I Graduated Last in My Class

It’s time I came clean. Not many people know this fact about me. Some would say they aren’t surpised. 🙂 I graduated last in my class in the 8th grade. True fact. I will get back to that later. What I want to let you know about will be from my Junior High school years. I will touch on the 7th grade tournament but I am saving the majority of that for a complete blog all by itself. These are some random thoughts about Junior High School

 

JH was Cool

These years were very cool. It was the first time in your life you got to move around for classes and you had some freedom between classes. It was a couple of years of experimenting and actually being able to participate in sports every night after school that made Junior High a special place. It was also cool to get out of Manito.

 

Dancing

There was an odd phenomenon called dancing. It was a horrible thing to do in Junior High school. The problem with this was it required that male and females to touch each other. But what came with it was the stigma of knowing how to dance. The school always had a back-to-school dance about the second week of the year. It was from 7-9 in the gym. The vast majority of the boys hung together and the girls all huddled off to the side. Every once in awhile some couples put on an attempt to dance but that was far and in between. What went on was the gossip that floated around the gym. Some girl would come over to the boys and tell us so and so like one of the boys. Later, a boy floated over to the girls and told what had been said in their group. This went on for about an hour and a half. By the time you worked up the courage to ask a girl to dance there was 15-20 minutes left. It was a definite social experiment.

Another thing that happened was in PE, Mrs. Rossi would have a unit in dancing. This was not good. You could actually get paired up with a girl that carried cooties and you had no control over it. She lined us up and we called out a number and that was our partner. We did that several different times and was quite embarrassing.

 

Arts and Crafts

 

We had to take Arts and Crafts. Mr Guy was the teacher and he was a very odd duck. Now for me, this was one of the worst classes that I could be in. I had/have absolutely no talent in art or in the making of crafts. It was a boring class to be in. One assignment was to sculpture something. I didn’t do until he announced that it was due tomorrow so those not done should take their sculpture block home to complete. I had done nothing to mine at all. Mid-evening, my brother Lyle asked me what it was and what was supposed to be done with it. I told him and explained I wasn’t going to do the work. He said very little and I went to bed. Lo and behold, in the morning there was this great looking sphinx sitting on the table for me to take to class. I was a bit embarrassed because I knew and everyone knew I had no talent. I took it to class and turned it in. Just before the bell was to ring, Mr. Guy called me up and asked me if I had actually completed the project or did someone else do it. What am I to do? Just what I need to do to get a decent grade…. I told him I did it all by myself. I got an A on the project but he and I both knew I didn’t do it. Thanks, Lyle!

 

Baseball

It was a blast. Two weeks before the first day of class we are practicing baseball every day. I had never experienced anything like it and Junior High was going to be so much fun. As the practices progressed, it appeared I was going to be the starting shortstop as a 7th grader on the 8th-grade team. Until….. one practice the catcher (I don’t remember who it was) got a ball fouled off his knuckles and broke two fingers. Coach Rudd took me aside and said I was to be the teams’ catcher for the season. I was just happy to play and that year and that position was a lot of fun. Jim Petty was a fireballing pitcher and he and I had played baseball in the summer for years. I loved being catcher as you were into every play of the game.

I remember two particular plays and they likely were in different games. I wasn’t a power hitter but a gap man. I was up in the bottom of the 6th inning and we were down 2 runs and the bases were loaded. Do you think I hit one out of the park? Well, not exactly. I hit the ball hard just over the second baseman’s glove that rolled on the grass in the outfield and just kept rolling and rolling. I was fast enough to make it a grand slam and we won in the 7th inning by two runs.

Another play I remember was in the field behind the plate. No big deal but I remember this. The pitch by Petty got away from me or he threw it wild with a runner on third base and the baseball rolled to the fence. I went back to get it and tossed it backward towards the plate as Jim Petty dove into the runner and he was called out. Just a cool blind throw that ended the inning. I think I remember that because the umpire told me it was the best play he had ever seen in a Junior High game.

