Time Twisting Tales – WIF Perspective

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Historical Facts

That Will Alter

Your Perception

of Time

The United States remains a young country in relation to the rest of the world, its oldest shrines and historical places but recent stepping stones in the march of time. St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest continuously occupied city on the North American continent, was founded by the Spanish in 1565. That same year a Swiss physician documented an improvement over the writing sticks used since the times of the Roman Empire. Rather than using a lead stick to leave marks on papyrus, Conrad Gesner described the use of graphite encased in wood, making the humble pencil at least as old, and most likely older, than the European settlement of what became the United States. Such overlaps of history abound and many are eye-opening, to say the least.

Most people today would assume that the Japanese company Nintendo is a relatively new business entity, one of the many which were born of the video-gaming age which developed at the end of the twentieth century. In truth, Nintendo was created in Japan in 1889 as a playing card company, the year after the murders attributed to the London serial killer known as Jack the RipperNintendo is thus older than the Panama Canal, through which so many of its consoles and games are shipped to the United States and Europe. The company was born the same year as the Wall Street Journal, which today reports on its business operations, and is older by months than the statehood of both Dakotas, Montana, and Washington. It is also older, by several weeks, than the first coin-operated musical playback machine, known colloquially today as the juke box. Here are some examples of the overlap of historical events which may surprise you.

10. Oxford University in England was created before the emergence of the Aztec Empire in modern Mexico

The Aztec civilization in Mesoamerica, so often referred to as ancient, was about three centuries old when it was encountered by the Spanish explorers and conquistadores. In the early 16th century the Spanish made short work of the thriving civilization, driven by the twin desires of obtaining their gold and silver riches and by converting the natives to Christianity and servitude. By the 1530s the Aztec Empire was all but destroyed, its cities and temples converted by conquest to ruins, and the Spanish Empire was emerging as the world’s most powerful. Growing Spanish wealth and power was viewed with alarm by its European rivals, which rapidly began to find the means to rival the Spanish position in the New World. England, an island nation, became a both military and religious enemy of Catholic Spain.

English scholars were among the world’s leaders of knowledge, many of them having completed their education at Oxford, which had been conducting classes of what was then considered to be higher learning for nearly five centuries by the time Cortes and his followers arrived in Mexico. Oxford first conducted classes in 1096, only thirty years following the Battle of Hastings, one of the seminal events of the history of Britain. Born as a rival, Cambridge University existed before the Spanish conquest of Mexico as well, yet neither English school is as old as Italy’s University of Bologna. By comparison, the oldest university in the United States, Harvard, was started in 1636, well over five centuries after the first classes were conducted at Oxford, but less than a century and a half after the conquest of the Aztec Empire in Mexico.

9. Tiffany & Company is older than the nation of Italy

Italy is, in most American minds, indelibly linked with the ancient world through the ruins of the Roman Empire. Italy is viewed as a romantic destination, for centuries a land of beauty and history thrust like a discarded boot into the blue Mediterranean. While the image is justified, most Americans are astonished to learn that Italy, as a nation, is younger than the United States. In fact, Italy is younger than one of America’s own symbols of luxury and romance, the iconic jeweler Tiffany & Company, long symbolic of style, taste, and little blue boxes famous for their ability to grab the attention of one’s beloved. Less well known is that Tiffany’s was founded not in New York but in Connecticut, and not as a jeweler, but rather as a stationer in 1837. The company moved to New York the following year, and did not become firmly associated with high end jewelry for another fifteen years.

Italy, on the other hand, was a collection of rival principalities, duchies, patron states, Papal States, and other entities, as it had been since before the Napoleonic Wars and the subsequent Congress of Vienna at the time Tiffany’s first opened its doors. Italian history is far too complicated to be described in one or two paragraphs, but the basis of today’s Italian Republic did not emerge until decades (in 1861) after the New York jeweler established its reputation as the world’s final word in the profession. As of 2019, Tiffany’s operates stores in Venice, Florence, Verona, Milan, Bologna, and Rome, all of which were cities in which Italian was spoken, but which were under separate governments, at the time the company was born in the United States.

