Category Archives: History

Miscellaneous Ramblings – 01/06/22

If there is an informal poll for “Worst Commerical Airport – Passenger Category” – my vote would go to SFO – San Francisco. Even getting there, between the weather and the traffic, can be a challenge. I can remember years ago, picking up my parents, that the wind and rain was so strong that I would unintentionally change lanes driving over the Bay Bridge. And on that bridge, it’s a long way down.

And because traffic can really bite you, sometimes I’ll leave an hour earlier than what I think I really need.

Once you get there – turning off from the Bayshore Freeway – that’s US 101 – you are funneled into several “Y” intersections with little time to react.

I think that they built this facility over the years in sort of an “ad hoc” manner and any “master plan” to handle the traffic went by the wayside.

At least that’s my opinion.

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Filed under History, Humor

Where were you 58 years ago today?

November 22, 1963

I was in the 7th grade, in between classes. A group of students was around a teacher, and the teacher said “Yes, he’s dead”. Walking down the hall in between classes, I had heard what I thought were rumors from other students in the hallway until the teacher confirmed it.

My mother was going into a Bank of America branch and saw everyone sobbing.

What a week that was for America.

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The Wright Brothers

Like Joe Rosenthal’s iconic photo of Iwo Jima, this first flight was immortalized almost by accident .

I just finished David McCullough’s wonderful book on the Wright Brothers. He did some thorough research, including many notes by them on the study of bird flight, and letters.

One theme remained with me throughout the book.

Perseverance.

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Filed under Aeronautical Engineering, Airplanes, Flying, History

On this date in history…

November 8, 1950

During the Korean War the very first- ever jet vs. jet aerial dogfight took place. U.S. Air Force pilot Lt. Russell J. Brown was flying a Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star and successfully shot down two North Korean MiG-15s, which were possibly piloted by Russians. The MiG-15 was the fastest, most maneuverable fighter jet of its day, and generally dominated the skies it flew. Taking down two in a dogfight was a tremendous opening salvo.

H/T to my Air Force friend who sent this…

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Filed under Airplanes, History, USAF

9/11: An Airline Pilot’s Memory of that Day

Posted on September 11, 2021

Some of us were reminiscing what we were doing that morning 20 years ago, and one Lexican had a particular poignant memory. With his permission to post this, here it is.

“On this date, 20 years ago I was a young captain on the MD-80. We got up early for a trip from Houston to Tampa. It was my leg and the second day of a four day trip. It was a beautiful bright morning and clear skies at both Houston and Tampa airports. A great day to fly and what I thought at the time would be an easy leg. Like the fateful United and American flights that would go down that day, and were departing at about the same time as I was, the last thought on my mind was a hijacking. There were no warnings. No memos to keep a “heads up”. Nothing.

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Filed under GWOT, History, Uncategorized

A Fourth of July Message for These Polarized Times

As I was reposting so much of Carroll “Lex” LeFon’s work, I came to realize how timeless some of it is. Even though he has been gone from us for 9 years, he can still be in the national conversation. As I was reposting his work, I thought it would be nice to time a few of his posts for the days long ago that he originally posted.

This is one of them that just popped up today, 14 years ago from the time he originally sent it to the blogosphere. I must have told WordPress a few years ago to (re)post it today.

I had forgotten about it.

I was just re-reading it, and felt that he could have written this today.

Think this polarization is something new to this country?

Two of the country’s founders, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, one an aristocratic Virginian and the other an established New Englander, had different ideas as to the direction the country should take.

Sound familiar?

The 2 didn’t speak for 15 years.

Lex wrote about this with more eloquence than I could offer…

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Happy 231st, America!

Posted by lex, on July 4th, 2007 Three holidays define the summer months, with Memorial Day at the beginning, Labor Day at the end and the Fourth of July angling towards the middle. The outer markers “belong” in some sense to constituencies of their own, but the Fourth belongs to all of us.

And if we are today deeply divided, dissatisfied even in unprecedented prosperity and always eager to find fault, we can at least take some solace in the fact that it was ever thus: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were co-signers of the Declaration of Independence, both sat on the committee that drafted it and Jefferson himself it was who turned the document of American independence from a laundry list of imperial grievances into a work both eloquent and startlingly radical:

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, History

80 Years + 2 Days Ago

They are all probably long gone now. It is funny, as a 23 year old stationed in Germany, I considered them at the time, old. And now I am far older – by at least 20 years – than them.

When I wasn’t under the ground in the NATO bunker in Germany, I was more often than not in the photo lab by my barracks. The man who ran it, Willi Schubert, became a friend. Besides teaching me the art of developing and printing my film – and Agfa 8×10 paper was $2! – we talked a lot. If you look at my post Europe in B & W, that was just a small portion of those 8 x 10 prints.

As I have mentioned before, in my travels I remember the people I have met along the way as much as the sights.

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Paul Tibbets Interview

This is a fascinating 2 part interview with Kermit Weeks. Tibbets tells the story of the B-29 development and why Boeing wanted to cancel the development. Tibbets was instrumental in helping Boeing finish the development.

He talks about the preparation of the mission, and what happened during that mission.



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Filed under Air Force, History

Odd Statement

Posted By lex, on March 8th, 2011

In this otherwise mundane article about the usual foreign policy tug of war within the Capital Beltway – Libya, this time – we find an interesting insight into President Obama’s grasp of history:

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, History, Military, Politics, Politics and Culture