Category Archives: History

Cash for Negroes

This advertisement in the Kansas City Star isn't sufficiently well explained to allow me to ease your thoughts by elucidating the reasons it's included in the Johnson County Museum.

This advertisement in the Kansas City Star isn’t sufficiently well explained to allow me to ease your thoughts by elucidating the reasons it’s included in the Johnson County Museum.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

The Kansas City area has as much history as any area of its size in the United States.  Every few hundred yards there’s a sign, “California Trail crossed here“, “Santa Fe Trail  crossed here“,   “Oregon Trail crossed here“, and “Overland Trail crossed here“.

The Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant near De Soto was a huge operation during WWII, the Korean War and somewhat so during Vietnam.  Today it's mostly in ruins, a superfund cleanup site with no funding remaining.  This sign was evidently from one of the times when they had plenty of money to throw away feeding workers.

The Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant near De Soto was a huge operation during WWII, the Korean War and somewhat so during Vietnam. Today it’s mostly in ruins, a superfund cleanup site with no funding remaining. This sign was evidently from one of the times when they had plenty of money to throw away feeding workers.

Yet over and over again as you puruse the exhibits in the Johnson County Historical Museum you’ll find yourself muttering, “Why is this place so Goddamned lame?”

Thanks to Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant employees sweating like good Americans the Korean War didn't last as long as it did and not as many people were killed and injured as actually were.  All our boys have come home from Korea now thanks to these Americans.

Thanks to Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant employees sweating like good Americans the Korean War didn’t last as long as it did and not as many people were killed and injured as actually were. All our boys have come home from Korea now thanks to these Americans.

Some historians possessing PHDs have believed almost all babies born to pioneers nine months after resting overnight within this geographical area were conceived here.

When you have a labor shortage you have to appeal to the baser instincts of every potential labor pool.  Gypsies, tramps and thieves.  Safecrackers.  Negroes.  Patriots.  Whatever works.

When you have a labor shortage you have to appeal to the baser instincts of every potential labor pool. Gypsies, tramps and thieves. Safecrackers. Negroes. Patriots. Whatever works.

There used to be cowboys and Indians, stagecoaches, battles between  the north and south, raids, rapes, plunderings, blunderings, Quantrill, Bloody Bill Anderson, Jessse and Frank James, the Daltons, the Youngers.

Probably similar things are being spoken in Chinese today somewhere in Asia.

Probably similar things are being spoken in Chinese today somewhere in Asia.

But Kansans know everyone was pretty much passing through, either time-wise, or on their way somewhere else geographically.

Harry Truman and Joe Stalin fought on the same side in WWII.  But both had to readjust their thinking rapidly, think on their feet as shown here, because five years later they were on opposite sides.

Harry Truman and Joe Stalin fought on the same side in WWII. But both had to readjust their thinking rapidly, think on their feet as shown here, because five years later they were on opposite sides.

Part of the problem is that even though human beings live fairly long lives, human memories are short and budgets are ‘budget-years‘.  Budget decades might allow for long-term alliances and loyalty between friends measured in years or longer.  But budget-years demand constant realignment to keep the funding rolling in.

To help everyone remember when there's a war going on a lot of strategies have been tried.  War Dad caps were only partially successful because older guys frequently became confused about who's the enemy this week.  Especially if they were shooting at the friends and dodging bullets they fired a short while back.

To help everyone remember when there’s a war going on a lot of strategies have been tried. War Dad caps were only partially successful because older guys frequently became confused about who’s the enemy this week. Especially if they were shooting at the friends and dodging bullets they fired a short while back.

Weaponry ideology has been attempted on numerous occasions.

This was intended as a morale builder.  Unfortunately it allowed friendly fire to be identified with too much certainty by those on the receiving end to become a trend.

This was intended as a morale builder. Unfortunately it allowed friendly fire to be identified with too much certainty by those on the receiving end to become a trend.

But attempting to get Kansans out of the yellow brick road mindsets and into  the Jesse James and John Dillinger approaches to history doesn’t seem to lead anywhere.

If one of those guys had long hair I'd lean to believing it was Bonnie and Clyde.

If one of those guys had long hair I’d lean to believing it was Bonnie and Clyde.

Maybe there’s still something from the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant days still to be learned and useful.

The US might yet make use of an explosion proof clock.  I sort of wish i had me one if I leaned to having wall clocks.