 

Getting Stitches

Letting me share two stories with you about getting injured in the 7th grade in PE. One day we were playing flag football. Both the 7th and 8th grade boys played together. I was playing defense when the quarterback threw the ball downfield when I jumped to catch it. Problem was that at the same time on offense Leonard Wheat jumped to catch it and his teeth caught me just above the right eye and I was instantly bleeding all over. Whoever the PE teacher was sent a kid to the office to let Mr. Rudd know we needed an ambulance. He didn’t call anybody. He drove his car out to the field, put me in it and drove m to Havana hospital. It was the first time I ever heard a teacher/principal cuss as we were a fes miles from town he said, “You have a hell of a gash there, Tommy. You’re going to get damn stitches for that.” Well, they called my mom from the school and she met us there. I had 14 stitches. Ten above my eye and 4four on the eyelid. My actual eye had no damage. I went to school the next day.

In the spring I was pitching softball in PE when a line drive smacked me in the right eye. They called my mom and she took me home. I didn’t go to school the next day…….. because it was game one of the 1964 World Series and the Cardinals and Yankees were playing.

 

 

7th grade Basketball

Basketball was a blast. It was about this time of the year that I really started to like girls. However, I will add that it was also becasue girls started liking me. You see, I was the only 7th grader started on the lightweight team. Mark Thompon, Dennis Specketer, John Middleton, Lynn Vogel and myself were the primary starters. We had first year coach/science teach Frank Gassmann, a new SIU grad, as our leader. The core 5 of the team tried to emulate the players from the starting five of the then Bradley Braves. I was Joe Strawder, somebody else was LaVern Tart, another Bobby Joe Mason and I don’t remember the other three.

Our season was loads of fun as we kept winning and winning. We were 22-0 going into the state tournament to be played in Rantoul. It was because of this success that I can remember that my life was a blast. The State Touney brought out the entire towns and neighboring villages along with our own student body with fan busses and such. More on the State Tournament in a few weeks.

 

Jamboree

Remember this? The Mason County Jamboree. I don’t have anything to say about it but I enjoy it and won the baseball toss four years in a row. However, it leads into my next story.

Graduated Last in My Class

I suppose I shouldn’t be admitting this and should be ashamed that I graduated last in my class when diplomas were given out a graduation. I still shake my head but there was to be graduation on Thursday night at the Forman Junior High School. On the previous weekend I was in the Mason County Jamboree on Saturday and all went well. That night I began to feel bad. All day Sunday I laid on the couch in some pain not doing so well. My parents thought maybe I had hurt myself at the Jamboree. They mentioned a rupture and to an 8th grade kid that was an embarrassment.

Finally, Monday morning they took me to the hospital and I was diagnosed with appendicitis. They did emergency surgery Monday afternoon and I got out of the hospital on Wednesday. I missed three days of school for it. Come ThursdayI really hadn’t walked very far but about 5pm I insisted I go to the graduation. My parents allowed me if I walked sparingly. The school was in an uproar as they had practiced the ceremony and now I had put everything out of kilter. So they made an administrative decision. Instead of changing everything they just added me to the end. So, they added a chair for me at the end they called my name to graduate and I  walked up there slowly to the podium and received my diploma. Since I was last the crowd cheered loudly ( I am sure it was ALL for me) and officially graduate last in my class.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baseball History for February 18th

Baseball History

1943 New York entrepreneur William D. Cox purchases the bankrupt Phillies from the National League. The 33 year-old new owner will be banned from baseball in November by commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis when he admits to making some “sentimental” bets on his team during the season.

1954 In their first major trade since moving from St. Louis, the Orioles, formerly known as the Browns, exchange outfielders with the Senators, sending Roy Sievers to Washington for Gil Conan. Sievers will spend five solid seasons in the nation’s capital, making the All-Star squad twice, and Conan, playing less than two seasons in Baltimore, compiles a .266 batting average with three home runs, appearing in 155 games.

