Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blue moon over New Year’s Eve tomorrow night

For the first time since 1990, this Thursday evening, December 31st, the moon on New Year’s Eve will become full for the second time in the month of December. According to folklore, that makes it a blue moon. But don’t expect it to be blue.
It’s sad to say, but I do not recall one single, solitary event from the year 1990. I glanced over the Wikipedia article on the year 1990, and that did not help me. I was 54 years old on New Year’s Eve of 1990 and may have gone to a party. That may have been the year when the fog was scary awful. If that were the case, I sure didn’t notice the full moon.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ho Hum

The Weather ChannelI'm thinking that the low so far since we've been in Magnolia Springs has been 20°, which I reported in January of this year. That was a surprise to me when it occurred. However, as you look at the area's record temperatures, it has been known to go much lower than that. I will continue to monitor it by going to Magnolia Springs Weather each day. If you're really interested, you can do the same.

This is my twentieth post about weather and the subject has definitely run its course. At this point, unless there's really something very different to report, I'm going to seek other subjects that are, at least, of interest to me.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

An After Christmas Wish

A Cedar Cove Christmas · by Debbie MacomberI received a Christmas book for free recently that I finished reading just as the holidays were ending. This book is part of the Cedar Cove series by Debbie Macomber.

I would love to see one of those movies that comes out at Christmas that is based on this short book. I could just picture this book as a movie all the time I was reading it. I could even imagine the character Linc being played by the guy who plays Raymond's brother on TV.

I suppose it would be classified as a romance novel — fiction for sure, with a good combination of comedy and tragedy, which makes for a very good book or movie. Perhaps this teaser will encourage you to read it as well:

A Cedar Cove Christmas

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Second 2009 Goldilocks Report

This is only the second time you have heard from me this year in regard to the weather. That's probably because we did not think there was anything exceptional about the weather here in the spring, summer or fall. But as far as Goldilocks is concerned, "It's too cold!" That will always be true when the thermometer dips to near freezing or below. You can count on it.

Perhaps we have not mentioned that we have had lots of rain, and now the temp has dipped to one degree above freezing during the night. The brisk winds we had yesterday died down to calm. It's hard to believe, since I'm a Native Texan, that we're actually approaching 13 inches of rain for the month.

We are not sorry about not receiving any type of freezing precip as much of the nation did for this holiday season.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Click on the image above to see this Christmas message.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Gift

Today is Christmas Eve — a very low-key one in our house.

Recycling a story shared two years ago, because it's worth sharing again:

Christmas Eve Gift

Friday, December 18, 2009

Men’s Brain v. Women’s Brain

I have Darlene to thank for the video below. She wanted to be sure I didn't miss it, so she sent it to me twice :-) — and I'm so glad she did.
Men’s Brains v. Women’s Brains

After seeing this, I'm beginning to understand why I have some bulges on my skull. Probably in times past my brain was near the point of exploding :-)

This video, is part of a 4-DVD set entitled Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage by Mark Gungor, and has a serious side. Or for a third of the price, I also recommend a 2-hour DVD seminar – A Tale of Two Brains.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Freedom for the Stallion

MrTrashCan1's You Tube video introduction:
“How many people knew about The Hues Corporation before their number one hit, Rock The Boat? Well listeners to MOR radio did, because Freedom For The Stallion, from the year before, was their first hit, and while it only hit 69 on Billboard Hot 100, it charted big on Easy Listening.”
I remember it and even had the 45 RPM record. It was a hit as far as I was concerned and I still associate it with Dad’s going home at the age of 61. I was almost 37 when he died. An interesting tidbit about my dad (at least to me) was that I did not know his real name until I saw his will. People called him Bill and W.A., but I'd always assumed his first name was William. His name was Willie Almon Ellington (7/2/1912 - 10/4/1973).

