Hitler's Bunker

Today is the anniversary of the death of Hitler and the final death knell of the German phase of World War II. Hitler and Eva Braun, his mistress, committed suicide in his underground bunker in Berlin. When I was in East Berlin in 1969 at the age of 17, they drove us past where they said the bunker had been. There are a number of articles about Hitler’s last days, his death, and where he is buried found here, here, and here.

hitler-eva-5 4-30-13

Operation Eagle Claw

A number of books have been written and movies filmed about the 1979 Iranian Revolution and hostage taking. One of the saddest and controversial episodes was the special forces action to rescue the hostages that failed in the Iranian desert. A number of lives were lost. A long article and description of this episode…….Operation Eagle Claw and Desert One is covered here.

On November 4, 1979, a group of Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy in Fehran and took hostage all the Americans in the compound. Fheir proclaimed intent was twofold. They wished to force the United States to return the exiled shah of Iran, who was in America for medical treatment. Fhey were also seeking evidence of a CIA plot to overthrow the new Islamic republic that had formed under the cleric Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini. While publicly pursuing diplomatic efforts to free the captive Americans, President Jimmy Carter covertly authorized a top-secret rescue mission, Operation Eagle Claw. It would be conducted by America’s new and equally secret counterterrorist unit, the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta—Delta Force, commanded by its founder, Colonel Charles Beckwith. Fhe hostage crisis dominated world news, the rescue attempt failed disastrously, the crisis ultimately lasted 444 days, and Eagle Claw’s failure in large part contributed to President Carter’s defeat in the 1980 presidential election. Fhe mission became a textbook example that has been studied by special operations personnel ever since. More importantly, Operation Eagle Claw became the touchstone for the creation of Special Operations Command (SOCOM).


Barbeque Night

Last night we had the first of what we hope is a more frequent occurrence. We were invited for dinner, more specifically a barbecue at our son David’s apartment. We had steaks to barbecue for us and good potatoes, they had chicken. He and Renee are anxiously awaiting Ryan’s arrival (they hope soon). Nicolas had fun with Grandpa playing garbage tag and lava flow (kid’s terms). David did a great job with his barbecue skills and tools. He is a Thayer male in that area. Renee was tired from work though held up well. Here are some photos from last night.
BBQ night-top-4-28-13


A Spy from the Cold War

  • This coming Wednesday will be the finale of the TV show, The Americans (spelled with the C being a Soviet sickle).
  • The premise is that the Soviet Union planted spies amongst the regular population who would blend in as families yet seek
  • American secrets to send to the Communists. All cloak and dagger stuff.
  • There is a recent book review about a real Soviet spy who hated the KGB and gave very valuable information to the French
  • who eventually gave it to Reagan, our President at the time. The TV show is set in the 1980’s time frame also. The TB show
  • gave the appearance that Soviet spies where winning the game in most instances. They hurt us yet lost in the end.
  • To read about Vladimir Vetrov, Farewell- code name, please go here.
Vetrov crossed over to the West as a defector-in-place and spied against the KGB and his former Soviet comrades. Why? Because he was sickened by the nepotism of the apparachiks, the abuses, corruption, and injustice plaguing the KGB specifically, and the lack of individual freedom, hypocrisy of the nomenklatura, inequalities and abuses sustained by the citizens in the entire Soviet system where family connections were more important than merit and hard work. What was his goal? To break the machinery of repression of the corrupt KGB and bring down the Soviet system, even if this task would ultimately lead to his personal destruction and death.

More Katyn Forest

  • Here is further detail of what happened at Katyn Forest from the Central Intelligence Agency’s website. The full article is here.
One of the earliest--and certainly the most infamous--mass shootings of prisoners of war during World War II did not occur in the heat of battle but was a cold-blooded act of political murder. The victims were Polish officers, soldiers, and civilians captured by the Red Army after it invaded eastern Poland in September 1939. Strictly speaking, even the Polish servicemen were not POWs. The USSR had not declared war, and the Polish commander in chief had ordered his troops not to engage Soviet forces. But there was little the Poles could do.

Movies and Memorable Quotes

Richochet has an interesting blog synopsis from yesterday. They ask for readers to comment on which movie they feel offers the most memorable quotes. Aliens, Blazing Saddles, Space Balls are just some that frequent this household. A number of others crop up in the comment list………………Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Casablanca, The Princess Bride and with a large number of quotes in our lexicon, Wizard of Oz! You can check one type of article out here.

From Wizard of Oz………

  • We're not in Kansas anymore.
  • Ding, dong, the witch is dead.
  • Follow the yellow brick road.
  • Yes, my pretties.
  • Toto, too?
  • If I only had a brain.
  • Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
  • Antie Em, Antie Em.
  • And your little dog, too.
  • We represent the lollipop guild.
  • Are you a good witch or a bad witch?
  • Oz, the great and powerful.
  • If I were king of the forest...
  • Somewhere, over the rainbow.
  • What do they got that I aint' got? Courage.
  • There's no place like home.

