Tag Archives: History

Armistice Day

With this post time, exactly 102 years ago to the minute, the Armistice took effect ending 4 years of the bloodiest conflict – from 1914 – the world had known. The time was November 11, 1918 at 1100 CET.


The world would forever be changed.

This post details a bit about that War behind that Armistice.

As I have gotten older, I’ve noticed that I frequently reminisce about times years ago. Times that when I was living them, didn’t see any specialness to them.

Vienna fascinated me. And the heart of downtown Vienna is a walk known as “Der Ring” – The Ring – a.k.a. Ringstrasse. It is a beautiful circular walk aligned with parks about 6.5 km – 4 miles. As the name implies, you finish where you started.  I can remember one park with a stand where Johann Strauss used to serenade Viennese on warm spring days. There was the magnificent opera house. And all of those grand old buildings and palaces! With just a bit of imagination, I saw Strauss playing those waltzes in grand ballrooms and chandeliers, with 100s of formally-attired couples dancing.

But something seemed to be missing around them.

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Posted by lex, on February 20, 2008

OK, with a score of 86.7% on this 60 question civil literacy test, your humble scribe is officially chastised, chastened and chap-fallen.

so knew that FDR question though. Got rushed.

Now you go.

11-06-20 Well, having found their link not in the Wayback Machine, I spent a good 15-20 minutes answering their survey wondering if I could beat Lex’s score and at least for me and my browser (Win 10/ Edge) the site didn’t even grade me but came up blank.

Maybe you will have different results – but you have been warned.

Still worth looking over the questions and I thought at least 1 – #42 – had more than 1 right answer


Back To The Index 

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, History

Bomber Command

Posted by lex, on January 13, 2008

The heroics of the 8th Air Force over France and Germany are fairly well known to enthusiasts of the literature. Their mission was to conduct massive, daylight bombardment of the German war machine in Western Europe from airfields in Britain. By 1944 8AF could launch a 2,000 strong wave of B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator bombers over Europe, escorted by a thousand fighters. They flew over 400,000 sorties into that sharply contested continental air space. Their crews went out day after day, even though – with 25% casualty rates on some missions, and roughly half of the US Army Air Corps’ total casualties – their losses were appalling.

Less well known were the logisticians and ops planners who  coordinated these missions while the aircrew rested in preparation for their mission. Over at Michael Yon’s place, retired USAF LCOL Leslie Lennox tells this tale:

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Flying, History

NASA’s Finest Hour

Lately, with this COVID-19, there has been an unexpected benefit. Yes, there is a silver lining to this dark cloud.

One theater chain has been showing a lot more “classic” movies. And for the most part, I think the classic movies are better. How much of the current releases will be fondly remembered 25-50-75 years later? Who won the Best Picture award this year?

Does anybody care?

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Glacier Girl

Posted by lex on June 23rd, 2007

In what has to be graded as an “A” for stick-to-it-iveness (even if they get an “F” for on-time delivery), an entrepreneurial group is preparing to fly a World War II vintage P-38 Lightning from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to London.

The plane was one of six Lightnings and B-17 Flying Fortresses that were to be delivered to the European Theater of Operations in July of 1942. Damn Interesting’s Alan Bellows has more:

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Flying, History, Military

The Roman Influence On Us Today

Those who have read my sporadic posts know that I am fascinated by history. Not only those times when a single individual can have such a profound outcome on the world, but what effect civilizations millennia ago have had on our way of life today.

The BBC History Revealed Magazine is one of the best periodicals I have seen for history. They don’t present history in a dry “scholarly” manner but bring it to life. And an issue may have anything from 60s London to the ancient Egyptians.

The latest issue is devoted almost entirely to life in the Roman Empire – from the military – their tactics and why they were so effective, to slave life .

One section details how the Romans of over 2,000 years ago have influenced us to today…

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A few historical “what if’s”

Those 2 readers who have read my posts concerning history over the years know that I am fascinated by the little “twists and turns” – little things in history that end up having tremendous consequences in the future –

One could make the contention but for a driver’s failure to adhere to the advised newer route – taking the Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sofie – the world would look very different today.

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From the mid 70s through the mid 80s, I did a lot of driving. I was making cold calls, primarily in California. All over California. I must have made 2-3,000 cold calls. There have been times in my life I refer to as photographic moments. When what you have witnessed is permanently embossed in your mind.

I was driving in downtown San Francisco on a small street or alleyway behind a huge complex on Geary Street. In retrospect, the date was fairly easy to narrow – a few days after November 18, 1978. It was an old synagogue as I recall, and in the back had to have been easily over 100 old cars – probably closer to 200, with crates and trunks that looked ready for shipment. I remember seeing a lot of wooden crates with addresses painted – or stenciled – on them.

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Fate and Mystery

As I have mentioned from time to time, I am fascinated by history. Not only how the past made us as we are, but how many seemingly small and inconsequential events can have profound consequences.

I am currently reading a book by a favorite author, Erik Larson, on Winston Churchill during the time of the Blitz.

It’s his contention that a German navigator’s error, in mistakenly jettisoning their bombs over London rather than a country field during inclement weather, led to Hiroshima.

Personally I think that may be a bridge too far, for reasons that I outlined here.

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Filed under Flying, History, Hollywood

He Still Headed The Wrong Way

A German Wrong Way Corrigan?


I just finished watching a YouTube video on a comparison between the Focke-Wulf FW-190 and the P-51 Mustang.

Learned a lot of things.  I knew that the Mustang really came into its own when a Rolls Royce test pilot, Ronald Harker,  decided to substitute the Allison V12 for a Merlin. Didn’t realize that (A) the Merlin was still more powerful at 20,000 feet  than the Allison was at sea-level, and (B) fuel consumption was significantly improved. It was a win-win, and turned the Mustang from a good fighter to an icon. Actually it was a “win-win-win” as it gave the Mustang the high altitude performance that it lacked.

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