8. The Titanic sank the same month that Boston’s Fenway Park opened for business

On April 20, 1912, Boston’s mayor, John F. Fitzgerald (known as Honey Fitz around town) arrived at the brand-spanking new Fenway Park to throw out the first pitch inaugurating the park and the 1912 baseball season. Honey Fitz undoubtedly joined in the conversation which dominated the day, not the prospects for the Red Sox’s success that year, but the shocking loss of another brand new feat of construction just days before when RMS Titanic sank. The Boston club prevailed that day over the team from New York known as the Highlanders, though the newspapers paid little heed, concentrating instead on the still evolving lists of the dead and missing from the tragedy at sea.

The Titanic was soon relegated to history. Overshadowed by losses of other liners during the First World War, it was a resurgence of interest after Dr. Robert Ballard’s expedition found the wreck in 1985 that restored its myth in the public imagination. Fenway Park soon developed a mythology of its own, the home of a baseball team forever doomed by the Curse of Babe Ruth until it managed to exorcise its demons in 2004. And Honey Fitz’s name returned to fame decades later, when it was used for the presidential yacht favored by his grandson, President of the United States John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Kennedy was an experienced sailor and the former commander of a US Naval PT boat – PT 109 – lost to the Japanese during World War II. In 2002, Dr. Ballard found the wreckage of that lost vessel as well.

7. The guillotine was still in use when Jimmy Carter was President of the United States

The beheading machine known as the guillotine, long the official means of state executions in France, is often erroneously described as being the invention of Dr. Joseph Guillotin, who was himself sent to meet his maker via its descending blade. Neither is true. Guillotin neither invented the machine nor died on it. As a physician who opposed capital punishment, he nonetheless reluctantly endorsed its use in executions as being the most humane means available at the time, leading to his name being attached to the machine. Its efficiency is undoubted, as demonstrated during the French Revolution when thousands died upon it, often hundreds in a single day. Have the victim lie down, drop the blade, dispose of the headless corpse by rolling it to the side. Over the period of its use for executions, debate over whether the severed head retained consciousness for a time raged, though it was never fully resolved.

The use of the guillotine may be forever linked to the French Revolution, but it completed its purpose far more recently. The death penalty in France was abolished in 1981. In 1977 the machine saw its final use, beheading child killer Hamida Djandoubi in Marseille on September 10. At the time, Han Solo and his compatriots were dispatching Stormtroopers using blasters on movie screens around the world. There is only one documented instance of a guillotine being used in North America, on the island of Sainte Pierre in 1889, though as recently as 1996 it was proposed to augment the electric chair as the means of state sponsored executions in the American state of Georgia. The choice of which device to use was to be left to the condemned, but the matter was never taken up for a vote.

6. The bicycle evolved years after the steam engine revolutionized locomotion

The bicycle is seemingly, at least at its most basic, a simple design for self-propelled travel. In fact, in its earliest forms it was an elongated board with wheels at each end, astride of which the user moved by walking, with each thrust of alternating legs sending person and carriage forward. Braking was by using the feet, sort of like the Flintstones stopping their car. It was decades before the bicycle propelled by pedals and chain evolved. The actual date and inventor is disputed, but the system resembling the modern safety bicycle, with pedals and chain for driving the rear wheel, first appeared with regularity around 1860 in France. Safety brakes and pneumatic tires followed. By the 1890s, bicycling was considered a new sport among the genteel in Europe and America.

Locomotion driven by a steam engine, mechanically far more complex than bicycle propulsion, predated the latter by many years. The use of steam to move road vehicles was under development as early as 1800, and its use on marine vehicles was relatively common by the 1820s. The steam locomotive wasn’t far behind in development and deployment. Steam locomotion developed long before the use of bicycles as transportation was common. In truth, the far more efficient steam turbine was well into development before the safety brake made bicycling relatively safe. Despite the late start, bicycles are, by far, the most common means of conveyance available in the world today, with well over 1 billion having been manufactured, and with more added to the total daily in virtually all of the world’s nations.

5. The first man to achieve powered flight lived to see it accomplished at speeds faster than sound

In December, 1903, Orville Wright, a bicycle mechanic by trade, became the first human being to fly in a powered, heavier than air craft. The flight itself was over a distance of 120 feet, and Orville achieved a speed of about 35 miles per hour (though due to prevailing headwinds, his speed over the ground was only about 7 miles per hour). Over several more flights during the course of the day, Orville and his brother Wilbur finally achieved a distance of over 800 feet, though their speed remained relatively modest. Their experiments that day ended when the aircraft was wrecked by contrary and unpredictable winds with which they had contended all day.

