USA Home Front 1950’s

A wonderful summary of the home front in the 1950’s. My parents didn’t get their first TV until about 1959 or so. It was also a used B&W.

Pacific Paratrooper

By the time WWII was over, the American people were exhausted. They had given their all between enduring the Great Depression and then depriving themselves even more for the war effort. They had had rationing and lost their men. They wanted to forget it all and as quickly as possible. They wanted their lives to change, to move forward and they went for these goals with both feet.

The military at home was being drastically reduced and there was ample talk of eliminating the Marine Corps entirely. Among those in favor of that budget-cut included such men as: Omar Bradley, Dwight Eisenhower and Louis Johnson, Secretary of Defense. Johnson was responsible for the Corps being down to only 70,000 men, spread throughout the world.

When Pearl Harbor was attacked, the whole country, no matter where they were or what they were doing, remember hearing the news and were immediately aware…

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Star Trek is Alive and Well

Star Trek is alive and well… in Israel.

Even though the breakthrough imaginary crew of Gene Roddenberry did not include a Jewish character.

Indulge me here…  especially one blogger who indulges in green smoothies… but this sets the stage:

Chekov is miraculously cured though the repair of a ruptured brain artery – without drills, scalpels or stitches.

The surgery is performed by a miracle device placed on his forehead.


Well, Star Trek’s vision is coming to fruition.

An Israeli engineering company has developed a prototype “knifeless” surgical instrument using ultrasound.  It utilizes 3D imaging to control the precision targeting of the ultrasounds to eradicate a growth.  You ladies will find it interesting – one potential application is removal of uterine fibroids.  Another use depicted is the treatment of Parkinson’s.

Please watch.  As Spock would have said, “Fascinating”.

As you Trekkies may know, Dr. “Bones” McCoy is noted for his famous “doctor” quotes.  In “Mirror, Mirror,” Dr. McCoy says determinedly to Capt. Kirk, “I’m a doctor!  Not an engineer!”

He was wrong.

This doctor of the future IS an engineer.

And most of all, thank you, Mr. Roddenberry.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake from Scratch, Anyone?

The major ingredients

It was surprising when quite a few friends and family let me know they liked Pineapple Upside Down cake.  It was as if I was King George and  I found out I had a receding heir line.  (I know.  Lousy pun.)

Even my oldest daughter said she liked pineapple upside down cake – you know, the one who doesn’t like mushrooms or my fabulous Maytag Bleu Cheese salad.  LOL

Making a pineapple upside down cake was a challenge.  I had not even CUT a pineapple before.  Pineapple cores s’mores.  A pineapple was also WWII slang for an American grenade.  The kind that blows up.

I got the general recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, my Buddhist kitchen bible of sorts.  Indeed, I did a sutra chanting before making the first cut into a pineapple.

But the ingredients were simple and commonplace – aside from the pineapple:

  • Brown sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Maraschino cherries (because a kind and deserving gal wished for it)
  • Unbleached flour
  • Unsalted butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • Two and a half eggs, and
  • Salt


Taking the first slice into pineapple was like a mother going into labor for the first time.  Not the pain – the apprehension.  Should the cut be made to follow the pineapple shape?  Or straight down?

How much of the center do I cut out?  I imagined a Dole pineapple slice…

Heck, I cut two pineapples up to get the recommended four cups then threw them onto a skillet with the brown sugar.  So far, so good?

Pineapple chunks a-stewing. It was amazing to see how much they shrunk.

The conglomeration was then strained and the sweet smelling liquid was returned to the pan off the heat.  The butter and vanilla extract was whisked in.

Butter and vanilla extract added off-heat and before whisking.

Returning to the heat, the concoction was then simmered until the bubbles became “larger”.  Talk about ambiguity.  🙂  (Now you ladies know how us logically thinking men feel when you say, “Can’t you see it?  It’s the blue car with the thing-a-ma-jig on it.”)

The bubbles got “much larger” than this. 🙂

Every last drop was poured into a 9″ cake pan.

I made the cake batter as per the recipe.  Importantly, it recommended two eggs plus the whites only from the third egg.  It’s purpose was to help the cake support the weight of the pineapple and molasses-like syrup.

The simmered pineapples were laid into the cake pan and syrup then dotted with the cherries.  The batter – which was quite thick – was carefully dropped on the pineapples and smoothed over.  I did my best to ensure the batter reached the sides but fell a tad short in some areas.  Darn it.

Before heading into the oven.
Before heading into the oven.  I couldn’t make it to the edge all the way around.

After 45 minutes in a oven preheated to 350F, it was done!  During cooling, I took a thin paring knife and carefully separated the cake from the sides.

After ten minutes on a cooling rack, it was time for the showdown: me against gravity.  Had to flip the darn thing over without messing it up…which I did before. 🙂

The chanting did me well, I guess.  The flipping went flawlessly.

Success - on the flipping part!  Not the taste!
Success – on the flipping part! Not the taste!

So who likes pineapple upside down cake?

We’ll find out today if the cores-smore’s are the Snowden of baking.  I hope I cut enough of the core out.