The US might yet make use of an explosion proof clock. I sort of wish i had me one if I leaned to having wall clocks.

Old Jules

Sarcophageal cancer risks

I don't understand this gravestone item except the foot in the lower right corner.  I understand the foot, mostly.

King James 1 died of sarcophageal cancer in 1625 ce. I don’t understand this gravestone item except the foot in the lower right corner. I understand the foot, mostly.

Hi Readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I have some loose ends here in need of exploitation, same as everything else we humans touch need exploiting.  These are photos not quite lousy enough in concept to justify tossing them, but not juicy enough to justify a blog entry built around them.

Olathe Community Theater Association - one block east, currently  the eastern extremity of my attempts to walk somewhere.  Easternmost bastion of artsy fartsyism from where I live and breathe.

Sarcophagus of a church:  Olathe Community Theater Association – one block east, currently the eastern extremity of my attempts to walk somewhere. Easternmost bastion of artsy fartsyism from where I live and breathe.

For instance [above], Olathe, KS is full of neighborhood churches gone to meet Jesus leaving behind useful buildings to be converted by sinners into nothing particularly holy.

Back when everyone thought radioactivity was harmful to human beings a person would see a lot of these.  Today you have to visit a ghost-town to find them.  Anachronistic tomfoolery.  How dare they deny science by being scared of a little radioactivity?

Back when everyone thought radioactivity was harmful to human beings a person would see a lot of these. Today you have to visit a ghost-town to find them. Anachronistic tomfoolery. How dare they deny science by being scared of a little radioactivity?

Sarcophagus of Sunflower US Army Ammunition Plant contains lots of smaller sarcophagi above and below:

Sunflower Ammo shot its wad but that's no reason to get careless.  Hope you folks found other jobs.

Sunflower Ammo shot its wad but that’s no reason to get careless. Hope you folks found other jobs.

Let’s not forget Dorothy, the Tin Man, et all while we explore the ammo plant sarcophagus. [ http://kensas.kdhe.state.ks.us/certop/ISL_Detail?id=C404600052]

West Side Story said it best:  Nobody wants a fella with a social disease.

West Side Story said it best: Nobody wants a fella with a social disease.

There’s a small problem on the cleanup thing.  They runned spang out of money.  The sarcophagus of a once-useful piece of real estate after all the profiteers ran and hid, disclaimed kinship.

Possibly too much honesty displayed here.

Possibly too much honesty displayed here.

Some things probably shouldn’t be put on a sign.

Don't be drinking cereal malt beverages around here.  Whatever the hell those might be.

Don’t be drinking cereal malt beverages around here. Whatever the hell those might be.

This is the nature park outside Sunflower Ammo Plant.

Kansas Museum for the Deaf - one block north, the extremity of my walking distance northward.  Northernmost bastion of artsyfartsyism from where I live and continue to breathe.

Kansas Museum for the Deaf – one block north, the extremity of my walking distance northward. Northernmost bastion of artsyfartsyism from where I live and continue to breathe.

Back in Olathe, one block north.

I’m feeling much better now.  Glad we had this little talk.

Old Jules

Desoto Surprise

Afterthought:  I just found a website telling a lot more about Dean Weller, the man doing all this, and providing far better photos:

http://www.kansastravel.org/grandpasoldfordgarage.htm

Jeanne's son, Michael and I stopped here for a closer look at the car in the window.

Jeanne’s son, Michael and I stopped here for a closer look at the car in the window.

 

A gas pedal, stick for directional control, another for braking, another for gearshift.  Slow and less slow.

A gas pedal, stick for directional control, another for braking, another for gearshift. Slow and less slow.

Hi Readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I had no idea what was in there when I suggested Michael pull over for a look at that car.  But as we got out and peered through shadowing hands to overcome the reflections an old guy sitting in a truck out front spoke to us:

You can come in for a closer look if you want to.”  He got out and unlocked the door to the building.  The place is jam-packed with cars he’s build or restored.  He’s 88 years old been doing this since he retired in the late 1960s.

see through model a1

Built of iron bar shaped to resemble a Model A body, runs good though breezy.

 

They don't make them like this anymore.  Never did, in fact.

They don’t make them like this anymore. Never did, in fact.

Two stories packed with old cars and trucks.  Woodies, racecars, whatever.