Just less than 44 years later Orville Wright was understandably amazed at the progress made by aviation, which included the airplane being the supreme weapon of war, a miracle of mass transit, a device which was making the world smaller in many ways. In October, 1947, American Chuck Yeager used an airplane which was as much a missile as it was the former and became the first man to travel faster than the speed of sound. Orville had last flown as a pilot in 1918, but his entire life was active in aviation, and he was awestruck that the sound “barrier” had been broken in his lifetime. As a comparison, America first landed on the moon during the summer of 1969. Despite the predictions offered at the time regarding humanity’s future in space, since the Apollo missions no one has ventured further from the earth, and there is little promise one will in the foreseeable future.

4. The last American pensioner from the Civil War died in the 21st century

The American Civil War seems to have occurred in a distant world barely recognizable today, long before cities were linked by highways and when communications were slow and unreliable. In truth, many of the features of modern life were present, albeit in somewhat primitive forms. The telegraph, railroads, scheduled shipping connections, and other links to the present day could be found without much search. Still, the war took place more than a century and a half ago, and any links to it by the end of the 20th century were through books, or museums, or films, or preserved battlefields. Faded sepia toned photographs were thought to be as close as anyone could come to America’s greatest crisis by the time George W. Bush became President of the United States.

It is an indication of how young the United States as a nation is that the last pensioner from the American Civil War died during President Bush’s tenure in the Oval Office. It was 1956 when the last surviving veteran of the Civil War died, but the US government (and several states) continued to pay pensions to the widows of Civil War veterans, including those who married veterans years after the war ended. In the latter half of the 19th century, many young women married widowers whose wives had died, their being a shortage of marriageable young men in America in the aftermath of the war. In 2008, the last eligible widow of a Civil War veteran died. Pensions payable to surviving children and their spouses continued until at least 2017, meaning the United States was continuing to bear costs related to the Civil War over 150 years after Lee surrendered at Appomattox.

3. The Indianapolis 500 is older than the 50 star American flag (and the 48 star flag, too)

The annual motor racing event held over the Memorial Day Weekend known as the Indianapolis 500 was first run in 1911, over a racing surface paved with bricks. Ironically, most of the power used for moving and placing the bricks which were the original racing surface came from mules, with more than 300 employed to complete the project. Numerous events took place at the track in the years before the inaugural 500 mile event, including balloon races, motorcycle races, and automobile races of shorter duration. When the first 500 mile race was run in 1911, fans and participants saluted the American flag before the competition was run. Only 46 stars graced the blue field at the time.

Neither New Mexico nor Arizona were then states in the Union. They would be added the following year, leading to the creation of the 48 star flag, which flew over US territory throughout the Second World War. Later that summer of 1912 future actress, comedienne, and producer Lucille Ball was born. Another birthday that year was of John S. McCain Jr, who would rise to the rank of Admiral in the United States Navy. The son of another admiral, who commanded American aviation in the Pacific during the Second World War, he held major commands in the submarine actions against the Japanese which were so crucial in the victory against Japan. He was the father of yet another naval officer, John S. McCain III, a senator and candidate for President of the United States, who hailed from Arizona.

2. Woolly mammoths were still roaming the earth when the pyramids were built at Giza

The ruins at Giza were already ancient when they were discovered – or rather re-discovered – by ancient Roman invaders. Historians debate the impact of the pyramids on those Romans who actually saw them, as well as that on Roman society as a whole, but there is no dispute that the overall influence was substantial. The Romans had no way of dating the structures, nor of understanding their historical or archaeological influence. Nor could they grasp their religious significance. For many Romans, the ancient Egyptians became a culture which was at once legendary, mythological, and of necessity mysterious. Similar sensations were later encountered by those who discovered evidence (or in some cases the continuing existence) of ancient cultures in North America, Mesoamerica, and in the Polynesian Islands of the South Pacific.

One thing the Romans could not possibly have known was that at the time the oldest of the pyramids was built, woolly mammoths still roamed some places on earth. The great mammals, which were the antecedents of the Asian elephants, coexisted with humans for several thousand years, the last fading from earth approximately four millennia ago, at Wrangel Island, in the Arctic. The date of their final demise is several centuries after the construction of the pyramids, and though the Egyptians did not encounter them as they went about their work, the fact that they co-existed on the planet is a matter of archaeological record. Whether efforts to use DNA to reanimate, as it were, the specie will be successful is debatable, but efforts are ongoing to do just that.

