Monday, December 31, 2007

Didn't think this was gonna happen...

Honestly, I thought they would have given him another year...

Brian Billick Fired

In hindsight, this is a good thing. Clearly the Ravens did not have the offensive capabilities that they needed to advance have not appeared and perhaps most damming:

Billick has NEVER developed a quarterback at Baltimore.

The Ravens have been forced to rely on free agents or cast-off journeymen behind the center since his arrival and even won a Superbowl with Trent Dilfer. But there has never been a really good quarterback at the helm of the Ravens save for McNair's 2006 season performance.

Does management hire Cowher? Personally I think Ryan should get the shot. Will that happen? Time will tell.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The year in review...

I admit it, I'm shamelessly copying off Wacky Neighbor and Deep and Slightly Random Thoughts.

This year:
I finally got a job I love.

I went to New Orleans.

I went to Goddard Space Flight Center.

I helped make another calendar.

I spent a lot of money on archival acquisitions.

I saw the inside of the plant where they print all the Victoria's Secret catalogs.

Next year:
I get my Masters in Library Science.

I learn how to write a successful grant application.

I have to go to Daytona Beach, Kennedy Space Center, Johnson Space Center and Marshall Space Flight Center.

I vote. (early and often.)

I get published again.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve 1944 Bastogne, Belgium...

Headquarters 101st Airborne Division
Office of the Division Commander

24 December 1944

What's Merry about all this, you ask? We're fighting - it's cold - we aren't home. All true but what has the proud Eagle Division accomplished with its worthy comrades of the 10th Armored Division, the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion and all the rest? just this: We have stopped cold everything that has been thrown at us from the North, East, South and West. We have identifications from four German Panzer Divisions, two German Infantry Divisions and one German Parachute Division. These units, spearheading the last desperate German lunge, were headed straight west for key points when the Eagle Division was hurriedly ordered to stem the advance. How effectively this was done will be written in history; not alone in our Division's glorious history but in World history. The Germans actually did surround us. their radios blared our doom. Their Commander demanded our surrender in the following impudent arrogance.

December 22nd 1944
To the U. S. A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne.

The fortune of war is changing. This time the U. S. A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. More German armored units have crossed the river Ourthe near Ortheuville, have taken Marche and reached St. Hubert by passing through Hombres Sibret-Tillet. Libramont is in German hands.

There is only one possibility to save the encircled U. S. A. Troops from total annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note.

If this proposal should be rejected one German Artillery Corps and six heavy A. A. Battalions are ready to annihilate the U. S. A. Troops in and near Bastogne. The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours term.

All the serious civilian losses caused by this Artillery fire would not correspond with the well known American humanity.

The German Commander

The German Commander received the following reply:

22 December 1944
To the German Commander:


The American Commander

Allied Troops are counterattacking in force. We continue to hold Bastogne. By holding Bastogne we assure the success of the Allied Armies. We know that our Division Commander, General Taylor, will say: Well Done!

We are giving our country and our loved ones at home a worthy Christmas present and being privileged to take part in this gallant feat of arms are truly making for ourselves a Merry Christmas.

A. C. McAuliffe

More info on the Battle of the Bulge can be found here:

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Enjoy a different holiday film festival...

Tired of the umpteenth version of a Christmas Carol on TV? Are you amazed that "Santa Claus the Movie" is being shown again? (And are you shocked that you were that crazy about it when it was being promoted in the mid 80's?)

Then I have the solution for you! A selection of my favorite movies set during Christmas...but not necessarily about Christmas.

Trading Places---Christmas to New Years with Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd. (Looking good Louis!)

A Christmas Story---Do I really need to add more? (My old man worked in profanity the way other artists worked in oils or clay.)

On Her Majesty's Secret Service---The only James Bond movie that takes place over Christmas. (This never happened to the other fella)

Miracle on 34th Street---original version...I'm a sucker for that movie. (Since the United States Government declares this man to be Santa Claus, this court will not dispute it! Case Dismissed!)

Scrooged---Bill Murray AND Robert Mitchum with Bobcat Golthwait AND Robert Goulet. (With Mary Lou Retton as Tiny Tim)

Oceans Eleven---The original takes place between Christmas and New Years. (Ain't that a kick in the head!)

Please feel free to add more.


As of 1:30pm EST today I am now officially done my Christmas shopping.




What's next you ask?

1.) Work on some borrhs stuff tonight
2.) tomorrow, have photos printed
3.) football!
4.) football!
5.) football! (8:15pm game-Skins vs Vikings)
7.) wrapping
8.) Xmas party 1
10.) XMAS!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy New Year Mars...

Put on your hard hat!

An asteroid is approaching Mars with a 1 in 75 chance of hitting the planet.

This would be an interesting event if it happens. As of right now we have an orbiting satellite that is mapping the planet and photographing it, two rovers and the Hubble Space Telescope. I hate to say it, but I'd be very excited if it happened.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Work work work...

I apologize for not posting more, but I'm working at a job that I like so I'm spending more time on task than sitting in on conference calls and doing other things like working on grad school work and blogging like I did at the last job. (Yes, conference calls, unless you're presenting or are in middle management or planning, are pretty useless. I'm not a fan.)

So, let's see, I've finished my MLS work at Drexel for this quarter, I believe I've passed. (B is the lowest passing grade in grad school.)

December there are no B&O Railroad Historical Society Archives sessions, so I get some time off there.

This time off from being archivist and caterer has been good for me. I have a bit of a break to catch up with some scanning projects of archives documents, work on the web page, and dabble in some research. Currently I have an itch about the B&O's trackage rights out of, er rather around, Pittsburgh on the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad. This was a coup negotiated by Daniel Willard in 1934 that gave the B&O a really sweet route around Pittsburgh to Chicago. Low grades and good track on this line enabled the B&O to run their trains faster than they were able to on their own hilly and curvy track in Pittsburgh.

It seems this was a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The B&O and P&LE's parent company, the New York Central, both were fighting against the Pennsylvania Railroad for traffic in the area. The PRR had the advantage of getting to Pittsburgh first and was very well off financially. (This would not last) So the NYC in a move to give the proverbial finger to a competitor, allowed the B&O access to the P&LE route. This made the B&O more competitive for freight from Chicago to Baltimore and Potomac Yard (near DC and a waypoint for traffic from the Northeast to the South). What I need now is source material. I've checked B&O magazine articles, 1934 and 1944. I also have a 1962 B&O railroad report on using the B&O track again since the lease was up for renewal at that time and the P&LE (NYC) was asking for a lot more $$$. I need to go through the VP of Operations files at the archives and look at the Wall St. Journal and Pittsburgh papers. I've found some stuff in the local papers on, but not enough. Then there is the chance to look at it from the other side and see if the NYC and P&LE historical societies have items in their collections that may help. Ideally this will become an article for the Sentinel and a chapter in "The Fiery Furnace."

That's about all that's going on. That and getting ready for the holidays...oh and two and a half months until Daytona! And for work at that!