Showing posts from 2016

The Last Man

The First World War chewed up the flower of an entire generation of Europeans. But have you ever wondered about the last men to lose their lives in the Great War, or any war for that matter? Well today my friend you get to satiate that thirst for knowledge to a degree. But first lets get the now some backstory. In the spring of 1918 the German Empire threw all that it had left into one giant gamble to win the war. Having knocked the Russians out of the war and stabilized the Austro-Hungarians in their fight against Italy, the Germans diverted all their forces to the west against the British and the French. For the first time since 1914, the Germans had the advantage in material and manpower against the Allies on the front. However, the Americans were now starting to arrive in good numbers, so this was temporary and dictated swift action. The German command unleashed a series of brutal attacks known as the Kaiserschlacht (Kaisers Battle) that finally broke the stalemate th

Joan Claybrook and the "Safe Motorcycle"

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I am an automotive enthusiast. Well prepare yourself for another interesting story about the history of vehicles as we tell the story of Joan Claybrook, a bureaucrat that crusaded for a "safe motorcycle". First of all....who is this Joan Claybrook? Well Joan Claybrook was the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) during the Carter administration. Claybrook was a disciple of Ralph Nader, the man that killed the Chevrolet Corvair with his 1965 work "Unsafe at any Speed". A decade after Nader, new regulations had made American cars safer with things like padded dashes, impact absorbing steering wheels, dual circuit brake systems, and standard seat belts. However, the bike you bought new off the showroom floor was essentially the same as it was for decades in terms of safety. Some advances in disc brake technology made stopping more efficient, but it was more a market driven need

A Dead President and a Naked Prime Minister- When Winston Met Abe

Yes...I have returned after a long period of inactivity. We all love a ghost story. They are part of our cultural history. Whether we believe they are true or false, they are good old fashioned fun. Here is one of several that originate from the White House, the seat of executive power in the United States. Shortly before Christmas 1941, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived at the White House to discuss how to proceed with the war against the Axis Powers. Of course on December 7th , the United States had been plunged head long into war following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Churchill would spend nearly a month at the White House and stayed in the Lincoln Bedroom. Churchill loved his baths. He would do much of his thinking and relaxing in a hot tub with a cigar and some brandy. One evening, after taking a long bath, he emerged naked into the bedroom proper to find he had company. There was a tall man in a dark Victorian suit leaning at against the fireplace mantle l