1. Americans were on the moon before women in Switzerland were allowed to vote

Americans first landed on the moon in July 1969, completing a challenge thrust upon the nation by President John Kennedy in 1961 in response to Soviet progress in space. The first Americans on the moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, walked about their lunar base. So did Pete Conrad and Alan Bean, who followed on Apollo 12. Not until Apollo 15, in the summer of 1971, did the American astronauts do a singularly American thing. They brought a car with them, and cruised about the lunar surface in what NASA named the Lunar Roving Vehicle. Thus astronauts from the United States not only trod upon the lunar surface, they left behind tire tracks, using a vehicle which the astronauts and the public dubbed “moon buggies.”

Just a few short months before Americans drove on the moon, (during which excursions the astronauts routinely ignored speed limits imposed upon them by the sticks in the mud at NASA back on earth) Switzerland, land of chocolate and secret bank accounts, finally gave women the right to vote. An election held in October of that year (on Halloween) was the first time Swiss women were allowed to cast a ballot in federal elections. After the Americans left behind the lunar rovers used on the last three Apollo missions, several of the prototypes were given to museums for public display. After the Swiss election of October 1971, women continued to expand their voting rights and their political power in Switzerland. Americans have yet to return to the moon since Apollo 17 in late 1972. Swiss women have returned to the polls every year since 1971.


Time Twisting Tales –

WIF Perspective

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #139

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #139

…There are so many wonders that titillate each of the five senses and not enough time to take it all in…

scott-joplin-imagem

William McKinley has a prohibitive favorite in musical style: ragtime. The “King of Ragtime”, Scott Joplin is here to perform, as he had at the Chicago Exposition in 1893. You do not turn down a request by the president, who is treated to the recently composed, “Maple Leaf Rag”, among other many jazz favorites in this singular format.

Mister Joplin finishes this afternoon’s program to a large ovation from the several hundred fair goers. The concertmaster thanks everyone for coming and invites one and all to greet the President at a public reception commencing hence.

“Where should we go now?” asks James Ferrell, whose youthful curiosity is fueled by what amounts to a vacation for him, in the midst of virtually two solid years of university study. There are so many wonders that titillate each of the five senses and not enough time to take it all in. “I want to see the racing cars.”

As you would think, there is no consensus among the Floridians, who struggled to amass themselves here. They had been scattered for the entire morning, in pursuit of their diverse interests and separate ways it seems to be now.

They are in their indigenous groups, however. The Ferrells are not about to waste a minute of their rare together time, as do the Campbells and the Endlichoffers, even though Amanda Campbell is distracted from missing the two children she left behind in Tallahassee, in the care of Princess Olla; freedom brings on new, if not worrisome, sets of dilemmas.

Just as their milling and mulling comes to an end, heads are turned by what sounds like firecrackers. Two pops precede gasps and screams. Someone yells, “Get a doctor! The President has been shot!”

Herbert Love was close enough to feel the shock waves from the pistol reports, he searches the crowd, searching for answers to the doctor request and is relieved to see Ziggy dragging Alpha through the gathering throng, turned angry mob.

“Am I shot?” the slumping leader gasps, not feeling the pain or the stream of flowing blood.

By this time the mob has tackled the assailant, beating him mercilessly. “Let no one hurt him.” McKinley orders in fear of vigilante justice.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #139


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #132

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #132

…I could not help noticing you down the hall. That is quite a camera you have there…

Perhaps the only person to go away hungry is Quincy Florida’s own, Harv Pearson. A bound notebook and pencil replace his knife and fork. He views this room as a Quincy Reporter-001smorgasbord of information; hundreds of column inches for hungry readers back home, with the publisher as the sole historian of this grand adventure. He is compiling enough material to fill a special section for the Reporter. In fact, he has sent a wire to his assistant instructing him to prepare for it and be sure to promote the extra edition in next week’s paper. Word has it, that there are unprecedented advance orders from Midway and Tallahassee and surrounding towns. Harv Pearson has carved a niche in the panhandle on the strength of his good record, strengthened by the solid reporting from the hurricane of last century, i.e. last year.

