Saturday, September 29, 2007
J.P. Morgan 1837-1913
A real angry J.P. Morgan. He hated being photographed. In many of his photographs it looks like he wants to eat you. He was a scary man to deal with. Although he was often a real pussycat under the gruff exterior.
He was a genius in the financial world. He had a good sense of humor. He sometimes would sing. He would even every now and then did a "sailors hornpipe"....He was the power behind many things, Thomas Edison, US Steel, IMM, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and so much more.
He is one of the more misunderstood figures in American history. Thomas Edison once wrote of Morgan saying "his word was his collateral"..That says a lot from the Wizard of Menlo Park...But Edison knew that was very much the truth.
Morgan had a credo "Think a lot, say little, write nothing". Clever and very true.
To Morgan his image and integrity was everything.
There is much to write on him and I will in several stories in the future.
One person once described Morgan's glare as looking into the headlights of an oncoming locomotive. He was famous for it. Also his nose.
I have gone to wikipedia to use a little of their info on his nose...............
He often had a tremendous physical effect on people; one man said that a visit from Morgan left him feeling "as if a gale had blown through the house." Morgan was physically large with massive shoulders, piercing eyes and a purple nose, because of a childhood skin disease, rosacea. His grotesquely deformed nose was due to a disease called rhinophyma, which is the end result of acne rosacea. As the deformity worsens, pits, nodules, fissures, lobulations, and pedunculation contort the nose into grotesque cosmetic problems. This condition inspired the taunt "Johny Morgan's nasal organ has a purple hue."
Surgeons could have shaved away the rhinophymous growth of sebaceous tissue during Morgan's lifetime, but as a child Morgan suffered from infantile seizures, and it is suspected that he did not seek surgery for his nose because he feared the seizures would return. His social and professional self-confidence were too well established to be undermined by this affliction. It appeared as if he dared people to meet him squarely and not shrink from the sight, asserting the force of his character over the ugliness of his face. He was known to dislike publicity and hated being photographed; as a result of his self-consciousness of his rosacea, all of his professional portraits were retouched.
Morgan owned IMM, which was owned through US Steel in New Jersey. Now that does not sound like much till you think of what IMM was. It was a shipping company. One of the companies in that grouping was the White Star Line. That may not mean anything either...But what was the star ship of the White Star Line? The Titanic!
Yes J.P. Morgan owned the Titanic. It was American owned, just sailed under the British Flag as the company was based in England. But totally American owned.
The shock of that, age, blood pressure, depression, and the many court cases dealing with that,led to his death in 1913.......
More on this great man later...
Friday, September 28, 2007
Rangoon, Burma (Yangon, Myanmar) Protests spread in different parts of the city. This was the second of three large protest marches
As monks begin to form their protest march, the monk at the head of the procession holds his bowl overturned,
Monks march west on Shwegondine Road in Yangon as onlookers join and form a human chain to protect the monks from government forces deployed to crackdown on the demonstrations.
In a country where such demonstrations are commonplace, and very annoying, as most are really lacking in meaning or substance. Here is a group who are demonstrating in what may lead to their death. These brave Monks and citizens are amazing. I am most moved by the human chain around the monks by the local citizens to protect them from the Government.
God Speed my friends in Burma.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Here I am standing next to the youngest 90 year old I have ever seen. Lt. Charles Nolley was one of the members of the Tuskegee airmen. He was one of the older ones. he was born on June 14, 1917. He flew many missions and was ever so proud that his group never lost a bomber over Germany. It was quite an experience to speak to this man and learn so much from him.
Here is the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to all the Tuskegee airmen.
This is the patch and emblem of the this fighting force.
There is so much that is amazing about that group of African Americans who were in this force. They were not allowed to fight. So they stayed together and trained, and trained, and trained.
One day Eleanor Roosevelt came by and asked why they were not fighting.....In fact her question was "Can Negros fly?" ... They took her up in a plane over the objections of the Secret Service and she became their #1 supporter.
By the time they were allowed to fight they had trained for so long that they were the best trained fighters in the world. they never lost a bomber to enemy planes and the Nazi's stated that The red tailed fighters scared the shit out of them! All the Tuskegee airmen had red tails on their planes. As Charles Nolley said to me..
"We were in camp and people would shoot at us, There were Nazi prisoners in the camp and they could go into buildings and movie theaters where we could not go. We suffered from extreme racism, and we took the hurt and anger that was given to us and gave it back to the Germans. We used our anger against the enemies of the United States."
