Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #259

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #259

…The Japanese have attacked the naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, making it impossible for us to return on an eastward course. We are to make our way west until we reach New York…

Pearl Harbor by Chuck Hamrick

Pearl Harbor by Chuck Hamrick

In the cockpit of the Pacific Clipper, they are ignoring whales as well…  and anything but what is coming through to them on their radio. They are being told to proceed to Auckland and await further instruction there. Upon landing, they are instructed to head west and return the Clipper to La Guardia Field, New York. The regular return route is not safe.

braceT LFT“TO:              CAPTAIN ROBERT FORDbracket rt




It is Captain Ford’s unsavory duty to explain the situation and their dilemma. “The United States has declared war on Japan,” he begins, eliciting a gasp from the assembled two-score interested parties. “The Japanese have attacked the naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, making it impossible for us to return on an eastward course. We are to make our way west until we reach New York. To do so, we must research a possible route and make sure we are prepared to make any repairs to the aircraft along the way. This is going to take some time.”

Robert Ford-001

Most everyone is in a state of stunned disbelief. Individual inconveniences aside, these events mean that the war has hit home and it is the world’s second such in the span of two-plus decades. Leaders have come and gone, but the results are the same, which makes it hard for Americans to understand. None of these conflicts have taken place on our soil, at least until now. Could the Japanese be on their way to California?

“We will be returning to Noumea to pick up supplies and make sure that all Pan American employees are taken care of. From there we will stop at Gladstone, Australia. Anyone, who wants to get off, can do so there. In fact, I cannot make you stay aboard the Clipper, or prevent you from departing, from anywhere we land. But you will be responsible for your own passage home after we leave Queensland, Australia. I can tell you that none of our stops will exactly be exotic ports of call.

          “In the meantime, we at Pan American Airways will do everything we can to make this journey as comfortable as possible. You will be reimbursed for any personal funds that you use.” That last statement is pure speculation, be is sure that Trippe would be so pleased to see his aircraft return, that he will make good that remote promise.

Alpha Omega M.D.

“The full-throat-ed roar of the four engines filled the cabin as NC 18602 moved forward into the takeoff run.  The slap-slap of  the water under the hull became a staccato drum beat.  Spray whipped higher over the sea wings.  After a few seconds the hull began to rise out of the water but was not quite free.  Ford held the yoke steady as the airspeed indicator displayed the increasing speed: 40 knots…  50…  60…  70…

Pacific Clipper Take-off

Episode #259

“At 70 knots Ford brought the yoke back gently.  The Clipper nosed up.  Passengers seated in the aft compartments might have thought they were about to submerge as the tail came close to the water and the spray hurtling back from the sea wings splattered the windows.  At 75 knots Ford eased up a little on the yoke then immediately brought it back.  This rocking motion was necessary to raise the ship “on the step” – that area of the hull which would be the last to break free from the clinging suction effect of the water now hurtling along underneath the ship.  As the airspeed went to 80 knots the sound of the water abruptly ceased.  The thrumming beat against the hull was replaced by a sudden smoothness as the great ship broke free and began climbing.”  — from Ed Dover’s The Long Way Home

page 243

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Contents 5-2016

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #254

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #254

…“Too many cooks spoil the broth,” Judith recounts trouble brewing in the eastern Pacific Ocean…

Too Many Cooks Spoil The Broth by Liam Liberty

Too Many Cooks Spoil The Broth by Liam Liberty

“If I am following this correctly, there is a worldwide alert and yet the world isn’t in on it.”

“That’s about it, Mrs. Eastman. You read that thing and you would think that another world war has started.”

“Maybe FDR doesn’t want to rock the boat leading up to the election?” she theorizes, in an attempt to explain why the most powerful country on the planet is literally sitting on its collective hands, yea, sticking its head in the sand.

“Roosevelt is no dummy that is for sure. I just think that there are too many pots boiling on the stove… no,” he rethinks his analogy, “the pots that are boiling individually are manageable. It’s like the stoves are too far apart for one cook to supervise. We need more cooks.”

     “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” Judith recounts.bracket rt

          “Too few cooks and the guests go home hungry.”

          Comparative phrases are flying around the passenger cabin like so many analogous ping pong balls.

“What is this,” enters the queen of silent films, “Mister Terry Trippe in a serious discussion?”

          “Me thinks my reputation precedes me, Mary. You shouldn’t believe everything you read.”

braceT LFT “Are you saying that the Pearson-Eastman Journal is a gossipy rag, Mister Trippe?” quips Mary.

          “Rag is harsh, but… “

          ”But watch it!” warns Judith, now peering through the lens of her Kodak friend. “The camera can be your friend… or not.” Click. “And my travel feature will net you priceless publicity.”