To Aliens…………….

  • "That's it man, game over man, game over! What the **** are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do? "
  • "Hey, maybe you haven't been keeping up on current events, but we just got our kicked, pal!"
  • "Allright, sweethearts, you heard the man and you know the drill! A**h***s and elbows!"
  • "Get away from her, you *****!"
  • “We are going to lift off and nuke this site from orbit. It is the only way to be sure.”
  • “Why don’t you put her in charge!”

Katyn Forest

  • Looking back in history, one of the biggest mysteries that has been solved yet not made widely known is what happened to the Polish Officers
  • who were killed in the Katyn Forest during World War II. For a long period, the Soviet Union had implied the Germans had killed these men. After
  • the fall of the Soviet Union, research found that Stalin and the Soviet Union was responsible for this atrocity. A discussion of the coverup is
  • covered here.
It was the heroic Sidney Hook who responded to the discoveries at Katyn, not with the fear of displeasing Stalin that characterized Roosevelt and his advisers, but with the hope that the revelation of the identity of the Soviet perpetrators would in some way slow the accumulating adulation of the Soviet Union among the American citizenry. Hook noted:

As the evidence assembled by the Swiss Red Cross showed that this horrible deed was the work of Stalin and his henchmen, the Soviet government dismissed it as a piece of Nazi propaganda . . . . The American press, following the lead of the Office of War Information, played down the story or treated it as another Nazi atrocity.
Hook reported that at the time, Oscar Lange, a pro-Soviet Polish emigre who "tried to pin the responsibility for the massacre on the Germans," challenged his view of the crime. Hook felt strongly enough about the issue to agree to participate in a public debate with Lange, to be held at Columbia University. Unfortunately, the debate did not come off and Lange returned to Poland to work for the Communist regime that Stalin was installing there. Needless to say, to the great disappointment of Hook and others, there was no slowing of the American rush to beneficent judgment of Stalin's regime.

More Kipling

Approximately 50 unpublished poems of Rudyard Kipling have been found inside a house in Manhattan. The poems have now been published in three volumes. One such poem is --

Never Again In Any Port

Never again in any port
That sailor people use
Can we or our broken sons consort
With the joyous shipping there
After our shame we have lost our right
To the fellowship of the sea.
We dwell alone without the camp
Shall our habitation be.

To read about what was found, please go here…..

Rudyard Kipling, circa 1913


Windmills on the Green

Just another shot of the powerful windmills in the Palouse Hills above a mix of green (new) and beige (old) wheat fields.

Windmill Country

While driving through the Palouse, there are stretches of open countryside with large swatches of windmills. They can be fascinating to watch and try to photograph. In this photo, I tried to see if I could get a decent picture with the light highlighting the windmills against a darker, cloudy sky.

Doggie Driver

Stopping in Colfax WA as we set out to leave the Palouse Hills, this canine (doggie) driver seemed to be settled in to say “Goodbye” to the Thayers. I hope he shares the controls with his owners or it will be a “dog fight”. I hope the owner of this vehicle can “CoExist” with this dog.

Scholarship Dinner

Our journey up into the Palouse was our third trip to attend the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine Scholarship Award dinner. We provide a scholarship to support a student interested in feline medicine. The student this year was Caitlin who was at the dinner and dessert with her husband, Nick, and grandparents from Port Angeles WA, Myra and Don.
Here I am celebrating Washington State University with Caitlin.

Palouse Farming

We headed up through the Columbia Gorge to stay overnight in Walla Walla. We enjoy this city and its good food and wine. Traveling around in the Southeast Washington fields and rolling hills, you can see the isolated homes and spots of agriculture. One example is this rake just off the road next to an early wheat field.

Audie Murphy

Three days ago, on Sunday, DISH network had the movie, To Hell and Back. The movie is named after Audie Murphy’s autobiographical account of his feats of bravery fighting against the Germans in the Italian Front in World War II. Audie Murphy is one of the most decorated soldiers in American history and went on to be a well-known actor too. His story is one for the legends, especially since he was in his late teens when he demonstrated such bravery. It is so impressive that he is the only modern day warrior listed in this article on the top 10 warriors in history.

Spring Weather

A cold front that is circling from Northeast to Southwest weather patterns is moving through today. Some waves of rain, hail, and wind. The day ended up last night with the sun setting brilliantly and exposing waves of mist and clouds. This picture is when the clouds got colorful near the end.

Boston Bombs

Sadness and fear today. Two bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon just before 3 pm ET. There were some killed and numerous serious injuries. A large majority were to lower extremities due to the bombs possibly being placed in garbage cans. The first terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9-11-01. Our hearts are with those affected in Boston.