Impossible to examine any one car because they're squeezed in tight to make more room.

Impossible to examine any one car because they’re squeezed in tight to make more room.

No fewer than a couple of dozen.  More than enough to serve an 88 year old man for basic transportation.

He says he's run out of room on both floors so he won't be starting any new projects.

He says he’s run out of room on both floors so he won’t be starting any new projects.

Sometimes if you bet a few minutes of life and say some magic words the Universe will cooperate and shoot a surprise out of nowhere.

Old Jules

We few. We happy few. We band of brothers

arrows

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Predominantly draft era veterans end up at VA hospitals I’ve observed.  And we’ve got all the warts and scars to suggest we were a flawed segment of humanity.  Truth is, watching the mannerisms and behaviors we still are.  Flawed, certainly, many also pathetic as individual personalities.  Needy.  Obnoxious.

But strangely enough, there’s a constant undercurrent of moments cutting through the lies on top of lies and BS revealing something I’m ashamed to admit I suspect is a sort of brotherhood.  A smile and wink in an elevator from a guy in a wheelchair with more problems than me.  Thumbs up signs when someone gets called to see one of the sawbones or other ‘team’ members.

Granted, most of the conversations going on are lies about things that happened when in the military.  But when I brought up the subject of the Afghan/Iraq vets suicides the lies stopped and were replaced by frowning thought.  A momentary pause to try to understand.

It’s there to be recognized.  And it can also be found in the mention of the guys on ‘the 10th floor’.  The guys who are ‘still in Vietnam’.  Everyone knows about those guys and they only get mentioned in muted tones, phrases expressing horror and awe.

We few.  We happy few.  We band of brothers who aren’t on the 10th floor.

Old Jules

 

Weston, MO and Leavenworth, KS

Gertude Derks Consort of the late Bartholomew Bless - Born March 5, 1824 - Died February 23, 1892 - Requested in peace

Gertude Derks Consort of the late Bartholomew Bless – Born March 5, 1824 – Died February 23, 1892 – Requested in peace

it's cut onto the side of a stone for someone else.  Bart Bless Sr. is nowhere to be found in the vicinity.  However, the son and daughter-in-law, or perhaps grandson, is buried 20-30 feet away.

it’s cut onto the side of a stone for someone else. Bart Bless Sr. is nowhere to be found in the vicinity. However, the son and daughter-in-law, or perhaps grandson, is buried 20-30 feet away.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Jeanne’s got spring break from her daytime job this week, and my electronic brain I use for a heart these days is defragmenting.  So Jeanne’s taking this occasion to show me around some KS/MO sightseeing Mecca places.  Likely as not there’ll be all manner of highbrow cultural stuff, but yesterday it was Weston, MO [all of it that didn't burn down in 1859, or has been built since the town burned down], and Leavenworth, KS.

That tombstone at the top was in the Weston graveyard and said so much about Weston, humanity, the history of the human race, ethics, morals, compassion, and other matters we could have stopped and I’d have used it as a launchpad for this blog entry, waxed poetic and philosophical until I was sated.

But we didn’t stop there.  We went to the overlook in Weston State Park and looked, me breathlessly, at the mighty Missouri River flowing below.  Read the initials carved inside various hearts carved on trees back when the world was young.  Looked at old barns and whatnot.

Then drove across the river to Leavenworth.  Visited the only old timey Army Surplus Store in Christiandom carrying on the tradition of old odors of mildew, ’98 Mauser bolt action rifles, coal scuttle helmets, and clever posters about huns and loose lips sinking ships.

Afterward we drove to the VA Hospital, discovered a 600 acre ghost town of memories of US military veteran aches, pains, and infirmities.  Heck of an interesting place.

By which time I was worn down to a small frazzle.  We didn’t visit the National Cemetery.

But today after she worked half-day on her usually  night job she took me to see the Westport battleground.  Biggest Civil War battlefield west of the Mississippi River.   Covered with houses and large other sorts of buildings built between Appomattox doings and now.

Just driving around that 53 square mile battlefield looking at all the houses wore me down to a small frazzle.

Luckily, tomorrow I’m going in bright and early for another eccocardiogram, chest xrays, blood lab work and something else I can’t remember right now.  At the OTHER VA Medical Center nearby somewhat.  The one that didn’t lose the Spanish American War.

