Sunday, May 29, 2005

Pulaski's Legion _ Rev War Interview

This interview with a trooper from Pulaski's Legion is quite informative of his life and and his death. Frankly, he should have remained in Walpack Valley, in New Jersey (near the Delaware River) where things were a bit quieter. Alas, he begged to leave and ended up in Savannah, Georgia.

For some info on the fort named for General Pulaski, see this Blog. Interesting travels are noted here. The Pulaski Skyway that crosses the Passaic river is also named for General Pulaski.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Preacher Phil's Taxi in NYC

"Philip Frabosilo is a minister in New York City. His church: a yellow cab, medallion number 3C49. Lovingly adorned with personal photographs, plastic flowers, and whimsical toys, Philip’s partition-less cab is designed for comfort and decorated to encourage conversation."
This is continued at the Brooklyn Museum website. Recently, on Nov 9 he was featured on NPR.
He is a star in the documentary film - Gotham Fish Tales. I have a copy. I recommend it to anyone interested in NYC or in real people or in fishing - fishing wherever. I understand "Rolling For Jesus" is a classic as well. Read more about Phil at Block Magazine and New York City Voices .
Uncle Vic was in NYC in May to work on some video for All Points Tours and this opportunity came up as one of those random events of everyday life. (TRT+10min)

Friday, May 27, 2005

War of The Worlds

Fyi: Grover's Mill, New Jersey is only about 40 miles South of here. Martians could be in Sparta, NJ within minutes of their landing should they choose the same location witnessed by Orson Wells in 1938. See what can happen at these War of The Worlds Previews. We predict a run on duct tape sometime in June.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

A Cookbook fromJekyll Island

My cousin Dorothy Carswell wrote this cookbook. Her son, Ben, did the introduction. It raises money to help the Jekyll Isand Sea Turtle Project. It has some nice recipes as well as great artwork. Jekyll Isand is was once the resort for the super rich in America. See the hotel here. Here is what Dorothy said: "There have been several long articles in the Georgia papers and we have even had a book signing! Ben wrote the Naturalist section and our friend Richard Caton did the cover art and all the illustrations in the book, including the delightful dividers. We didn't have a committee, it was just me and my friend, Sandy, whom I gave the title of Inspiration/Steering Director because it was her idea to write a cookbook. I'm the Editor/Writer :-)" I've only met my cousin Dorothy online because of a website for my Mom's side of the famly that we began on I think cookbooks are a pretty standard way to raise money anymore. There are several publishers that specialize in this kind of thing.

I hope to finish an edit today on a short video I did with a cab driver in NYC a few weeks ago. Preacher Phil calls his cab a rolling ministry. He is featured in a film about fishing around NYC called "Gotham Fish Tales". Maybe cousin Dorothy's recipes will come in handy in NYC! Look for Preacher Phil's video on this blog soon.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

USS Houston's last Battle

I have the most interesting friends. One, Don Kehn of Houston, Texas is a veritable encyclopedia of interesting facts about the Asiatic Fleet (destroyed early in WWII by the Japanese) and the USS Houston. He has given me a discussion board link that goes on and on about recent photo finds. He discovered, for instance, that a short captured Japanese film clip of a destroyer being blown out of the water and used in a Dutch film about the Pacific battles for Java (Battle of The Java Sea) is actually the last images of the USS Edsall which was lost without at trace. Now he has discovered on a discussion board, a link to an IJN (Imperial Japanese Navy) site where the command ship for Lt.Gen. IMAMURA is shown sunk in Banten Bay (a result of Houston and Perth's final fight). By the way, it was sunk by torpedoes. Houston and Perth had no torpedoes. There were over 70 torpedoes fired by the IJN that night. 4 took out the USS Houston. 4 took out the HMAS Perth. So there were plenty more torpedoes going around to hit other targets ... including the general's ship, the 'Shinshiu Maru'. From the BB I learned it was refloated and sunk again ... in 1945.
Here is my post on the BB: "Don Kehn keeps dragging me into the most fascinating things, this discussion among them! I am awed by the information here and know the "family" and HMAS Perth "family" and the Asiatic Fleet folks will all be greatly enthralled to learn of all these facts and photos! Love the Nelson dialogue also. I have nearly finsihed "Dreadnought" by Massie. The book begins by telling of Nelson's Trafalgar and the 100 years subsequent Pax Britannica. Some of the notes here have added insight to Trafalgar. I continue to be amazed at the things Don Kehn falls into! It is good to have somebody with brains on point. For my part, I hope to have the film about USS Houston into DVD format by summer .. and include footage from recent dives, and reunions." Ref: Japanese Ships.

Monday, May 23, 2005

A USS Houston Reunion

You'll learn more at the website but the video below shows some aging heroes mostly talking about their navy careers *after* the war. Dutch Kooper, the first one who speaks, in the film "Death Becomes The Ghost" tells how after their final battle as shells exploded in the water around him - nearly rupturing his chest - he could see the Houston's flag go under the waves ... lighted by Japanese searchlights on surrounding cruisers and destroyers. He said it was a moment of pride he had relived many times. They gave their all and did not surrender the ship. Jack Feliz who speaks next, wrote a Book about his colorful navy career. Otto Schwarz, who was a 17 year old seaman at the time of the last battle, is blind now. He lost one eye to a steel sliver working as a slave repairing rails for the Japanese Army in Indochina. He lost the other a few years ago in a home accident. On this date .. only Otto remains alive. Their story is one for the anals of Naval history. Two videos are available from the Houston website. Several books are listed there for reference. "Fleet The Gods Forgot", "The Ghost That Died in Sunda Strait", and "The Last Battle Station" are classics. And for their Hell that followed, read "Prisoners of The Japanese". However a new book will be coming soon from James Hornfischer, award winning author of the book about Taffy 3 and the Battle of Leyte Gulf "The Last Stand of The Tin Can Sailors". That book covers another heroic time of the Pacific War some years after the Asiatic Fleet had been sacrificed to stall the Japanese advance. Look for his USS Houston story in 2006. The book is sure to include more about the Houston's valiant ally on its last mission, HMAS Perth. The other ships of the lost combined ABDA Fleet (American, British, Dutch and Australian) will surely receive a good accounting as well. Some were lost without a trace.