20 Photos

On the recent Holocaust Memorial Day. there are links to a site that displayed 20 photos that change the Holocaust narrative. In the midst of the horror and loss of too many lives, people still could smile and have some small bursts of normal life. The people still go on and try for surviving along with their fellow people. They feel the photos show they were survivors, not just victims.


Dog Wants a Kitty

How can you not have a good smile on your face when a goofy dog “speaks” about how he is looking forward to adopting a kitty? This video was very cleverly put together and I salute their creativity!

Gettysburg This Summer

On July 1 this summer, it will be the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Bob and I were fortunate to visit Gettysburg and be able over a few days to travel the battle sites. It was a great experience. I remember being on Little Round Top looking across the way to where so many Confederate soldiers came to attack Union soldiers dug in on this hill. The Cornfield……The Peach Orchard…….The Bloody Angle…..where Pickett marched his troops. So much history, so much sadness. A short article explains how such a visit becomes a part of America’s soul to those who visit and those who wish to visit.

The Cat that Walked by Himself

In exploring more of the reading site of Rudyard Kipling poems, books, and short stories, I came across this short story about The Cat that Walked by Himself. It is definitely a demonstration of what the cat thinks of himself versus what man and the great canine enemy think of cats. It is just a fun example of Kipling’s style of writing and imagination. Read it here. Illustrations here.

GPS Your Cat

There is a book out where a cat owner put a GPS unit on her traveling cat to see where this particular feline visited in their area.
The article is found in The Atlantic and can be found here. One point determined was that the cat liked to visit about three homes and look at their image in the window. Just like a cat……………how do we look today and will you feed me?

The cat came back.

But why? And what was he doing while he was gone?

These questions plague cat owners across the world, and they form the backbone of the new book, Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology. As author Caroline Paul and illustrator Wendy MacNaughton chart their discoveries in the feline world, they unfurl an uncommonly charming and wise tale.

The narrative centers on Paul's two cats, Fibula and Tibia, and what happens when the latter mysteriously leaves home for six weeks -- and then returns. Paul becomes fixated on discovering where he'd gone (and where she suspects he continues to go) with the aid of technology. MacNaughton, Paul's partner, rides shotgun on the quest, documenting the trip in a series of improbably hilarious and profound drawings. There are so many good jokes and cute kitties, you can almost miss the terror of loving something (or someone) that provides the book's depth.

There are twists and turns along the way (including a brilliant setpiece in an animal communication class), but a sly allegory emerges from all the drawing and writing: Technology can do many amazing things, but no GPS unit or CatCam can tell us what questions we should be asking in the first place.

To be optimistic, though, the human process of piecing together the tech's failures and successes can build towards the kind of realization that Paul comes to at the end of the book. "I didn't need to turn on the computer and re-analyze the maps. I didn't need to scour the photos. I didn't need to have an animal-human conversation," Paul writes. "Clear and bright as the pink of a kitty trail on a satellite map was this final truth: Tibby had just not wanted to be at home."

The Man Who Would Be King

Rudyard Kipling is considered one of England’s greatest poets and authors. He certainly held large sway on the public during the lead up and time of World War I. His writings of the Indian sub-continent certainly carried the imagination of many people. I became more focused on him an a person when watching the movie, My Boy Jack, which told of Kipling’s gung ho support for England aggressively pursuing war against the German Empire in World War I. That passion stirred his son, Jack, to join the military where his life was lost as so many young men did in those times. Kipling felt the loss keenly because he felt he was much the cause of it. I had read some of his work though not “The Man Who Would Be King”. A fascinating read from a great writer. Please read the short story here.


Great Military Reads

This webpage is enough to make a book lover, especially one of military history, go happy-crazy! If one had the time and money, you could use it all up in buying and reading these books. Of course, there is the library though it costs annually here since we do not live in town. This is a history book lovers dream of a webpage. Yahoo!!!! I do have a number of these books and can definitely attest to the author’s skill at writing………Antony Beevor, Nathan Philbrick, Kearns Goodwin, Hastings, Ambrose.

The Thayer Library (in part)

Legacy of the USS Thresher

Before the USS San Francisco survived hitting an underwater mountain when cruising along as a submarine, the submarine loss that set the bar for SubSafe was the USS Thresher.

“Thresher was the fastest, deepest diving, most capable submarine in the word,” Rear Adm. David Duryea, Naval Sea Systems Command’s, deputy commander for undersea warfare told USNI News in a recent interview. “This was the pride of the U.S. Navy.”

On 9 April 1963, Thresher put to sea to conduct a series of sea trials following an overhaul accompanied by USS Skylark (ASR-20), a Penguin-class submarine rescue ship, according to the 1975 book The Thresher Disaster.