Old Jules

Why Napoleon’s troops shooting the nose off the Sphinx with artillery in 1799 was a good thing

Hi readers.

A lot of you probably think the world would have been just as good a place if Napoleon’s troops hadn’t shot the nose off the Sphinx practicing with artillery in 1799.  You might even think if they’d just stayed home in France and shot the noses off every Frenchman they could catch the world would be better off?

In the interest of science, Napoleon's troops couldn't know what would happen up there without shooting some artillery at it to find out.  Same as Hiroshima and Nagasaki later on.  Theories are worthless unless they're tested.

In the interest of science, Napoleon’s troops couldn’t know what would happen up there without shooting some artillery at it to find out. Same as Hiroshima and Nagasaki later on. Theories are worthless unless they’re tested.

Well, you’d be wrong.  Napoleon’s troops did just the right thing blowing off the nose of Sphinx.

Keep in mind, these were Frenchmen.  All they knew how to do at that point was try to take the heads off whatever got in the way.  But they saved the Sphinx.  If they'd left it alone until the British took over in 1802 the Sphinx would be in London.  Housed in a wonder-of-the-world-sized British Museum.  Same as everything else the British could haul off from every country they ever conquered.

Keep in mind, these were Frenchmen. All they knew how to do at that point was try to take the heads off whatever got in the way. But they saved the Sphinx. If they’d left it alone until the British took over in 1802 the Sphinx would be in London. Housed in a wonder-of-the-world-sized British Museum. Same as everything else the British could haul off from every country they ever conquered.

Once Napoleon’s troops finished nobody every had to do it again.  Anyone with half-an-eye could see what would happen if you shot the Sphinx in the nose with a piece of 1799 field artillery. 

And most importantly, Sphinx was flawed.  By 1802 when the British took Egypt they’d become selective, only stealing the most perfect artifacts.  Sphinx got to stay home in Egypt because of French artillery practice.

Which didn’t happen to the Rosetta Stone, which French troops found and got taken away from them by the British.

From the time Cleopatra offed herself with that adder, shortly thereafter, nobody knew how to read Egyptian hieroglyphs.  But thanks to those French troops, someone decided to steal the Rosetta Stone.

The Rosetta Stone is in the British Museum in London today.  It's been there since shortly after British officials stole it in 1802.  Most likely it will continue to reside in the British Museum until US troops have finished whatever they're doing in Europe.  When we finally bring the troops home from WWII the final act will be to drop the 8th Army into London, take over Heathrow Airport, and bring the Rosetta Stone and everything else in the British Museum to the United States where it rightfully belongs.

The Rosetta Stone is in the British Museum in London today. It’s been there since shortly after British officials stole it in 1802. Most likely it will continue to reside in the British Museum until US troops have finished whatever they’re doing in Europe. When we finally bring the troops home from WWII the final act will be to drop the 8th Army into London, take over Heathrow Airport, and bring the Rosetta Stone and everything else in the British Museum to the United States where it rightfully belongs.

Created 196 BC
Discovered 1799
Present location British Museum

The Rosetta Stone is an ancient Egyptian granodiorite stele inscribed with a decree issued at Memphis in 196 BC on behalf of King Ptolemy V. The decree appears in three scripts: the upper text is Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the middle portion Demotic script, and the lowest Ancient Greek. Because it presents essentially the same text in all three scripts (with some minor differences among them), it provided the key to the modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_Stone

When the contents of the British Museum finally are transported to the Smithsonian in Washington DC the British Empire will finally be a footnote of history, along with Napoleon, the Egyptians, and other backward peoples everywhere.

Old Jules

Bonfire of the vanities

Hi Readers:

I’ve got this box of US Archives microfilm of all the US Army Civil War correspondence for the Department of New Mexico and Arizona staring at me.  Wasted a phone call to the  Arizona State Archives, talked to a clerk who’d have her boss get back to me if they wanted them.

Microfilm of Yankee Army Civil War correspondence

No joy.  I suppose I might yet find a university, or the NM or Texans might want them for their State Archives.  It’s got the California Volunteers activities, and the Union perspectives on what all those Texas troops were doing raising hell up the Rio Grande.  Nice description of how, when the last Texans had retreated to Fort Davis, left their wounded in the hospital there for the Union to treat when they arrived.

Apache got there between the exit of the Texans and the arrival of the Union troops.  Slaughtered them all in their beds, mutilated the corpses.