Sunk in 1942 - Cruiser Houston

Wheelchair Scooter Invention

250 year old film FOUND! 1756

The ancestors of the Buzz Creek people somehow managed to hide and preserve this reel of film that was only recently discovered in our archival vaults. The film is about 250 years old, and this being the 250th anniversary of the French and Indian War ... we felt the film would be an excellent gift to the people in our area. You can see more films about our area at Around the Area - The link is listed in the column to the right. Check the Frontier Guard for more about this history. You can even get scalp insurance!

NJ Frontier Guard - 1756

This film was made 250 years ago and was only recently rediscovered in the ancient files of EGGZONO Cable-TV archives. These New Jersey Frontier Guardsmen will protect you from marauding Indians and French Invaders. Look for more special histories on Channel 973 - Eggzono TV. This particular feature is found in the "May" archives in the sidebar index for Channel 973.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Lewis and Clark

I know this is jumping around history, but Alex (my son) and I were watching the National Geographic DVD of Lewis and Clark this afternoon. It was my reward for going to the new Target store with Karen and Alex this afternoon. Good Imax film, but Alex and I got into thinking how we would make OUR version. I think some of the Mandan Indians, in the Dakotas would be wearing war paint and masks similar to the masquarade party in The Phantom of The Opera. Only at least one of them would have a mask half covering his face that is a "happy face" . Part of the barter process with the Sioux would involve demands for Casino rights and land set asides for a Walmart Superstore. Instead of 6 weeks to cross the Cascades, the L&C Corpes of Discovery would rent a Winnebago (Indian tribe name by the way) from the Nez Pierce tribe to make the trip much easier and probably only a day and a half. I think there is humor to be had in history, if only we look for it. By the way, the movie glossed over a lot of the great miseries on this epic trek. They did not mention the buying of dogs for food to allow the corpes of discovery to survive the Sierra hike. And they glossed over the diet of almost 100% protein (elk meat, etc) that led to many ills, not the least of which was constant eruptions of boils on their skin. Just how far can you go on a low carb diet? Just think, the history noted below (around 1905-10) was a hundred years after L&C (who were doing this about the time of the Trafalgar Battle and Nelson (the Napoleonic Wars) ... and who were very much tied into the struggle between France and England at the time because ... think about it... Napoleon sold "Louisianna" to the USA for the price the USA expected to pay for just New Orleans ... all because Napoleaon wanted the USA to be a thorn in the backside of any North American aspirations by Great Britain. Look for a video on this website soon ... re the French and Indian Wars (1756). A fantastic book on the French and Indian War is "Crucible of War by Anderson. Interesting stuff.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

An Historical Aside

Ever get your curiosity piqued? Happens to me all the time.

I was just searching for a definitive British movie about J.M. Barrie the author of Peter Pan. Strange little man. A recent movie "Finding Neverland" (we rented from Netflix ) glossed over some of the interesting biography of Barrie and the people who affected him. Found some good stuff on the web at the NEW YORKER WEBSITE, but the only source of the definitive British series on the topic "J.M. Barrie and The Lost Boys" seems to be high cost and from GB only....

I am reading "Dreadnaught" by Massie and keep getting intriqued further by the biographies of the European leaders of the time period. This is the 100 year period from Nelson's great victory at Trafalgar to to eve of WWI. The interrelationships of the leaders of the day are quite awesome. The logical follow up to this book would be "The Guns of August" by B. Tuchman (Pulitzer Prize). The first paragraph of Tuchman's book is a classic piece of the writing art. It sums up the entire feel of the end of one age and the beginning of another. Just got sidetracked with Winston Churchill and recalled a 1972 movie called "Young Winston" and went looking for it. Same problem... hard to find and seems only to be in British stores if at all.

Dreadnought - The Book from Amazon
First Page of "The Guns of August"

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Sparta NJ Introduction

Welcome to Sparta NJ. This 10 minute film lets you get a feel for the town and its history. Use the "mail" icon below the post to send this link to people who may want to know more about this area or about Sparta. There are more videos about the area and its history in earlier posts on this blog.

Video Blog

This blog will contain regular video features, including histories, interviews and observations. Our friends at host many of our regional prodcutions. Visit their site and select some of the features. You'll learn something and enjoy yourself too!

In Country

Here is your chance to get some insight on local and national issues that miss the mind shaping mantra of traditional media. IN COUNTRY WITH UNCLE VIC informs and entertains. Guests are invited to share their thoughts on local and national affairs. Sometimes we meet the most unusual people who contribute rich material to the broth of humanity. Sometimes we put history into the mix so our visitors can actually learn something. Guest contributors are encouraged to join in this eclectic tour of life.