Wood & Grant

Today is the anniversary of the deaths of two of my favorite film stars, Natalie Wood and Cary Grant.

In 1981, Wood drowned in a boating accident off of Santa Catalina Island in California. She was 43. Controversy has enveloped the incident ever since. Husband Robert Wagner and Christopher Walken were on the yacht at the time.

In 1986, Cary Grant died while he was in Davenport, Iowa, just before a performance of his one man show. He was age 82.

In the last few years of his life, Grant undertook tours of the United States in a one-man show. It was called “A Conversation with Cary Grant”, in which he would show clips from his films and answer audience questions. Grant was preparing for a performance at the Adler Theater in Davenport, Iowa on the afternoon of 29 November 1986 when he sustained a cerebral hemorrhage. He had previously suffered a stroke in October 1984. He died . . . in St. Luke’s Hospital.



A ‘White’ Thanksgiving

I never thought I’d see a ‘white’ Thanksgiving in Salem. There wasn’t much per se, but it was technically-speaking snow on the ground. I have never recalled it snowing so early here. And there’s never been a white Christmas while I’ve lived in the city, which is more than thirty years.

Oregon, at least the northwest part, is so temperate in its weather that snow is a rare event. Rain, yes, but when the cold comes, and it usually does at some point, just not this early, most of the time there isn’t enough mositure to do much of anything. And, of course, such was the case, once again, except we did get a dusting of snow, which hung around for a few days.

I was out and about late into the evening and was pleased to find myself walking home in a light snow shower on Thanksgiving morn. It didn’t last long, yet, it was fun to see.

It has warmed up now and almost all of the white stuff that has been hanging in there is now gone, melted away. Now we await another round of what’s so common around here, what Lewis and Clark had to contend with and complained about, not only the lack of sun, but a good shot of rain.



Ken Nordtvedt, a former professor at Montana State and a genetic genealogy enthusiast, has just reported on the discovery of a mutation (known as a SNP) among men with common origins in northern Europe, known as hapolgroup I1. It was found during a project called Walk Through the Y (as in Y chromosome) at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA), directed by Thomas Krahn. (It is often abbreviated as WTY or WTTY.)

Finally we I1* folks seem to have acquired a breakthrough snp.  It is called L338. . . . it was first thought to be a new snp derived for all of I1.  But then an I1*-generic tested ancestral [negative] and an I1-Bothnian L22+ tested ancestral [negative].  So this snp could be a biggy, dividing the huge I1*-AS division of I1 at last in a robust manner.  The two persons found derived from I1-AS1 are many steps of mutation apart, suggesting that perhaps all of I1-AS1 will be derived.  Because of the similarities of the I1-AS8 clade, I suspect it, too, will prove derived.

I am an outlier I1-ASgeneric and have just placed an order for L338.

Given the many clades of I1-AS which have been identified, some with interesting geographical biases to their memberships, we really need people from all the clades to test for L338 to see if you fall ancestral or derived.  Be the first of your clade to do L338!

And then there is the huge I1-ASgeneric collection of haplotypes.  Will they all fall on one side of the ancestral/derived divide for L338?  It will take a number of generics to do the test to see if a strong trend is there.

Hopefully we will understand the bushy portion of the I1 tree much better in a few months of L338 testing.

Nordtvedt has a site with all sorts of technical information, using probabilities and statistics.


Back to Microfilm

Microfilm (or microforms) continues to be a good backup for saving material.

If . . . digitised information can succumb to the vagaries of technological change, one thing is certain, analogue archives will always be readable to future generations . . .

For “off-line” storage, microfilm appears to be the best option.

Writing in the International Journal of Electronic Governance, the team explains how e-government applications have to archive data or documents for long retention periods of 100 years or more for legal reasons and also such materials are often worthy of storage for future historians. They and many others have recognised the problems of storing such materials in digital media and suggest that in terms of cost, stability and technology independence, microfilm offers a promising solution for “off-line” storage.


A New Commander for the ‘Fighting 69th’

A new commander of the New York Army National Guard historic 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry has been appointed. In a press release by the New York State Division of Military & Naval Affairs, some historical background on the unit was provided. The 69th (redesignated the 165th Infantry) was home to poet Joyce Kilmer, and the unit’s field hospital was where my great great uncle, Leslie Darling, was treated and then died from his wounds in late July 1918.