We’re talking good stuff here.  Somebody sure as hell ought to want it.

Maybe I can swing up by Ruidoso and blackmail the Mescalero with it.

Or maybe it’s time for all that stuff to go into the burn pile.

Old Jules

Microfilm of Yankee Army Civil War correspondence

Packing up things I came across a box containing 30-some spools of microfilm I bought from the US Archives 20 years ago.  All the US military correspondence in the Department of New Mexico and Arizona, 1856 [I think] through 1866.  Includes California Volunteers after they crossed the Yuma River headed for the Rio Grande, also the Apache campaign and Navajo 1863-64 business.  And the late-1850s Bonneville campaign against the Apache with the occasional Navajo thrown in to spice it up.

I don’t think I’m going back to a place in my life where I’m staring at microfilm reader screens anymore.  If any of you have any interest in owning those spools, or know anyone who’d like to have them for the price of parcel post sending them, contact me at josephusminimus@hotmail.com.

Or if you have any ideas about some research library might like to own them under those conditions.  Or any other ideas how I can find someone who might get some use out of them.  Scads of interesting, intriguing, baffling stuff in there.

I’m not carrying them around with me anymore.

Old Jules

Buffalo soldiers, banana wars and budget fights

Buffalo soldeirs

We white people have had a fairly rough time of it.  Black buffalo soldiers running around all over the west whupping our Indians and taking their land away from them.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_soldier

No sooner finished beating the last of the tribes onto their own land on reservations than those buffalo soldiers were off getting us into the Banana Wars.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_Wars

Hell, a century ago they were down in Honduras and Nicaragua rampaging around protecting the interests of the American Fruit Company.  Yeah, no oil, no heroine.  Bananas.  Fruit.

General Smedley Butler was in command, and here’s what he had to say about those buffalo soldiers and what they did:

Perhaps the single most active military officer in the Banana Wars was U.S. Marine CorpsMajor General, Smedley Butler, who saw action in Honduras in 1903, served in Nicaragua enforcing American policy from 1909–1912, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his role in Veracruz in 1914, and a second Medal of Honor for bravery while “crush(ing) the Caco resistance” in Haiti in 1915. In 1935, Butler wrote in his famous book War Is a Racket:

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_Wars

Like General Smedley Butler, most of us white people feel pretty badly about what those Buffalo Soldiers did to our Indians and those Mexicans in Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua.  But now even though it’s Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s still going on a century later.

Doesn’t be anything we white people can do to stop it.  They’re taking over.  Can’t even get a budget passed in Congress because of what the Banana wars are costing.

About all that’s left for us white people to say is, “Thank you for your service.

Old Jules

Pore old Columbus

goat2

Think about it. The guy got laughed all over Europe trying to sell an idea.  Didn’t mean any harm, just wanted to find a short way to Asia.  Finally got old Isabella to take him seriously enough to finance a looksee, found what he wasn’t looking for.

So what does he get for a reward?  Hell.  They name WASHINGTON freaking DC after him.  Sheeze.  Everyone in town snorting COLUMBIAN.  Not enough?  Columbia, South Carolina.  Home of Fort Jackson, armpit of the world [where I went through basic training in 1961].

Columbus, Texas, Columbus, Ohio, Columbus, Georgia, sheeze, haven’t we done enough to the guy?

Gets the blame for what all those black buffalo soldiers in the US Army did to the poor Comanche and Apache. 

Think about it.  Poor stupid dork went home and got criticized something awful for the place not being Asia.  As though he put the damned place there. 

Then all that stuff you wouldn’t think even his admirers would wish on their worst enemies.  Naming pestholes and rat nests after him.

Then along comes the late 20th and early 21st Century and all the forces of political correctness and ancestral blame focus on him once a year.  Throw rotten eggs at him.  Dis him.  Call him ugly names and say he was responsible for genocide.  [Well, maybe he was, a little, during that last trip.  But by the standards of the time it was okay.  Hell, even today it's okay if done by the right people to the right people.]

He just wasn’t that bad a guy.  Just wrong place at the right time.  Couldn’t be helped, more or less.  And he did bring syphilis back to Europe.  That ought to count for something.

Why not cut him some slack.  Roll up a $100 bill and snort a line of  Columbian.  Then whisper, “Thanks Chris.”

Old Jules

http://youtu.be/yhx6lXm_jy0