. He had published scores of peer-reviewed papers and commanded millions in grant money.

Yet the vow he had made to himself as a young man, the thing he had dedicated his career and heart to, remained unfulfilled. For Moore, nearing retirement and running out of ideas, there might be no more chances.

Blow spouted off the port bow.

That’s a slightly longer read, and it has stunning visuals. Well worth your time.

CNN … just … Does Kim Jong Un’s new look reflect a new attitude?

Journalism links:

Why Journalism Students Need a Baseline Understanding of Coding
Local newspapers are hoping online radio can be a growth area
Your ultimate guide to Snapchat
Snapchat boss sees music as a ‘really interesting opportunity’

And. finally, we return to the old Crimson archives that are still in my office. I’m trying to work through them all and file them away elsewhere. Occasionally I find some interesting things. Here’s one now. This was written in 1979 by a person who now works at a non-profit in Texas and a Kentucky physician.


Did you know there was a rear gate? It was right here:

Feb 15

Don’t trust the map

Here is a map my phone recorded:


That’s off of a fitness app. A company has a run app and a walk app and a walk-your-dog app (no kidding) and a cycling app. Naturally, that’s the one I got first. Why they don’t simply integrate these into one utility escapes me, but we do know that dog lobby is a powerful one. Anyway, I share that map with you because, on Monday, I tried out one of the gyms on campus I’d never been in before. It was built in the 1960s and has a track running around the outer ring.

Something about the building, though, interferes with the signal getting to the phone and the app. That’s two laps around a circular track floating above a standard gymnasium. The website tells you the distance, but the app was very much in disagreement. So I just turned it off and thought about downloading the walk-your-dog app.

Which probably would have been better than the run, or the way I’ve felt for the past two days. I still have grapefruits in my calves from the exertion, an easy five-mile run. (I knew the lap count and my general time.) Apparently I didn’t stretch enough and I’m reminded of this every time I walk down stairs right now.

Also, we have interesting little maintenance vehicles on campus. They are probably nicer than the older golf carts with plastic screens. And they have racing stripes:


I just thought you’d like to know that.

Jan 15

70th anniv – My great-grandfather’s war

Tonice’s war was over. He was wounded on Jan. 9. His unit, the 137th, where he was a combat medic, had come off the line just outside of Bastogne on the 11th. The fighting continued for others, but the Germans were done.

So, to some up, after Villers-la-Bonne-Eau:

As a medic, Tonice was awarded the purple heart, Europe-Africa-Middle East Medal with bronze star device, the good conduct medal, the American campaign medal and the WWII victory medal.

The 137th came into Normandy a few weeks after D-Day, fought their way through the old Maginot Line, faced down the 1st SS Panzer Division at Villers. They’d fight in Holland and then patrol Yalta opposite the Russians. They would form the honor guard for President Harry Truman as he stopped over in Brussels on his trip to Potsdam.

They returned to the U.S.on Aug. 31, 1945. The fabled 137th “Sante Fe” was deactivated on Dec. 7, 1945 having earned a reputation for stolidity and tenacity.

Just like Tonice.

Please scroll around and click on the pins to catch up or read ahead.

This information is derived from the unit history, found here and here and from this unit overview. These markers are rough estimates, meant only to be illustrative. Any errors are mine alone.

Jan 15

70th anniv – My great-grandfather’s war

The last day of our tracking the 137th Infantry Regiment’s movements through Europe 70 years ago during the coldest winter anyone could recall. The Battle of the Bulge had just begun to wind down. My great-grandfather Tonice, a combat medic in the 137th had been wounded on the 9th. Since we don’t know when he was evacuated, I looked through two more days, just to see what would happen next. The 137th finally came off the line today, they’d finally get some rest.

So, then, for Jan. 11:

On one of its coldest days the 137th attacked again, suffering heavy casualties, the majority being from the 2nd Battalion in taking the town of Lutremange (on the outskirts of Bastogne).

Replaced by units on both sides, the 137th went into reserve duty for a week before returning to Metz.

Feel free to click around in the other thumbnails to read about other days.

This information is derived from the unit history, found here and here and from this unit overview. He never talked about the war and his quiet choice means that these markers are rough estimates, meant only to be illustrative. Any errors are mine alone.