Wouldn’t mind having this song played at my funeral. That’s how much I like it.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Remember ~ Honor ~ Teach

Today is Pearl Harbor Day, the anniversary of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

I am always reminded of my Uncle Matt (M.D. "Matt" Ellington ~ November 28, 1920 – April 13, 2003) on this day. Uncle Matt was there on the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.

So this year I started looking for a letter M.D. wrote about his experiences that day. I don't know if it was printed by the Star Reporter, but I'm happy Uncle Matt's family was able to locate a copy of the letter he wrote:

MAY 25. 2001

Letter to the Editor

The Sweetwater Reporter
Sweetwater, Texas 79556

Dear Editor:

It occurred to me the other day that this coming December 7th will be the 60th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. There is not too many of us survivors of that day that are still around, so I thought that some of my activities on that day might be of some interest to your readers.

That day certainly was not a day of mirth but some things that happened that day are a laughing matter to me now; they certainly were not funny on December 7, 1941. As a matter of fact, I can't think of anything in my life that are worse than the things I saw that day.

I was born on November 28, 1920 in Sweetwater, Texas. I lived in Sweetwater until 1935, where I worked for The Reporter as a delivery boy and later as a printer's helper. In 1935, we moved to El Paso, where I graduated from Austin High School. Later, I moved to San Diego, California.

Due to a series of circumstances and decisions, too numerous to mention here, I wound up being prime "cannon fodder" for World War II. I was a member of Battery B of the 251 Coast Artillery, which was part of the California National Guard from San Diego. We were an anti aircraft outfit, originally equipped with 3 inch diameter anti aircraft guns. Six hours after the national service act went into effect on September 16, 1940, we were in the U. S. Army.

We stayed in California for a very short time but was ordered to Hawaii, in the fall of 1940. After our arrival in Hawaii we were stationed in a tent city at Fort Ruger, which was near Honolulu. However, about the time that the basic carpentry was finished on Camp Malakole, we were transferred to there. We stayed at Camp Malakole until the war started on December 7, 1941. During that year of peace, being in Hawaii, was fun and there were many things to do to keep us pleasantly occupied.

We had spent quite a bit of time in training and by December 7th, 1941, we were quite proficient with those old 3 inch guns.

There was a rule at Camp Malakole prior to WWII that if one got to the mess hall prior to 8 o'clock on Sundays and other holidays, that they would still be fed. On December 7, 1941, I woke up about 7:20 a.m., shaved and dressed and was on my way to the mess hall when the 1st Sgt. caught me and put me in charge of the regimental garbage haul off detail of the day and I was to report to regimental headquarters right after breakfast. Then I went on to the mess hall. When I was on the porch of the mess hall, I looked over toward Pearl Harbor and observed some anti aircraft bursts and other black smoke. I thought to myself, "Now isn't that just like the Navy to be holding target practice on Sunday morning." Thinking little of it, I went on into the mess hall to breakfast. I was eating a bowl of corn flakes when I heard automatic weapon fire and thought that one of the guards on duty, carrying a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle), had accidently fired it. I didn't think much about it and went on eating my corn flakes. A minute or so later, I heard automatic weapon fire again but this time it was accompanied by holes in the mess hall roof. This put me into motion. I ran to the mess hall door just in time to observe dirt being kicked up by bullets and looked up to see the red balls on the bottom of the wings of the aircraft doing the strafing. However, I could not understand how they got there because I felt sure that the Navy was guarding the islands further out than the range of carrier based planes. That can be added to the long list of things people were wrong about on that day.

We scurried about doing such foolish things as firing 45 calibre automatic pistols at the strafing planes. About that time, I saw the first sergeant and asked him if I should still report for the garbage haul off detail. He said, "Keep shooting. Those damn things are Jap planes." We did get one 50 calibre machine gun into action but I don't believe that it damaged any of the aircraft. A torpedo plane that had already dropped its torpedoes was strafing us about the time that a fellow with the nickname of "Available Jones" and myself jumped into the back of a truck. "Available" observed the tail gunner on the plane as he shot a couple of holes in the tarp on the truck that we were in and said, "Boy, they have us coming and going." A junior officer ran up to a man firing at the planes with his rifle and yelled, "Do you have authorization to fire on those planes?!" Another fellow started arbitrarily firing his rifle through the roof of one of the barracks. I guess he must have thought that he might hit one of the planes without even seeing it. If anyone even thought of getting the big guns in action, I never heard of it. The big guns were not any good for firing at aircraft as low as those anyway.

