US Soldiers putting warning sign on burned German tank in front of bomb-damaged cathedral after Allied air attacks on the devastated city of Cologne, Germany, 1945.

When I saw this Life Magazine photo, I thought of Portland, OR, and the sort of line that should be put up about 50 meters beyond the Federal Courthouse.



Foundation tablet of Shulgi (Ur, 2094 – 2047 BC)

This black steatite tablet is inscribed with a dedication to the Temple of Nimintaba at Ur, and was found buried with a copper alloy foundation figure of Shulgi.

Shulgi is considered the greatest of the Neo-Sumerian kings.  Under his rule, the region of Sumer was relatively stable and peace was maintained.  This encouraged cultural growth, innovation and invention.  Of particular note is Shulgi’s extensive overhaul of the curriculum of the scribal school.

One hymn records that Shulgi once ran about 160km from the religious centre of Nippur to the capital city of Ur, and back again, all in one day.  This was in order to officiate at the festivals at both cities.  But Shulgi also wanted to distinguish himself from his father, Ur-Nammu.  His achievement may be an exaggeration, but it is possible that it is true.

The kings of Ur at this time needed to create a sense of awe and admiration in their subjects.  This seems to have been central to their governing power.

In c. 2083 BC, Shulgi had a 250km-long wall built to keep out the Amorites (Semitic-speaking tribes also known as the Martu or Tidnum). The next three kings of the dynasty strengthened and renovated the wall, but it couldn’t be properly manned or maintained.  It wasn’t anchored to any solid barrier at its end-points, so invaders could just go around it. That’s the problem with walls. They need to be anchored at impenetrable barriers…like oceans,

I know that you can swim around walls that end at oceans, but that’s why you have navies.

Why UR? (I hear the question) Why not UR? There were many thousand UR’s that have descended from where they were into the sands of time, and the USA seems to be dipping its toe into those sands. Maybe we’re ankle deep. The coming election will answer a lot of questions because the enemies of the Republic are no longer lurking in the shadows. The coup, the impeachment, the subversion of the FISA court all failed. Now if there is mail-in-voting and the system breaks down, and the donkeys will want senile old Joe pronounced king by “riot and intimidation”, there are many who won’t stand for it. And maybe we’ll end up like UR – a memory. And maybe not.


Breaker-Breaker, Good Buddy

This is for the Ham radio enthusiasts who frequent this blog. The radio, installed in a car by Alfred H. Grebe in 1919, is pictured above. The bulky vacuum tube set is visible in the back seat.


I Missed the Anniversary of the Date (by this much)

Rum, sodomy and the lash

Pour one out, or not, for Black Tot Day: the 50th anniversary of the last daily rum issue in the Royal Navy. This is for all of you who thought that the HM Navy was still dolling out a gill of rum to sailors every day for the good of morale. Now rum is issued on “special days” – and pardon me for thinking that every day is special.


Identify this US Military production aircraft (if you’re able)


Two Girls

Grand duchesses Tatiana and Olga Romanov. They were the daughters of the last Tsar of the Russian Empire, Emperor Nicholas II, and of Empress Alexandra of Russia. All of the Romanovs were killed by the Bolsheviks…

That’s sort of what they do.


Downtown Portland

I know that it isn’t, but it made you think for a minute didn’t it?


The Dixie Highway

Occasionally in the south, you will see an “Old Dixie Highway” street sign. You may wonder what the Dixie Highway is (or more appropriately was). Built mostly between 1915 and 1927, the Dixie Highway was the first north-south interstate paved highway in the U.S., stretching from the Canadian border to Miami, Florida.

As late as 1910, few highways existed in America, and inter-city highways were considered an unneeded luxury in most of the South. People rode the train to travel any distance inland. Locally, they traveled by wagon, buggy, or city streetcar. Very few paved roads existed in America, except for brick and concrete streets in large cities. So-called “improved roads” outside the cities were typically graded dirt, clay, or gravel. Across the nation, but especially in the South, most roads were filled with ruts that turned into mud when it rained.

The Dixie Highway was a noteworthy departure from the norm and the shape of things to come as the horseless carriage came into its own.