KodakBrownie1And as luck would have it, while he is making his interview list, checking it twice in the outer hall, he spies a woman lugging one of the newest cameras, looking like she knows what she to do with it. By his estimation, she is firmly entrenched in her thirties and wearing those years very well. Aside from her pleasing appearance, he had to wonder what a photographer could do for his cause, knowing full well that his newspaper has maybe not fallen behind the times, but his high school intern toting a tiny Brownie box camera hardly puts it anywhere near the top of the picture curve. Pearson, because of the lead time required for developing the film, inserts his pictures in the next week’s edition, unable make the previous deadline.

Judith Eastman-001 He is transfixed by the person, as well as transposing her talents into his situation, nearly missing the opportunity to meet her. Harv quickly closes the gap between him and her, aiming to change her awayward direction.

“Miss, oh miss?” he calls politely, not wanting to just grab hold. She stops, turning in response to the hail. “I could not help noticing you down the hall. That is quite a camera you have there.

“It should be,” she states flatly. “There should be only ten others like it in the country.”

“Ten? My goodness. You must be employed by the New York Times.”

She is not exactly put off by his approach, but he probably would have been better off introducing himself from the start. Right now, she thinks either he has had a few cocktails and got bored with his wife, or is some curious tourist really into all the new gadgets around this confluence of commercial technology.

“No, actually I am attempting to preserve the Pan-American Exposition through pictures. I am on my way to experiment with night photography, so if you will excuse me——-?”

He is letting opportunity slip away.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #132


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #120

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #120

Chapter Seven

END CAREER BEGINNING

…What a relief it is to make it to 1901, the Twentieth Century at last…

What a relief it is to make it to 1901, the Twentieth Century at last. Progress is formally measured and affirmed by the lowness of the last two numbers of the years tracked since the death on a cross by the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. Just as HE died to save the lost, so does this New Year rescue, in spirit, the United States from the scars of Civil War, deadly disease, horrible storms. Things cannot get worse, right?

The young seem to have the best chance of making the best of their world. For James Ferrell and bride Abigail, the last 12 months provides them with 1 year of marriage and the 2nd year of studies at Harvard University; on what will seem like the eternal road to lawyer-dom. Ergo, 360-some days of married living in an unaccustomed small living space in Cambridge Massachusetts, with not enough money and not enough time together.

“Won’t it be wonderful to see Mother and Father, dear?” offers Abigail in one of those rare shared moments when James does not have class and she is not working in the school library.

Ferrell's Grocery-001

“Summer school really threw our plans for a loop, Abbey. But we could not afford to traipse around Europe like Mom, Dad & Agnes are. That’s more Agnes’ style, though she may regret going after she sees the shape the groceries stores are in.”

By his talk, one can see the focus the 21 year old has. Travel is not an option.

And no sooner than his and Abbey’s shared parents return from the old continent across the Atlantic, they now journey northward to Buffalo, New York on the 12:10 Crescent Limited. It is there they will meet James and Abbey at the Pan-American Exposition.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #120


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #102

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #102

Chapter Six

A FRESH ONE HUNDRED

…“The line is dead,” John Ferrell laments, in a vain attempt to retrieve some news as to the extent of the storm now passed/past…

Hurricane-001

Torrential rain, straight-line winds, hurtling debris;  Gadsden County  endures ten hours of the worst conditions that this planet can produce, a force so strong that thirty miles of continent cannot subdue it. The “storm of the century” arrives in the last months of the 19th Century’s last year.

John and Martha Ferrell did spend the night huddled in a closet, with Agnes, listening as one by one, south and east side windows blow in, sometimes with a projectile, sometimes by the sheer force of the sustained wind. Their house of stone stands sturdy. Neither they nor it know what has hit them. Daylight will reveal more than they want to see.

One thing they do see, trees previously having hidden it from sight, is the Endlichoffer chalet. They were no doubt brave, but now lay horizontal for their trouble. As a testament to Ziggy’s carpentry skills, his wooden structure passes the earnest test. One can only assume that the morning finds the occupants fine as well.

What the eye can see, the mind can only imagine. The two fastest vehicles for communication, the telegraph and the more recent invention telephone, depend on wires suspended on poles. It is unlikely that those poles are standing, as those with a telephone find out.