          “…it’s not what I had in mind. They do a fine job of reporting the facts.” Click.

          “And…” Click.

          “And Judith Eastman is the finest photographer of the twentieth century.”

“And don’t you forget it. Now move over by that window,” Judith motions as she adroitly scales the next seat over for an angle that brings the looming land below into the picture. Click. There is a plume of smoke rising thousands of feet in the air. “That appears serious!”

“We were supposed to land there. That is one of my bases! Damn! It’s burned to the ground.”

phoenix fire by artistic puppy

From the ashes of the funeral pyre to the smoldering cinders of human conflict, the phoenix rises anew.

Alpha Omega M.D.

Pearson Eastman Journal-001

Episode #254

page 238 (end ch. 13)

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Contents 5-2016

Government Cover-ups – The FU-GO Balloon Bombs

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“What you don’t know, won’t hurt you.”

President Franklin Roosevelt declared December 7, 1941 “a date which will live in infamy” after the Japanese leveled a devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, but while it is by far the best known, that day was not the only time a Japanese bomb took American lives on U.S. soil.

On May 5, 1945, a pregnant Sunday school teacher and five children from a small Oregon town called Bly were killed by a Japanese-built bomb that had floated across the ocean on a balloon.

The bombing campaign has been covered in recent years on film, radio, and by historian Ross Coen in his book “Fu-go” but never made major headlines at the time. As Coen notes, only a handful of Americans had any clue about the threat in 1945, even though the Japanese had quietly launched thousands of them.

The bombs were attached to paper-thin balloons propelled by the jet stream from Japan all the way to North America. Hundreds fell in various spots stretching from Alaska to Arizona, with the vast majority never causing any significant damage.

By the time the U.S. government caught wind of the campaign, they immediately sought to censor the news, professor Mike Sweeney explained to RadioLab, worried that Americans might panic. After a handful of findings inspired a few scattered reports from Newsweek and Time magazines, the U.S. Office of Censorship issued a press “blackout” — insisting that any news of the bombs had to be approved by the Army.

That is why Mrs. Elsie Mitchell and five children had no reason to be concerned when they discovered one of the fallen undetonated bombs near Gearhart Mountain in Oregon. Although their exact reactions remain unknown, the bomb soon went off, killing all five kids and Mitchell. According to the History Channel, they were the only known American civilians killed in the continental United States during World War II.


Government Cover-ups

– The FU-GO Balloon Bombs

The Facts About Pearl Harbor – WWII WIF What-ifs

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Cracked History

What if the U.S. Had Been

Prepared for

Pearl Harbor?

pearl harbor

Sneak-up snapshot

On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy conducted a devastatingsurprise attack on the Pearl Harbor Naval Base and the Hickam Field Airbase on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

American Naval and Army forces were caught by surprise that fateful sunny Sunday morning and paid a terrible price for their lack of vigilance.  All the American battleships were either sunk or disabled.  Of the 390 warplanes, 188 were destroyed and 159 damaged.  Over 2,400 Americans died.  The Japanese were met with some token anti-aircraft fire and air-to-air interception, but the results were scant.  One U.S. destroyer managed to sink a Japanese midget submarine, but even that feat was not believed until proof was finally found decades later.  Further Japanese losses included another 4 midget subs, 29 airplanes and 64 men.

Much has been made about the lack of American preparation for the attack, including the fact that American radar had detected the raiding air force.   Although it is true that the Japanese were detected by radar, it was at the time assumed that the incoming planes were a flight of B-17s that were expected that day.  Even if the alarm had been raised, the fact remains that fighter planes would still have had to scramble, so it is likely the attack would still have been successful.

If the U.S. had had sea and air reconnaissance forces combing the seas, the Japanese forces might have been detected earlier, which might well have prevented the disaster.  Or, perhaps a U.S. preemptive strike or show of force may have averted the attack.  On the other hand, the better trained and more experienced Japanese may then instead have dealt an even deadlier blow to the U.S. by sinking its aircraft carriers that were luckily spared from the real attack as they were out to sea at the time.  Obviously, had the U.S. forces had interceptors scramble ready, anti-aircraft crews on notice and aircraft scattered on fields instead of bunched together the damage would have been far less.  And had the battleships also been at sea, they would have been maneuverable and more elusive.

So, would Hitler still have declared war on the U.S. four days after the attack on Pearl Harbor had the Japanese been averted by detection?  Perhaps the American entry into the war would have been delayed long enough for the Germans to be able to concentrate their forces against Russia, possibly changing the outcome of the war.

