Saturday, June 06, 2015


On the morning of June 5, 1944, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower gave the go-ahead for Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious military operation in history. On his orders, 6,000 landing craft, ships and other vessels carrying 176,000 troops began to leave England for the trip to France. That night, 822 aircraft filled with parachutists headed for drop zones in Normandy. An additional 13,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion. By dawn on June 6, 18,000 parachutists were already on the ground; the land invasions began at 6:30 a.m. The British and Canadians overcame light opposition to capture Gold, Juno and Sword beaches; so did the Americans at Utah. The task was much tougher at Omaha beach, however, where 2,000 troops were lost and it was only through the tenacity and quick-wittedness of troops on the ground that the objective was achieved. This amphibious operation became the turning point for World War II in Europe. This famous battle is  called D-Day or the Invasion of Normandy.

The Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces was Dwight D. Eisenhower of the United States. Other Allied generals included Omar Bradley from the United States as well as Bernard Montgomery and Trafford Leigh-Mallory from Britain. The Germans were led by Erwin Rommel and Gerd von Rundstedt. 

Interesting Facts about D-Day

  • The troops needed the light of a full moon to see to attack. For this reason there were only a few days during a month when the Allies could attack. This led Eisenhower to go ahead with the invasion despite the bad weather.
  • The Allies wanted to attack during high tide as this helped the ships to avoid obstacles put in the water by the Germans.
  • Although June 6 is often called D-Day, D-Day is also a generic military term that stands for the day, D, of any major attack.
  • The overall military operation was called "Operation Overlord". The actual landings at Normandy were called "Operation Neptune". 
  • The "D" stands for Day. D-Day and H-Hour stand for the secret time/day an operation is scheduled to begin. Over the years many people have wondered what the ‘D’ in D-Day stands for; some have suggested Disembarkement-Day, Decision-Day and even Death-Day. In reality the D just stands for ‘Day’. D-Day and H-Hour represent the secret time and day an operation is set to begin, so before and after WWII many other operations had a ‘D-Day’. The day before D-Day was known as ‘D-1’ and the day after as ‘D+1’, meaning that if the day of the operation changed, all the dates in the plans did not have to be changed. The main reason for the secrecy was that the Germans had 55 divisions stationed in France, and the Allies could only bring in about eight divisions to attack on D-Day.
  • Code names for the five beaches where the Allies landed: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.
  • The date June 5, 1944 was originally chosen for the invasion, but bad weather forced the Allies to postpone one day.
  • Four thousand ships released 133,000 troops onto the Normandy beaches. A further 23,000 parachuted from 822 aircraft - only a small part of the 13,000 planes flying that day. Bombers pounded German fortifications, communications and bridges, with Allied planes flying over 14,000 sorties in one day.
  • Andrew Higgins, the man who designed and built LCVPs, the amphibious vehicles that enabled the Allied forces to cross the channel. Eisenhower is reported to have said, “If Higgins had not designed and built those LCVPs, we never could have landed over an open beach. The whole strategy of the war would have been different.”
  • The first U.S. soldier that died on D-Day was twenty-eight year old Lt. Robert Mathias of the 82nd Airborne Division. He sustained a bullet wound in the chest right before he jumped out of his aircraft. He commanded his men to follow his lead as he jumped from the plane and died mid-air. The first two British soldiers that were killed on D-Day were Lt. Den Brotheridge of the 6th Airborne Division and Lance Corporal Fred Greehalgh. Brotheridge was shot in the neck while leading his platoon, and Greehalgh immediately drowned when he stepped out of Brotheridge’s glider.
  • There are 9,386 graves in the American cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer. Each grave faces west, toward America. 307 of those graves contain the remains of "unknown" soldiers.
  • The actor who played “Scotty” on Star Trek, James Doohan, was shot six times storming Juno beach on D-Day.
  • Other famous celebrities that fought in D-Day were:
    J.D Salinger — The author of The Catcher in the Rye, Yogi Berra — The Major League Baseball catcher, manager, and Hall of Fame, Alec Guinness - British actor.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The word jazz came from baseball.

It starts 100 years ago with an obscure baseball player named Ben Henderson.

Henderson was a washed up pitcher with the Pacific Coast League with a reputation as an unreliable drunk, so his career never amounted to much. But back in 1912, he told a reporter about a new pitch he had developed, and became the first person known to use the word “Jazz.”

The story starts in 1912 with baseball’s Pacific Coast League. Ben Henderson, a pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels invented a new pitch he called the jazz ball. From the Los Angeles Times, 2 April 1912:


“I got a new curve this year,” sofetly [sic] murmured Henderson yesterday, “and I’m goin’ to pitch one or two of them tomorrow. I call it the Jazz ball because it wobbles and you simply can’t do anything with it.”