Another Prison Camp Discovered

Not to bore anyone but a few of you readees may recall my dad abd older siblings were in essentially peison camps during WWII just for looking like the enemy.

Well, researchers found another prison almost forgotten due to obscurity. This prison camp was not far from Spokane.

While the prisoners were paid up ti $60 a month, they did build many mikes of road.

History is what we make of it.

But blogs like ours are sure better than the misguided media.

GENUINE Home Made Baklava


We had a special guest come over and VOILA!  A baklava baking party!

My Jordanian lady friend “A” and I made plans for her to stop by and teach us how to make baklava – the authentic Jordanian way.  Can’t get more genuine than that, can you?


All the kids were eager to help out, including Jack and Brooke’s good Syrian classmates.  It was really great to hear their classmates talk in Arabic with “A”!

Brooke and her friend were responsible for the delicious syrup made out of cinnamon sticks, lime zest, cloves, water and sugar…oh, and honey too.  It really turned out fabulous!  You know – the girlie touch.

The girlie touch!
The girlie touch!

Constructing it was quite simple.  “A” had brought chopped almonds and walnuts which served as the main yummy part (with the syrup!).  She layered sheet after sheet of phyllo dough with unsalted butter brushed in between.  Then came the yummy nut filling topped with more phyllo dough.

It was baked in two stages at 350F – 30 minutes at the lowest rack setting then finished off with 30 minutes with the rack raised to the second tier from the top.

Man, it was really starting to smell great while baking…  When it was done, “A” carefully  cut the baklava into squares, then into the triangles you saw in the first photo.  She then slowly drizzled the sweet syrup all over the pastry through a strainer.

Done!  Let cool for several hours and enjoy!

We sure did!

Thanks, “A” and the kids!


Impregnable Secret Place

This was making it around in emails today just thought it was TOO funny…while reflecting on dilemmas facing our good country today.

It went like this:

“If we want to keep our nation’s secrets a ‘SECRET’, then we should store them where President Obama stores his college transcripts and birth certificate.”

Do you have a secret hiding place?  🙂

Another Trial or Two

I thought this wonderfully written blog offers a lot of thought and reflection on ourselves.

Shootin' the Breeze

The man on the bottom, whose head had been slammed into the concrete sidewalk, whose nose was broken by the fists of the man on top, had no gun.  The man on top continued the assault.  He continued it after the man on the bottom lost consciousness.  He continued it and the man on the bottom sustained brain damage.  The man on the bottom died.

At the trial, the man on the top, seen by eyewitnesses, would be convicted of murder or, if you prefer, depending on intent and other factors, manslaughter.  Would that be expected?  Would that be fair, provided the evidence was presented at trial?  Use your imagination.

Or, imagine the man on the bottom did not die, but just had the head injuries described and no brain damage, just the unfortunate victim of assault.  It probably happens every day somewhere.

Does it matter if the man on…

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Two Old Men and a Father’s Day Anguish

Its selfish to reblog your own story but I was thinking of Old Man Jack just now and realized how much I miss his quips and wisdom. I hope you’re sleeping comfortably, Jack…

Masako and Spam Musubi

It was Monday, Valentines’ Day 2001.  My wife was five months pregnant at the time we moved into this wonderful neighborhood smothered in US Naval glory.  After I came back from work the next day, she told me a kind old man stopped her as she was wheeling out the trash bin.  She said he hobbled from across our quiet street lined with peppercorn trees then kindly wheeled them out for her.

I found out the “old man” was a World War II combat vet.  Worse yet, he was a sailor in the Pacific – he fought the Japanese in World War II.

“Holy crap,” flashed through my mind, “What if he finds out we’re Japanese?”

Twelve years later, I was honored to have been a pallbearer at his funeral.

I was so far off base about my first thoughts on Old Man Jack that even George Burns could have…

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She Rode in the Back of the Bus

I just thought this was a wonderful glimpse into our history – just one hundred years ago.

Almost Chosen People

Mary Custis Lee



Hattip to my friend Jay Anderson for advising me of this tidbit of history.  Today is the 178th birthday of Mary Custis Lee, the eldest daughter of Robert E. Lee.  She could be a pill.  Described by her siblings as “bossy” and “stern”, she asked only one thing out of life:  her own way.  She did not suffer those she considered fools gladly, and she was never shy about reminding people that she was the eldest daughter of Robert E. Lee.

On June 13, 1902 she and her black maid had sat down on an Alexandria street car, laden with packages.  Miss Lee was now in her 67th year, so no doubt she was tired.  She and her maid sat in the back of the street car.  A “Jim Crow” ordinance had recently been passed in Alexandria , and among other odious provisions it mandated racial segregation on street cars, with…

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An Unexpected Honor Guard

First class.  Awesome.  Fantastic.  Honorable.

I was in humble disbelief.


Delta is my airline of choice…and I had many reasons for choosing Delta.

Now, I have another reason.  And I am grateful.

Delta has an Honor Guard.  That’s right.  An Honor Guard.


Look at the passengers behind the glass.  They were fortunate to have watched.  Imagine what they were feeling.  I wish I had the opportunity.

What do you all think about this service…from an airline?