As it was, though the attack was initially seemed successful, the Japanese failed to sink the all-important American aircraft carriers, to permanently put the battleships out of commission (all but the Arizona were re-floated), to destroy U.S. fuel and dry-dock ship repair facilities and lastly to cow the U.S. into an immediate negotiated peace.

Some “what if” speculators have claimed the U.S. would still have suffered a crushing loss even with preparation and warning, assuming the Japanese would have sunk American ships at sea as easily as in the harbor.  Better leadership by Admiral Kimmel and General Short might have made all the difference, but this will never be known for sure.  Seventy plus years on: Rest in peace, all brave men who died that day.

The Facts About Pearl Harbor

– WWII WIF What-ifs

Ketchup is Optional – WABAC to Hot Dog Summit

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"Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Even though I tire of these hot dog stories, let’s go to a pre-WWII meeting at Hyde Park NY and the home of President FDR.”

The Royal Hot Dog Summit of 1939

The Royal Hot Dog Summit of 1939

Pre-WWII meeting in America…..

On June 11, 1939, a picnic at which hot dogs were served helped re-establish the political closeness between the United States and Great Britain and introduced the traditionally American food to an international public.

Ketchup is optional……

With the threat of war and invasion looming, the British monarch, George VI of “The King’s Speech” fame and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, later known as the Queen Mother, or affectionately as Queen Mum, embarked on a tour to visit their dominion of Canada, the first time a reigning British monarch had visited the North American continent.

Upon hearing of the intended trip, American President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, extended an invitation to the royal couple to stop by at his private residence in Hyde Park, New York. His goal was to soften relations between the two countries which had often been tense since the Revolutionary War when the American colonies had declared independence from Great Britain. With Europe on the brink of War, FDR, not one to continue the American policy of isolationism, realized he needed to forge alliances with the leading European democracies. And so, wishing to dispel anti-British sentiment, he decided to entertain the King at a casual American-style picnic to ensure that the King would win the sympathy of the American people.

At the picnic hot dogs were served. The royal couple was a little bit perplexed, with the Queen whispering to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, “How do you eat this?” The question is somewhat funny if you consider that she came from the country that invented the sandwich after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, had asked for a way to be able eat his meat at the card table without silverware. This, by the way, has been deemed Britain’s biggest contribution to gastronomy. The Queen, however, ended up deciding to eat her hot dog with a fork and knife (she probably didn’t want to soil her gloves), but the King ate his by hand and even had seconds!

The next day, the picnic made the front page of the New York Times, with the headline reading, “KING TRIES HOTDOG AND ASKS FOR MORE”. The simplicity of the event endeared the King and Queen to the American public who now saw them as regular people capable of casual dining rather than as evil colonial rulers. And sure enough, when Great Britain and its Dominions declared war on Germany in September of 1939, Roosevelt was able to convince Congress, and the American people, to support the British both diplomatically and financially, while maintaining American neutrality.

So, just how typically American are hot dogs? Well, just like George VI, hot dogs have their origins in Germany. They are derived from Frankfurters, also known as Wiener Wuerstchen, and were brought over to the United States by German immigrants. Initially eaten with mustard, potato salad or in soups in the Old World, in the New World, they become popular as vendor food and were placed in buns to allow for easier and less messy eating. Legend has it that one such vendor initially named them Dachshund Sandwiches after the long, German dogs they resemble, but that that name was too hard too pronounce, so it was shortened to Hot Dog.

At any rate, a variant of the hot dog should have been familiar to George VI, as he was ethnically German. His last name was originally Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, but his father, George V, changed it to Windsor during World War I to distance the family from their German roots. His wife, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, on the other hand, was descended from Scottish nobility, so she gets a pass.

At any rate, the picnic and the importance of the hot dog as a turning point in Anglo-American relations are so great that the film, “Hyde Park on Hudson,” starring Bill Murray as FDR, was made on the topic and released in 2013, almost 75 years after the actual event. Let no one ever underestimate and trivialize the hot dog as common stadium food ever again! It is one of the most diplomatically significant foods in culinary history, and nowadays hot dogs can be found just about anywhere.

Ketchup is Optional – WABAC to Hot Dog Summit

The WABAC Machine – 3/15/1906

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"Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

March 15, 1906: Rolls Royce Founded


Looking back…..

On March 15, 1906, a name synonymous with the finest was created with the founding of Rolls-Royce Ltd.!  That name is the very meaning of luxury and for over 100 years has been the ultimate symbol of wealth.

Under the hood…….

Digging deeper, we find Charles Rolls operating one of the first car dealerships and Fredrick H. Royce manufacturing a two cylinder engine car in 1904 when they met.