The 1st Battalion 69th Infantry traces its heritage back to 1851 when the Second Irish Regiment of the New York State Militia was organized. That regiment was combined with others to form the 69th Infantry Regiment, which became a part of the famous Civil War “Irish Brigade.”

Reportedly the 69th got its nickname as the “Fighting 69th” from Confederate General Robert E. Lee during the Battle of Malvern Hill in 1862 in Virginia, when it forced the “Louisiana Tigers” Brigade to retreat. Ironically, the 69th fought in the same brigade as the Louisiana Tigers during its deployment to Iraq in 2004 and 2005 when the 69th was part of the brigade, now the 256th Infantry Brigade of the Louisiana Army National Guard.

In World War I the 69th was redesignated the 165th Infantry and fought as part of the 42nd Infantry Division, the Rainbow Division, the second U.S. division to arrive in France. The author of the poem “Trees”, Joyce Kilmer, was a scout in the 69th Infantry and died while serving in France.


Bing Crosby, Owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates

One of my favorite holiday films: Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in White Christmas
One of my favorite holiday films: Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in White Christmas

While listening to Dennis Miller’s radio show weeks ago, I learned that Bing Crosby was part owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In an interview, Robert Bader, Vice President of Marketing and Production for Bing Crosby Enterprises, mentioned a few classic items that are now available to the public. Miller was fascinated to learn, as was I, that a copy of the broadcast of the World Series was discovered stored away among Bing’s stuff. This was before television was put to tape or film. Crosby was in Europe at the time and had the broadcast recorded and sent to him.

Crosby had an interest in sports. From 1946 until the end of his life, he was part-owner of baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates and helped form the nucleus of the Pirates’ 1960 championship club. Although he was passionate about his team, he was too nervous to watch the deciding Game 7 of that year’s World Series, choosing to go to Paris with Kathryn and listen to the game on the radio. Crosby had the NBC telecast of the game, capped off by Bill Mazeroski‘s walk-off home run, recorded on kinescope. He apparently viewed the complete film once at his home and then stored it in his wine cellar, where it remained undisturbed until it was discovered in December 2009. . . .


The Letters of Private Enoch Williams

Letters by Private Enoch Williams of the 166th Infantry of Ohio, similar to my relative’s First World War letters, right down to the very paper, have been preserved online in book form. I will reading through them to pick up anything worthwhile for my book on the war and my relative, Leslie Darling.

In an introduction to the book, Enoch’s grandson Gary Williams wrote some background on him and his service.

Enoch Williams . . . was a member of the Ohio National Guard when the US entered World War I in April, 1917. His unit, the Tenth Ohio, was activated and made part of the 166th Regiment and assigned to the 42nd Division, called the Rainbow Division . . . Between August, 1917 and May, 1919, he wrote 78 letters to his parents and sisters back in Ohio. The first letters were from Camp Perry, Ohio, and then in September, 1917 he wrote from Camp Mills on Long Island while awaiting shipment Over There. He arrived in France in November, 1917 and served in combat for the next year. He saw extensive combat in the Meuse-Argonne and Chateau Thierry Sectors and was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds suffered in combat on July 15, 1918.


1859 — The Magazine

When I have some free time, I enjoy browsing the magazines at stores. A relative newcomer is 1859, which is beautiful in its design and has some thought-provoking content. 1859 was the year that the state of Oregon was carved out of the Oregon Territory, leaving behind what would become Idaho and Washington. During the next few weeks and months I plan on submitting some items for possible publication.


A Prehistoric Zoo

An artistic rendering of an Ice Age Bison (Bison antiquus). Courtesy of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
An artistic rendering of an Ice Age Bison (Bison antiquus). Courtesy of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

Researchers have been busy in Colorado, digging up fossils from a pit “where everything went right for paleontology and posterity.” It’s the Ziegler Reservoir, and it’s a “giant, oozing, squishy bog of malodorous peat, sticky clay and mud that can suck the boots off your feet.” Photos of the discoveries and the work are available at Flickr.

For two weeks, Denver Museum of Nature & Science crews have been pulling out treasures: five or more mastodons, a bison skull with 7-foot horn span, a couple of Columbian mammoths, a giant Jefferson ground sloth (the state’s first), complete deer with antlers, salamanders, snails, two more bison — a ‘prehistoric zoo’ . . .