So it was my honor to meet this great man and say thank you. What a classy guy he is. In the audience of this group in which I was interviewing a person brought a message up to Lt. Nolley and it said...
Thank you for saving and protecting us so many times.
The message was from a old WW2 bomber pilot. It was quite a moment.
I spent many hours with this great man. I am much the better for it.
Go to wikipedia and learn about this great group and the strong willed men who were part of it.
Learn your history and find one of these great men and say Thank you!
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Perhaps the finest pre war(WWI) records made were the Edison Blue Amberol Cylinders. As a form of recording they were unequaled. A constant speed recording, made onto a hard surface of celluloid. The speed of the cylinders were 160 RPM's, and they would play for 4 minutes. They were guaranteed to play for 3000 times without wear. A bit of an unrealistic claim. But they did last well and had acoustical qualities that are even today quite breath taking.
The example pictured here is a 1912 issue in a very vivid blue. The color of the records changed from batch to batch. But the quality was always the same...Amazing! Celluloid in its natural form was a kind of white color so the coloring was quite attractive. The records were quite popular and attracted a following.
However that all changed in late 1914 when the Blue Amberols started to be dubbed from Edison Diamond Disc Records. So while they still were nice, they were nothing like they had been before. They had become second generation acoustically re-recorded records.
Dealers who had originally embraced the new cylinders in 1912,had by 1915 started referring to them as "damnberolas"!!
In spite of this the cylinder continued to grow for Edison till 1920. Then the bottom fell out of the cylinder business. It never came back.
Thomas Edison continued to manufacture cylinders till 1929. It was always his favorite form of recording and the one he would always hold most dear. But it would loose popularity to the disc record. Because it was hard to produce and could never have side 2!
Therefore by 1920 the fortunes of the Edison phonograph and record company were in great difficulties and would by 1925 be loosing over a million dollars a year.
But in its brilliant inception in 1912 it was the best recording made.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
President William McKinley (1843-1901) ....Served (1897-1901)...One of the most under rated of this nation's Presidents ..Few were better.
I am amazed at how little people know of William McKinley, our 25th President. He was the first modern President. He was the President that changed this country so much. He did so much, few think he did do it and often credit his successor for all the great changes and ideas. NOT SO!!!!!!!
Here are some of the things that McKinley started or was working on at his death...
The Panama Canal
The new and improved/ enlarged navy
Press offices in the White House
Trust busting and controls on big business
global and international status
Income tax reform
Control of Hawaii and its naval ports
Union /Labor regulation
Building up the military force
Modernisation of government
Few Presidents were as hands on as McKinley. During the Spanish American War he was in control and worked in the war room on strategy and was in control of all actions.
He had an amazing sense of intellect, and prowess on many issues and subjects. Many thought that he was a puppet of Mark Hannah and the trusts. But that was not at all the case. He was his own man. He ran the war with an iron grip. He was a modest man not a media hound. That is why we do not know this.
He was not the man that Roosevelt refereed to as having the backbone of a Chocolate Eclair.
The problem with Roosevelt was he lived in a world of make believe. He was as clueless as can be about war and while he did make a few good moves he did many things that were extremely embarrassing not only to the President but himself.
Fortunately McKinley had a better intellect and more common sense than Roosevelt. He knew what Roosevelt was up too. In time McKinley had made the moves and actions that would help end the war as fast as possible.
I think Justice Holmes put it best in describing Roosevelt as a 1st rate personality with a 2nd rate intellect.
Many think it was Roosevelt who won the Spanish American War. Not so! Roosevelt would later write books basically saying so. But they were as truthful as the fact that the Rough Riders went up San Juan Hill! They did not either. They went up Kettle Hill. And they were led by Leonard Wood.
Theodore Roosevelt's 1st term was McKinley's 2nd. The Cabinet stayed the same. The issues, bills, and ideas of McKinley were carried out. Sadly in Roosevelt's name. Of course Roosevelt took all the credit.
Roosevelt's 2nd term was his own and he shines in it. But much of what we think of today as the great ideas, intellect and actions of Roosevelt were indeed McKinley's.
One of the greatest of our Presidents and truly one of the top 10! Also McKinley was the first President to ride in an automobile.
I hear it all the time that it was Roosevelt.... It was not!
It was once again McKinley. Opportunists always take what they can. I am reminded of what Harry S Trumann said of Roosevelt. He said.."He was more bull, than moose" ...That is in many ways so true.
Thank you President McKinley. You sure do deserve a higher pedestal and many greater honors than what you get in this age.