As prize fighters who invent new punches are always the first to get their’s Ben will probably be lucky if some guy don’t hit that new Jazzer ball a mile today.  It is to be hoped that some unintelligent compositor does not spell that the Jag ball. That’s what it must be at that if it wobbles.

The next day, the Times reported on the success of the pitch:

Henderson cut the outside corner with a fast curve also for one strike. Benny calls this his "jass" ball.

Computer Bug

In 1945, Grace Murray Hopper was working on the Harvard University Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator. On the 9th of September, 1945, when the machine was experiencing problems, an investigation showed that there was a moth trapped between the points of Relay #70, in Panel F. The operators removed the moth and affixed it to the log. (See the picture above.) The entry reads: "First actual case of bug being found."

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day

The earliest history of Mothers Day dates back to the ancient annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to maternal goddesses. The Greeks used the occasion to honor Rhea, wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities of Greek mythology. 



Mother's Day History Ancient Romans, too, celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess. It may be noted that ceremonies in honour of Cybele began some 250 years before Christ was born. The celebration made on the Ides of March by making offerings in the temple of Cybele lasted for three days and included parades, games and masquerades. The celebrations were notorious enough that followers of Cybele were banished from Rome. 

Early Christians celebrated a Mother's Day of sorts during the festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent in honor of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ. In England the holiday was expanded to include all mothers. It was then called Mothering Sunday.

Anna Jarvis

The modern American holiday of Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in Grafton, West Virginia. Her campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her beloved mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died.

Friday, April 24, 2015

First YouTube video

On April 23, 2005, at 8:27 p.m., YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim uploaded the first YouTube video “Me at the zoo.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Titanic Trivia

It was 103 years ago ( April 12, 1912)  that RMS Titanic sunk together with 1500 souls at the depth of the Atlantic.

The Titanic was traveling between 21-23 knots (approx 26 miles an hour) when it struck the iceberg.

The cost of a first-class ticket on Titanic to New York was $2,500.

A third-class ticket at Titanic cost $40, which is approximately $900 in today’s currency. 

Number of Titanic's four smokestacks that were operational: 3 

Last message sent from Titanic: "We are sinking fast. Passengers being put into boats."

Number of passengers and crew who died: 1,503

Titanic was one of the first ships in distress to send out an “SOS” signal; the radio officer used
“SOS” after using the traditional code of “CQD” followed by the ship’s call letters.

Titanic’s superb master chef, Michel Louvain, steadfastly remained at his station, preparing snacks of pate and truffled pheasant so that first-class passengers would not have to drown on an empty stomach. When urged to save himself by his sous-chef, he replied, “Le fois gras, c’est moi,” Perhaps because the remark made little sense, it seldom has been repeated over the years.

The last tune the band was playing before the Titanic sank was believed to be Autumn by Louis Von Esch c.1810 a popular waltz of the time  and not "Nearer My God to Thee".

No members of the band survived but the Black Talent Agency who hired the musicians, sent the violinist's family a bill for $3.50 for the cost of the unpaid and unreturned uniform!

There were 9 dogs on board, three of which survived. Margaret Hay's Pomeranian (lifeboat #7), Elizabeth Rothchild's pooch (lifeboat # 6) and Henry Sleeper Harper's Pekinese, Sun Yat Sen (Lifeboat # 3) . Among the dogs that didn't make it was champion bulldog, Gamon de Pycombe and a St Bernard. It is rumored that a passenger had freed the dogs from the kennels when all hope was gone.

The Titanic carried a total of 20 lifeboats. 14 of these lifeboats were wooden and each one had a capacity of 65 persons, 2 were wood cutters with a capacity of 40 persons each Lifeboats on Boat deck. and 4 were collapsibles (wood bottoms and canvas sides) and each collapsible was capable of carrying 47 persons. The total capacity of all 20 lifeboats was 1,178 people.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Ever wonder why rabbits and eggs are connected with Easter?

Eoster (not Ishtar) has something to do with Easter. Ēostre or Ostara is a Germanic divinity who, by way of the Germanic month bearing her name (Northumbrian: Ēosturmōnaþ; West Saxon: Ēastermōnaþ; Old High German: Ôstarmânoth), is the namesake of the festival of Easter. 

Ēostre is attested solely by Bede in his 8th-century work The Reckoning of Time, where Bede states that during Ēosturmōnaþ (the equivalent of April), pagan Anglo-Saxons had held feasts in Eostre's honor, but that this tradition had died out by his time, replaced by the Christian Paschal month, a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.