After the strafing raid slowed down, some of us started filling sand bags on the beach, where the big guns were set up, thinking that the big guns, where they were set up, might be of some use in case of an infantry invasion across the beach, However, about that time some semblance of order returned to our location and we were ordered to move and re- implace our guns at a spot right near the edge of Pearl Harbor. "Talk about locking the barn door after the horses were gone!" All along the road when we were moving our guns toward Pearl Harbor, people lined up waving and giving us the "V" for Victory sign.

It has been well published what we saw when we got to Pearl Harbor that day and, believe me, none of it was exaggerated. What a mess! And even we didn't realize the extent of the death toll and damage until reports started drifting in, a few days later, and we hadn't even seen Hickam or Wheeler Fields. A few days later, I saw Hickam and Wheeler Fields and they were a mess. We were thoroughly battered on December 7, 1941.

After we had put our big guns in their pre-planned wartime places at Pearl Harbor, we started filling sand bags, laying in ammunition and other things in preparation for a water borne infantry assault from the Japanese. As history tells you, the anticipated assault didn't develop. I don't know how they passed up the opportunity, unless they figured that occupying the Hawaiian islands would spread their ground troops too thin. Either that or they had no idea how badly they would trash us that day. I am certainly glad that it didn’t happen because that surely would have changed the complexion of WWII. Pearl Harbor was an excellent staging area for our later offensive assaults in the Pacific.

After a few days, we decided that the Japanese were not coming back right away so we started cleaning up the mess that resulted from our beating and counting our blessings for the fact that our aircraft carriers were not caught anchored in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7. This fact changed the whole tune of the battle for the Pacific. Battle groups were built up around the carrier, instead of the battleship. Come to think of it, the aircraft carrier can be thought of as a battleship having extremely long range artillery, in addition to its many other advantages over the battleship. Carrier battle groups were in the center of our strategy in the battles of the Pacific during WWII.

During the above mentioned lull, among other things, the men of Battery B were allowed to return to Camp Malakole and take care of sending their civilian clothes home or throwing them away because we knew that uniforms would be the order of the day for sometime to come. When I got back to our barracks at Camp Malakole, I walked through the mess hall and there my bowl of corn flakes was still on the table and was swelled up to where at least one bowl height of corn flakes stood above the top of the bowl. I don't know who finally cleaned up that mess because I never got back to it. I never got back to Camp Malakole again during the war and probably never will, even if it is still there.

Early in 1962 the 251st was ordered to Fiji to set up a perimeter defense around one of the air fields that served as a refueling stop for some of the long range flights over the Pacific. From there we went on to several of the war zones in that part of the world.

Truly yours,
M. D. Ellington

The title of this post is the mission of Wreaths Across America, where I first found this interview of a Pearl Harbor survivor.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dancing Lessons

A friend of ours often talks to me about practicing dancing to get ready for the cruise we're going on in January.

With that in mind, I thought our youngest daughter's latest blog post was something that might help. It has two dancing videos on it.

That'll be the day when I can dance like that — maybe when I'm in heaven or in a dream ...

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

In Way Over My Head

Scott Hatfield · MONKEY TRIALSMy nephew is California's premiere science teacher. He is also a Christian who believes that evolution is a fact that blends easily with his faith.

I have very little science education. My one course in high school biology – because I had to take it – is the sum total of my education in science.

Having said that, I'm simply going to refer you to Scott's knowledge, which he articulates so well in Evolution: The Song.

· See the award-winning music video everyone's talking about ·

A Major Award!