“The line is dead,” John laments, in a vain attempt to retrieve some news as to the extent of the storm now passed/past. He was hoping that his friend at the Tallahassee Democrat, the area newspaper, could shed some light on this apparent disaster. Did the damage extend east to Tallahassee proper, or did in fact strike to the west, perhaps threatening the lives of his son and daughter-daughter-in-law, perhaps on their way back from New Orleans.

And to think this was a glancing blow.

“I am going to check on Joseph. He probably stayed in the barn to keep the animals calm. Then I am going to check on Siegfried and Frieda, and finally ride on into town.” John’s plan is sound, the only way they will know what happened.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #102


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #82

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #82

…This is Mayor Herbert Davis Love of Quincy, Florida for President William McKinley…

“The Mayor is above gossip!” Herbert L. declares, while lifting the receiver off his well-hung wall-hung Bell invention.

As he cranks the handle on the side, a light lights on the Quincy switchboard. Millie’s job is to know whom each light belongs. “Where can I direct your call, Mr. Mayor?” she asks dutifully.

“I have a long distance call to DC 7-1900, if you please.”

“Why, that number would get you Washington. The letters D and C tell me that.” She can hardly contain her curiosity.

“I am aware where I am calling, Millie, please connect me.” He is attempting to stifle further inquisitory participation.

White House Switchboard

She does so, in spite of her nosy-type leanings. It solicits this response: “This is the Executive Mansion. Who is calling and what the nature of your business is.” Millie nearly topples from her chair.

This is Mayor Herbert Davis Love of Quincy, Florida for President William McKinley. He is expecting my call.”

“Incoming operator, please vacate your connection.” Millie is foiled by electronics superior to hers. “Yes, Mr. Love, you are on the list of incoming callers. The President is attending the First Lady with afternoon tea in the Green Room.”

Green Room

Ida McKinley

Herb knows, as do most interested Americans, that Ida McKinley has been an invalid, ever since her four month old daughter and mother died in the same year. The death of their older daughter in 1876, three years later pushes her over the edge. The President’s devotion to her is legendary. “I do not wish to disturb him. Perhaps you can ring me at a more convenient time,” Herbert Love insists.

Without a word from the mansion operator, a strong male voice comes on the line. “Thank you for your prompt reply, Mr. Love. May I presume that this fine day finds you well and that you will rescue me from the vexing problem I am facing?”

Direct and to the point. Love presumes that presidents do not deal much in small talk; pressing matters must fill in any cracks of his day. The Boer War in South Africa, as well as the Boxer Rebellion in China, which has seen numerous United States citizens murdered in a purging of foreigners, must certainly consume his days and nights. Adding to that, the care of his treasured wife and one wonders when this man has to take a breath.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #82


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #77

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #77

…The USS Maine had come to Cuba to protect American citizens from pro-Spanish mobs, wanting nothing less than independence…

“What the hell was that?” demands Captain Sigsbee from the smoking bridge of the Battleship USS Maine of the helmsman, who already realizes he has no control of this troubled ship. There is no time for him to speculate. The explosion that has rocked the huge boat now topped by another even more powerful blast. “Abandon ship! Man the lifeboats!”

“Where is Commander Gaskel?” asks Captain Sigsbee about his second in command (Martha Ferrell’s brother) amidst a mad scramble of sailors from deep within the bowels of the ship.

“He helped me and some other guys out of the boiler room, sir,” answers one of the lucky ones. “We thought he was right behind us.”

A captain knows his boat intimately. The only two areas that can produce such explosions, assuming it was not sabotage, are the boiler room and the munitions cache. They are too close together for comfort, but Sigsbee has a notion to retrieve survivors and for a moment it looks like the worst is over. Just then, a final blast rips the stern front the bow, just to the rear of amidship. The stern is more heavily weighted by the coal driven turbines and finds the bottom of Havana harbor first.

The fore of the ship lingers on the surface long enough for the remaining bridge crew and finally Captain Sigsbee to make the last seaworthy lifeboat. One minute more separates the reunion of the bow with its anchor, concluding the disaster in no more than twelve minutes total.

(Music: Sleeping Sun Artist: Nightwish Subject: USS Maine)

They had come to Cuba to protect American citizens from pro-Spanish mobs, rioting against self- government, wanting nothing less than independence. What or who caused the stay of the Maine to come to a crashing end after only three weeks, will be debated and disputed for longer than the lives of those who survive.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #77


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