1960 Walter O’Malley completes the purchase of land just north of downtown Los Angeles as the site of a new ballpark for his transplanted Brooklyn club. The Dodger owner paid a reported $494,000 for the property at Chavez Ravine, believed to be worth $92,000 at the time.

1967 During a special softball exhibition game, pitcher Eddie Feigner strikes out six consecutive major leaguers, a group that includes five future Hall of Famers. The victims include Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Brooks Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Roberto Clemente and Maury Wills.

1998 Long time baseball announcer Harry Caray dies at the age of 84 after suffering a heart attack four days earlier while having Valentine’s Day dinner with his wife, Dutchie. The colorful “Mayor of Rush Street” started his career in 1945 with the Cardinals and also did play-by-play for the A’s, White Sox, and the Cubs during his 52 years in the broadcast booth
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1999 The Blue Jays trade Roger Clemens to the Yankees for David Wells, Graeme Lloyd, and Homer Bush.

2005 After five months of captivity in a Venezuelan jungle surrounded by explosives to keep her from escaping, Ugueth Urbina’s mother, Maura Villarreal, is rescued during a daring eight-hour police raid. The kidnappers had demanded $6 million ransom from the Tigers’ relief pitcher for his mom’s freedom.

2009 After considering to play for Atlanta, a location which is closer to his family, Ken Griffey Jr. agrees to a one-year deal with the Seattle Mariners. The 39 year-old outfielder joins a list of superstars, Babe Ruth (Boston), Willie Mays (New York), and Hank Aaron (Milwaukee), to choose the city where they played with their first team as the place to end their major league career.

2009 At 11:25 a.m., the last remaining piece of Shea Stadium, the ramp to section 5, is demolished, marking the end of the New York ballpark where the Mets played for 44 years. The space will become a parking lot for the team’s new home, the $800-million Citi Field, which will open in April.

2011 The Orioles officially announce the signing of Vladimir Guerrero after the 36 year-old passed his physical. The team’s new everyday designated hitter, who batted .300 with 29 homers and 115 RBIs with the American League Champion Rangers last season, agrees to a one-year, $8 million deal to play in Baltimore.

2011 In the first game of the season, Garrett Wittels goes 0-for-4 against Southeastern Louisiana, leaving the Florida International University junior two games short of Robin Ventura’s Division l record of hitting in 58 consecutive games, established by the former major leaguer in 1987. The overall NCAA mark is 60 straight games, set by Damian Costantino playing for Division III Salve Regina from 2001-03.

February 9, 1870- National Weather Bureau Signed Into Law

A Joint Congressional Resolution requiring the Secretary of War “to provide for taking meteorological observations at the military stations in the interior of the continent, and at other points in the States and Territories…and for giving notice on the northern lakes and on the seacoast, by magnetic telegraph and marine signals, of the approach and force of storms” was introduced. Congress passed the resolution and on February 9, 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant signed it into law. A new national weather service had been born within the U.S. Army Signal Service’s Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce that would affect the daily lives of most of the citizens of the United States through its forecasts and warnings for years to come. Gen. Albert J. Myer served as the first Director of the new weather service.

For the Whole Story

he National Weather Service (NWS) is an agency of the United States government that is tasked with providing weather forecasts, warnings of hazardous weather, and other weather-related products to organizations and the public for the purposes of protection, safety, and general information. It is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) branch of the Department of Commerce, and is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland (located just outside Washington, D.C.). The agency was known as the United States Weather Bureau from 1890 to 1970, when it adopted its current name.
The NWS performs its primary task through a collection of national and regional centers, and 122 local weather forecast offices (WFOs). As the NWS is a government agency, most of its products are in the public domain and available free of charge.