The Shape of Sheriff Badges (by County)


  1. That plane? Though it’s based on a production aircraft, it and it’s twin aren’t, per se, production aircraft. Sure, the body is, but the wings, not so much.


    • It’s a P-39 Bell Air Cobra, and the swept wings WERE production. I think that they made about 100 with swept wings.

      • Close, Larry. It is an L-39 by Bell. It is derived from the p63 and was used as a test bed for the navy to see if swept wings can be used in carrier landings. The only thing it shared with the p-39, aside for the number designation, is the three-blade propellor. The p-63 (King Cobra) used a quad-blade prop.

        I was unaware that it went into production. I am only aware of 2 exemplars having been built. Guess I need to bone-up on the topic.
        Goetz von Berlichingen

        • There may have been two. I was under the impression that there were more than two. I quoted a high number to screw with “Beans” (above).

  2. Cologne cathedral brings forth a memory of sitting across the river carving a gasket out of a beer coaster. My old Anglia’s oil filter canister (pre spin on filters) was leaking. The part counterman at the Ford dealership wouldn’t sell me a gasket even though it was a match.

    “Das es fur der Duetcher Ford, nichts is fur der Englander Ford”. No wonder they lost.

    They did a hell of a job rebuilding – give them that.

    • The West Germans managed Tetris things back together quickly. The East was a mess until the wall fell.

    • Forgot to add that the early radio equipment manufactured by Grebe is in high-demand with antique radio collectors. It was very well designed and built for it’s time. Early radios like those were as much a piece of furniture as they were an appliance, and the cabinetry, dials, and knobs were very elegant looking. The Grebe even had gold-plated dial escutcheons.

  3. I’d say that there’s about a 75% chance I celebrated Black Tot Day accidentally, so that’s a win. It was a Friday, after all.


  4. Like the railroads in the 1800s, the Dixie Highway formed a background that a lot of cities grew up around. Every place I’ve lived in Florida was like that. As the map clearly shows, it wasn’t one highway. I grew up near the south end of one of those roads (US Highway 41) that went through the Everglades west of Miami. A few years ago, I found myself on the northern end that road on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

  5. Tatiana and Olga.

    The Bolshevik Marxist must be harried from the earth.

    “Tsar Nicholas died instantly, his wife Alexandra and their children, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei were not so fortunate. It took a further twenty minutes of shooting, clubbing and bayoneting on the part of the enraged Bolsheviks to dispatch the Romanovs until, as one of the killers stated, the floor was slick with blood ‘like an ice rink.’”

    What demons.

    • Of course, the reason it took so long to kill them, and Anastasia especially, was the boy children were wearing vests with gold coins and jewels sewed into pockets, and the girls all wore corsets lined with more precious metals and jewels. All making them pretty effective bullet-proof vests.

      Anastasia and Alexei, supposedly, suffered the most as they lasted the longest, supposedly unconscious and presumed dead in the basement but found to be still alive when they went to bury/burn/dump the bodies. Some modern Russian research speculates that she was used for rape while the other bodies were dealt with.

      Horrible. The revolutionaries could have let them go after signing all rights away, to live in exile, but the Revolution demanded blood, so blood it was fed.

      Funny thing. One of my dad’s squadron mates married a White Russian (apparently a real beauty that made other wives edgy.) Supposedly it didn’t take her long to get drunk enough to really say wonderfully not-nice things about the Soviets, Bolsheviks, Lenin, Stalin and all the others. So funny that it became a ‘thing’ for the O-club members to buy her drinks. More drinks, heavier Russian accent, more funny anti-soviet stuff. Probably didn’t help her husband’s future career path though.

      • There are some really beautiful Russian women. Fly Aeroflot or one of the former Soviet Republic airlines. The stewardesses are all uber hot models. Fly United and they hire by the pound. Why would you hire a 110 lbs woman when you can get a 300 lbs woman for the same price?

      • I’m afraid I have zero sympathy for the Romanovs.

        The Bolsheviks were filthy, murdering animals who should have been scoured from the Earth, but the Romanovs (or any aristocracy) weren’t any better. They made the Bolsheviks, after all.


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