Odds and Ends

January 2, 2021

Dear Editor:

A belated Happy New Year to all those folks out there in Internet land.

Congress has just authorized the spending of up to $4 million each year to eradicate those “murder hornets” I’ve been writing about. A few hornets can kill 30,000 honey bees and destroy a hive within an hour.

My son thinks it’s a cockamamie idea but I continue to believe that by devising some way of easily identifying people who have received one of these vaccines, it would benefit the general public.

About 170 years ago a Union sympathizer had been drafted and was serving in a Confederate unit. He began wracking his brain to find a way out of his dilemma. He finally decided on a ruse. It was well known that an attack of smallpox could decimate a unit and render it ineffective, so he surreptitiously rubbed poison ivy over his face and arms and hoped that the doctors would diagnose it as a case of smallpox.

They did and he was immediately discharged. He escaped into the hills and spent the rest of the war guiding fellow deserters into the Confederacy. (Trav. chan. 12/21/20…Medical practice in those days, despite Jenner’s work with cowpox and even smallpox, was primitive. Bleeding was a common practice until the late 19th century.)

In 1401 Tamerlane captured Baghdad and massacred 100,000 inhabitants. Then he proceeded to build 120 towers with severed heads.

Of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence, five were captured and tortured before they died, twelve had homes ransacked and burned, nine fought and died from wounds and hardships, and the rest suffered similar treatment.

Scotch Cap lighthouse is located on Unimak Island in the Aleutians. During the major quake of 1946, though built of concrete 100 feet above sea level, a tsunami actually destroyed it and killed the five-man crew that served it.

I’ve always been skeptical about the following event: In 1938 Douglas Corrigan planned to fly from New York to California, but he ended up in Ireland. After that, he was always known as “Wrong Way Corrigan.”

Alaska has a population density of about one person per square mile, whereas New Jersey has 1,208. (AK mag., 10/19)

In 1912 the unsinkable “Titanic,” the so-called “ship of dreams,” came out second-best in its encounter with a massive iceberg in the North Atlantic. After WWII several huge passenger ships were plying the Atlantic from New York to Europe. Among them were the Queen Mary, the Queen Elizabeth, the Ile de France,the Mauritania, the United States, the Andrea Doria, and the Stockholm. The largest of these were almost a fifth of a mile long. The “Queen Mary” is perhaps best remembered for her role in ferrying U.S. troops to Europe during the war. German subs could not keep up with her.

Bob Hall