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In 1870, the Weather Bureau of the United States was established through a joint resolution of Congress signed by President Ulysses S. Grant with a mission to “provide for taking meteorological observations at the military stations in the interior of the continent and at other points in the States and Territories…and for giving notice on the northern (Great) Lakes and on the seacoast by magnetic telegraph and marine signals, of the approach and force of storms.” The agency was placed under the Secretary of War as Congress felt “military discipline would probably secure the greatest promptness, regularity, and accuracy in the required observations.” Within the Department of War, it was assigned to the U.S. Army Signal Service under Brigadier General Albert J. Myer. General Myer gave the National Weather Service its first name: The Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce.
Cleveland Abbe – who began developing probabilistic forecasts using daily weather data sent by the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and Western Union, which he convinced to back the collection of such information in 1869 – was appointed as the Bureau’s first chief meteorologist. In his earlier role as the civilian assistant to the chief of the Signal Service, Abbe urged the Department of War to research weather conditions to provide a scientific basis behind the forecasts; he would continue to urge the study of meteorology as a science after becoming Weather Bureau chief. While a debate went on between the Signal Service and Congress over whether the forecasting of weather conditions should be handled by civilian agencies or the Signal Service’s existing forecast office, a Congressional committee was formed to oversee the matter, recommending that the office’s operations be transferred to the Department of War following a two-year investigation.
The agency first became a civilian enterprise in 1890, when it became part of the Department of Agriculture. Under the oversight of that branch, the Bureau began issuing flood warnings and fire weather forecasts, and output the first daily national surface weather maps; it also established a network to distribute warnings for tropical cyclones as well as a data exchange service that relayed European weather analysis to the Bureau and vice versa. The first Weather Bureau radiosonde was launched in Massachusetts in 1937, which prompted a switch from routine aircraft observation to radiosondes within two years. The Bureau prohibited the word “tornado” from being used in any of its weather products out of concern for inciting panic (a move contradicted in its intentions by the high death tolls in past tornado outbreaks due to the lack of advanced warning) until 1938, when it began disseminating tornado warnings exclusively to emergency management personnel.
The Bureau would later be moved to the Department of Commerce in 1940. On July 12, 1950, bureau chief Francis W. Reichelderfer officially lifted the agency’s ban on public tornado alerts in a Circular Letter, noting to all first order stations that “Weather Bureau employees should avoid statements that can be interpreted as a negation of the Bureau’s willingness or ability to make tornado forecasts”, and that a “good probability of verification” exist when issuing such forecasts due to the difficulty in accurately predicting tornadic activity. However it would not be until it faced criticism for continuing to refuse to provide public tornado warnings and preventing the release of the USAF Severe Weather Warning Center’s tornado forecasts (pioneered in 1948 by Air Force Capt. Robert C. Miller and Major Ernest Fawbush) beyond military personnel that the Bureau issued its first experimental public tornado forecasts in March 1952. In 1957, the Bureau began using radars for short-term forecasting of local storms and hydrological events, using modified versions of those used by Navy aircraft to create the WSR-57 (Weather Surveillance Radar, 1957), with a network of WSR systems being deployed nationwide through the early 1960s; some of the radars were upgraded to WSR-74 models beginning in 1974.
The Weather Bureau became part of the Environmental Science Services Administration when that agency was formed in August 1966. The Environmental Science Services Administration was renamed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on October 1, 1970, with the enactment of the National Environmental Policy Act. At this time, the Weather Bureau became the National Weather Service.[5] NEXRAD (Next Generation Radar), a system of Doppler radars deployed to improve the detection and warning time of severe local storms, replaced the WSR-57 and WSR-74 systems between 1988 and 1997

“Miniaturized Electronic Circuits” Patent on February 6, 1959

 

Jack St. Clair Kilby

Kilby received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was an honorary member of Acacia Fraternity. In 1947, he received a degree in Electrical Engineering. He obtained his master of science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Extension in Milwaukee (which later became the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee) in 1950, while simultaneously working at Centralab in Milwaukee.