Impressed with Royce’s car, Rolls agreed to sell it, and the two formed their iconic company in 1906.  Building the best car they could without cutting corners resulted in cars of the highest quality.  Of course, that quality has never been cheap, and the first Rolls-Royce badged cars started at today’s equivalent of about $65,000 for the cheapest 2 cylinder model.  The more powerful (30 hp) six cylinder model cost more than double that.

Today, Rolls-Royce makes 3 models, the Phantom, the Ghost, and the Wraith.

Each of these powerful and ultra-luxurious cars are large and heavy (about 3 tons), but accelerate with authority with their 12 cylinder engines providing over 500 reasons to do so!  The Phantom and the Ghost come in regular and extended length sizes, while the Wraith is the “sporty” or “performance” model.

Rolls-Royce produced airplane engines in World War I, about half of all those produced by the Allies!  With this new found source of business, airplane engines actually became the largest part of the company.  Rolls-Royce also built armored cars in World War I and in World War II as did other car companies.

In World War II, 160,000 of their Merlin 12 cylinder engines were produced and powered many of the best allied airplanes, including the British Lancaster, Mosquito, Spitfire, Hurricane, and the American P-51 Mustang.  American companies Packard and Ford built Merlins under contract during the war.  This famous aircraft engine was also adapted for use in tanks!

After World War II aircraft engine production shifted mostly to jet engines and many airliners today are powered by Roll-Royce engines.  Financial problems while developing new jet technology led to nationalization of the company in 1971 and the auto producing portion was split off from the aero-engine part, becoming Rolls-Royce Motors.  In the 1990 Volkswagen and BMW fought for ownership of the car making part of Rolls-Royce, with BMW eventually winning.  The airplane engine company was not affected.

So, what about the Spirit of Ecstasy?  That is the name of the familiar hood ornament that adorns Rolls-Royce cars, a winged woman flying just above the radiator seeming to lead the luxury carriage on its way! Coupled with the capital R superimposed over another capital R they are the unmistakable symbols ofThe Best Car money can buy!  A cracked fact: it takes an entire work week to manufacture a single Spirit of Ecstasy!

A final cracked note, Rolls-Royce cars were also built in the United States from 1921 to 1931!  The Springfield, Massachusetts plant produced about 1700 Silver Ghosts until apparently the Great Depression lowered demand for ultra-luxury cars.

The WABAC Machine – 3/15/1906

Bombs Away Japan – Don’t Mess W/Uncle Sam



On March 9, 1945, 324 B-29 bombers of the United States Army Air Force inflicted the deadliest and most destructive single bombing raid in history!

Digging through the rubble

Digging deeper, we find Japan reeling from numerous defeats, with American forces having taken island bases within range of Japan for their (at the time) giant B-29 bombers.

Previous bombing missions against mainland Japan from high altitude with conventional bombs had produced disappointing results.  General Curtis LeMay ordered that the massive bombers be stripped of most of their heavy defensive armament and fly at low altitude, both factors which saved fuel and allowed more tons of bombs to be carried.  Raids would be mounted at night to make interception difficult, and although that would necessarily hurt visibility for the bomber crews, accuracy would be enhanced by the low level flight.

The other critical decision was to equip the bombers with mostly incendiary bombs, hundreds of small firebombs instead of a few large conventional explosives.  The construction of Japanese cities was largely of wood with many interior walls made of a type of paper.

These techniques proved fiendishly successful, and in the first such raid a square mile of the capital city of Tokyo was burned to the ground.  On the night of March 9-10, 1945 the massive number of planes combined with dry and windy conditions spelled disaster for Tokyo.

The most densely populated modern city in the world, Tokyo had a population density of over 100,000 per square mile.  Note the word “had!” Sixteen square miles of Tokyo were completely burned to the ground that night, and something over 100,000 people died, most of them horribly!  Many more people were injured, and another million were made homeless.  The incredible carnage and damage set the model for further bombing raids on Japan until the dropping of the first 2 atom bombs ended the war.

This great Tokyo firebombing raid killed more Japanese outright than either atomic bomb, making it the deadliest single raid of the war, and all of history.  After the war the question of the legality and morality of conducting such a raid was fiercely debated, with American war planners accused of war crimes by Japanese and many other people around the world, including in the US!

Probably the most cracked aspect to this historical event was that families of victims later sued the government of Japan in 2007 for failing to end the war earlier and failing to protect and care for them after the bombing!  The suit was dismissed and the plaintiffs lost again on appeal.

Is bombing civilians and causing massive loss of civilian life and property moral?  Should it be allowed, or should it be considered a war crime.  Tell us your opinion in the comments section!

Bombs Away Japan