The next morning, Thresher descended to 1,000 feet in a deep-diving test.
Forty-six minutes after reaching test depth, things began to go very wrong.

Thresher suffered a mechanical failure and Harvey’s attempts to bring the boat to the surface failed.

Four minutes after Skylark learned there were problems, Thresher sent her last garbled transmission, “exceeding test depth.” One minute later Skylark detected a noise that shared the characteristics of an implosion.

The next day, Navy officials announced the ship was lost.

Read about it here.
Child’s picture of the USS Thresher

SubSafe Program

Eight years ago, USS San Francisco (SSN-711) ran full speed into a mountain more than 500 feet below the ocean’s surface.
One sailor died.
Fifty years earlier, the crew might not have been as lucky, said Rear Adm. David Duryea, Naval Sea Systems Command’s deputy commander for undersea warfare told USNI News in an interview.
Duryea oversees the Navy’s SUBSAFE program, the series of rigorous checks in design, manufacture, and maintenance of the service’s nuclear submarine fleet— and the reason the San Francisco lost just one sailor. He died of head injuries.
“I’m not sure a non-SUBSAFE sub could have survived that,” Duryea said. “It’s my opinion the SUBSAFE program helped insure that ship was able to rejoin the fleet.”
San Francisco rejoined the Fleet in 2009.

Read the story here.


Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Israel holds its Holocaust Remembrance Day tomorrow and it is in conjunction with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising during World War II. A recent article describes the remembrances of a young girl, now a woman of 84 years of age, whose friends stayed to fight in the uprising while she was sent out of the Ghetto. She and part of her family ended up in Bergen-Belsen and to finally survive the war. She will speak at the remembrance held tomorrow in Israel. One can read about her story here.

Two days before her comrades embarked on an uprising that came to symbolize Jewish resistance against the Nazis in World War II, 14-year-old Aliza Mendel got her orders: Escape from the Warsaw Ghetto.
The end was near. Nazi troops had encircled the ghetto, and the remaining Jewish rebels inside were prepared to die fighting. They had few weapons, and they felt there was no point in giving one of them to a teenage girl whose main task to that point had been distributing leaflets.
"They told me I was too young to fight," said the survivor, now 84, who uses her married name, Aliza Vitis-Shomron. "They said, `You have to leave and tell the world how we died fighting the Nazis. That is your job now.'"


Happy 30th

Today our youngest joins the “Don’t Trust Them” generation. He turns 30. I remember the rush to the hospital to deliver this “rug rat” after about 1.5 hours of labor. He was eager to be born and still likes to make his presence known. We love him and even though he has to work today, we hope he has a great birthday. Here is Scott Thayer.


Tolkien Ring

JRR Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series of books. They are a fascinating read and the movies have resonated in society with familiar messages. There was a recent story that Tolkien’s One Ring that reunites the many had a basis in fact or history. A recent ring from Roman times is on display and was seen by Tolkien at one time in his career. Could it be the One Ring?

The ring is believed to be linked to a curse tablet found separately at the site of a Roman temple dedicated to a god named Nodens in Gloucestershire, western England. The tablet says a man called Silvianus had lost a ring, and it asks Nodens to place a curse of ill health on Senicianus until he returned it to the temple.
An archaeologist who looked into the connection between the ring and the curse tablet asked Tolkien, who was an Anglo-Saxon professor at Oxford University, to work on the etymology of the name Nodens in 1929.


Japanese Revolutionary

Sakamoto Ryoma was a revolutionary during the times of Japan’s exposure to Western Culture. He saw Commodore Matthew Perry’s ships come into Tokyo harbor in 1853. One can see his story here.

Sakamoto Ryoma is easily one of the most famous and influential people in Japanese history. Idealized by many Japanese boys, Sakamoto led a revolution to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate during the Bakumatsu period. Tales of his charisma and bravery have been heralded and praised in media ever since. His life was cut short by assassination at the tender age of 31, but his legacy will live on forever.

Neighborhood Meeting

Tonight is was our Neighborhood Watch meeting and we had a good turnout of about 25 people. Jim Lepin, a volunteer at the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, presented information about suspicious behavior and how to report it.

911 is for immediate emergencies

541-967-3911 is for reporting non-emergency issues to the LCSO. Please program this number into your phones (consider adding the Oregon State Police number to your phones too).

All land line phone numbers are part of the Reverse 911 system. You can go on the website of the Sheriff's Office----- and select down the left side Linn-Benton Alert Emergency Notification System to register emergency notification to your cell phones too. Please take the time to do so!

April Fools Day

Today is April Fool's Day. I often like to play a prank though this cold I have is the April Fool’s joke on me. We did have 7 deer out nibbling on grass near our garden this afternoon. That is until Dervish decided to play Tough Dog and chase them across the pasture before I could get pictures. We saw the white tails flitting as they bounded over the edge of the pasture.
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