In mid-1958, Kilby, as a newly employed engineer at Texas Instruments (TI), did not yet have the right to a summer vacation. He spent the summer working on the problem in circuit design that was commonly called the “tyranny of numbers” and finally came to the conclusion that manufacturing the circuit components en masse in a single piece of semiconductor material could provide a solution. On September 12 he presented his findings to management, which included Mark Shepherd. He showed them a piece of germanium with an oscilloscope attached, pressed a switch, and the oscilloscope showed a continuous sine wave, proving that his integrated circuit worked and thus that he had solved the problem. U.S. Patent 3,138,743 for “Miniaturized Electronic Circuits”, the first integrated circuit, was filed on February 6, 1959.[4] Along with Robert Noyce (who independently made a similar circuit a few months later), Kilby is generally credited as co-inventor of the integrated circuit.
Jack Kilby went on to pioneer military, industrial, and commercial applications of microchip technology. He headed teams that built both the first military system and the first computer incorporating integrated circuits. He later co-invented both the hand-held calculator and the thermal printer that was used in portable data terminals.
In 1970, he took a leave of absence from TI to work as an independent inventor. He explored, among other subjects, the use of silicon technology for generating electrical power from sunlight. From 1978 to 1984 he held the position of Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M University.

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He is also the inventor of the handheld calculator and the thermal printer, for which he has patents. He also has patents for seven other inventions.
In 1983, Kilby retired from Texas Instruments.

Yalta Conference February 4-11,1945- Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt in Attendance

Yalta_Conference_1945_Churchill,_Stalin,_Roosevelt

The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, held from February 4 to 11, 1945, was the World War II meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Premier Joseph Stalin, respectively, for the purpose of discussing Europe’s post-war reorganization. The conference convened in the Livadia Palace near Yalta in Crimea.

The meeting was intended mainly to discuss the re-establishment of the nations of war-torn Europe. Within a few years, with the Cold War dividing the continent, Yalta became a subject of intense controversy. To some extent, it has remained controversial.

Yalta was the second of three wartime conferences among the Big Three. It had been preceded by the Tehran Conference in 1943, and was followed by the Potsdam Conference in July 1945, which was attended by Stalin, Churchill (who was replaced halfway through by the newly elected British Prime Minister Clement Attlee) and Harry S. Truman, Roosevelt’s successor.

 

All three leaders were attempting to establish an agenda for governing post-war Europe. They wanted to keep peace between post-world war countries. On the Eastern Front, the front line at the end of December 1943 remained in the Soviet Union but, by August 1944, Soviet forces were inside Poland and parts of Romania as part of their drive west. By the time of the Conference, Red Army Marshal Georgy Zhukov’s forces were 65 km (40 mi) from Berlin. Stalin’s position at the conference was one which he felt was so strong that he could dictate terms. According to U.S. delegation member and future Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, “It was not a question of what we would let the Russians do, but what we could get the Russians to do.” Moreover, Roosevelt hoped for a commitment from Stalin to participate in the United Nations.
Stalin, insisting that his doctors opposed any long trips, rejected Roosevelt’s suggestion to meet at the Mediterranean. He offered instead to meet at the Black Sea resort of Yalta, in the Crimea. Stalin’s fear of flying also played a contributing factor in this decision. Each leader had an agenda for the Yalta Conference: Roosevelt wanted Soviet support in the U.S. Pacific War against Japan, specifically invading Japan, as well as Soviet participation in the UN; Churchill pressed for free elections and democratic governments in Eastern and Central Europe (specifically Poland); and Stalin demanded a Soviet sphere of political influence in Eastern and Central Europe, an essential aspect of the USSR’s national security strategy.
Poland was the first item on the Soviet agenda. Stalin stated that “For the Soviet government, the question of Poland was one of honor” and security because Poland had served as a historical corridor for forces attempting to invade Russia. In addition, Stalin stated regarding history that “because the Russians had greatly sinned against Poland”, “the Soviet government was trying to atone for those sins.”Stalin concluded that “Poland must be strong” and that “the Soviet Union is interested in the creation of a mighty, free and independent Poland.” Accordingly, Stalin stipulated that Polish government-in-exile demands were not negotiable: the Soviet Union would keep the territory of eastern Poland they had already annexed in 1939, and Poland was to be compensated for that by extending its western borders at the expense of Germany. Comporting with his prior statement, Stalin promised free elections in Poland despite the Soviet sponsored provisional government recently installed by him in Polish territories occupied by the Red Army.
Roosevelt wanted the USSR to enter the Pacific War with the Allies. One Soviet precondition for a declaration of war against Japan was an American official recognition of Mongolian independence from China (Mongolian People’s Republic had already been the Soviet satellite state in World War One and World War Two), and a recognition of Soviet interests in the Manchurian railways and Port Arthur (but not asking the Chinese to lease), as well as deprivation of Japanese soil (such as Sakhalin and Kuril Islands) to return to Russian custody since the Treaty of Portsmouth; these were agreed without Chinese representation, consultation or consent, with the American desire to end war early by reducing American casualties. Stalin agreed that the Soviet Union would enter the Pacific War three months after the defeat of Germany. Stalin pledged to Roosevelt to keep the nationality of the Korean Peninsula intact as Soviet Union entered the war against Japan.
Furthermore, the Soviets had agreed to join the United Nations, given the secret understanding of a voting formula with a veto power for permanent members of the Security Council, thus ensuring that each country could block unwanted decisions.
At the time, the Red Army had occupied Poland completely and held much of Eastern Europe with a military power three times greater than Allied forces in the West. The Declaration of Liberated Europe did little to dispel the sphere of influence agreements that had been incorporated into armistice agreements.
All three leaders ratified previous agreements about the post-war occupation zones for Germany: three zones of occupation, one for each of the three principal Allies: The Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They also agreed to give France a zone of occupation, carved out of the U.S. and UK zones.
Also, the Big Three agreed that all original governments would be restored to the invaded countries (with the exception of France, whose government was regarded as collaborationist; Romania and Bulgaria, where the Soviets had already liquidated most of the governments;[clarification needed] and Poland whose government-in-exile was also excluded by Stalin) and that all civilians would be repatriated.

The key points of the meeting:

 

  • Agreement to the priority of the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. After the war, Germany and Berlin would be split into four occupied zones.
  • Stalin agreed that France would have a fourth occupation zone in Germany, but it would have to be formed out of the American and British zones.
  • Germany would undergo demilitarization and denazification.German reparations were partly to be in the form of forced labour. (see also Forced labor of Germans after World War II and Forced labour of Germans in the Soviet Union). The forced labour was to be used to repair damage that Germany inflicted on its victims.
  • Creation of a reparation council which would be located in the Soviet Union.
  • The status of Poland was discussed. It was agreed to reorganize the communist Provisional Government of the Republic of Poland that had been installed by the Soviet Union “on a broader democratic basis.”
  • The Polish eastern border would follow the Curzon Line, and Poland would receive territorial compensation in the west from Germany.
  • Stalin pledged to permit free elections in Poland, but forestalled ever honoring his promise.
  • Citizens of the Soviet Union and of Yugoslavia were to be handed over to their respective countries, regardless of their consent.
  • Roosevelt obtained a commitment by Stalin to participate in the UN.
  • Stalin requested that all of the 16 Soviet Socialist Republics would be granted UN membership. This was taken into consideration, but 14 republics were denied; Roosevelt agreed to membership for Ukraine and Byelorussia while reserving the right, which was never exercised, to seek two more votes for the United States.
  • Stalin agreed to enter the fight against the Empire of Japan “in two or three months after Germany has surrendered and the war in Europe is terminated,” and that as a result, the Soviets would take possession of Southern Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, the port of Darien would be internationalized, and the Soviet lease of Port Arthur would be restored, among other concessions.
  • Nazi war criminals were to be hunted down and brought to justice
  • A “Committee on Dismemberment of Germany” was to be set up. Its purpose was to decide whether Germany was to be divided into six nations.

 

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