05/10 is Golden Spike Day

Today is day 130 of the Gregorian Calendar year,
Setting Orange, Discord 57, 3187 YOLD (discordian)
And let us not forget 13.0.8.9.2 mlc (the Mayan Long Count)

Officials at the Junction

~~ Golden Spike

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No! Don't go there. In the first place, it was "The Man With The Golden Arm", not Golden Spike.

Golden Spike Day commemorates the driving of the golden spike for the "Transcontinental Railroad" on May 10, 1869, the USA's first nation-wide media event.  Presaging those to follow, it was mostly bullshit in numerous particulars.  So what happened?  The so-called transcontinental railroad was formed by the junction of the Central Pacific RR out of Sacramento, CA ( about 95 miles from the ocean, at San Francisco) and the Union Pacific RR out of Omaha, NB ( 1,153 miles from the ocean, at Baltimore, MD) at Promontory Point, UT.  A train from each end was driven to the end of its line and the last rails were placed. (For the record, the UP crew was Irish and the CP crew was Chinese.)  The last rail was spiked into a special tie made from California Bay Laurel, with a golden spike driven by Leland Stanford (CP) and Thomas Durant (UP) using a silver (plated) mallet.  The simple fact is that you don't drive golden spikes into laurel with anything short of magic, so a hole was pre-drilled into the laurel tie, somebody dropped the spike into it and it was then tapped into place. Leland Stanford, being astoundingly unaccustomed to any sort of physical labor took the silver hammer and took a swing like he had seen the workmen do and missed the spike completely.  Not to be outdone, Thomas Durant stepped up to the plate, grabbed the mallet and missed the whole damn tie.  Some unknown worker then stepped in and tapped the spike into place and word was telegraphed far and wide that it was done.

Not necessarily in this order, the spike and tie were pulled lest they be stolen and replaced with ordinary, serviceable, ones, the two trains rolled forward until their cowcatchers touched, and a great photo shoot took place and history was more or less made.  Meanwhile, out west, the CP line was stalled at the town of Lathrop, 60 miles from Sackamenna, by a minor detail known as the San Joaquin River.  A bridge was eventually built and rail connections laid in September 1869, a paltry 4 months after the fact.  To the east, the UP line was stalled at Council Bluffs by the Misery, which they did not manage to bridge and link up to Omaha until 1872. Still landlocked at both ends, though there was some river traffic between Sackamenna and San Francisco, it was nevertheless in the history books forever.  In 1904, no doubt tired of the hills and curves on the promontory point route, they did what they should have done ab initio and ran a new line straight across the Great Salt Lake from Ogden, UT to Lucin, UT and Promontory Point ceased to be on the mainline.  The rails on that section, however, weren't removed until 1942, when they were salvaged for wartime uses.

The US successfully launched its very own V-2 rocket on May 10, 1946, almost exactly a year after  VE Day (May 8, 1945).  Why the long delay, one might ask, and well one might.  We will most probably never ever know and should be very reluctant to accept any official explanation, be it from the government or the MIC, (assuming that they aren't really one and the same).  I do, however have a working hypothesis.  Beyond the probable graft, corruption and division of spoils in the form of contracts and subcontracts, I strongly suspect that the originals were metric, that any plans, documents, computations and the like were metric.  Further, the German scientists "voluntarily" working on our project probably thought and computed in metric..  Meanwhile we had all these sub-contractors running around going "Does anybody have a metric torque wrench or a tape measure with centimeters?"  Being USA, we couldn't just order some from abroad, which would make it seem that we weren't up to the task, but had to manufacture our own, and not just tools, but precision tools, gauges, measuring devices, calibration kits, and shit like that.  I mean, I don't know, but that's my guess. I mean this was 1946 and we lost a Mars orbiter in 1999 because Lockheed still used Imperial Units for a critical computation..

On this day in history:

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28 BC – Han dynasty astronomers observed a sunspot during the reign of Emperor Cheng of Han

1503 – Christopher Columbus visited the Cayman Islands and named them Las Tortugas 

1534 – Jacques Cartier visited Newfoundland.

1773 – The Parliament of Great Britain passed the Tea Act

1774 – Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette became King and Queen of France,

1775 – The Second Continental Congress met

1801 – Tripoli's  Barbary pirates declared war on the United States of America.

1824 – The National Gallery in London opened

1837 – NYC banks suspended payment of specie, starting a banking crisis and economic depression known as The Panic of 1837

1857 – India's first war of Independence began.

1869 – The golden spike completing the Transcontinental Railroad was driven at Promontory Summit, Utah 

1872 – Victoria Woodhull became the first female nominee for US President 

1876 – The Centennial Exposition  opened in Philly

1916 – Ernest Shackleton arrived at South Georgia

1922 – The US annexed the Kingman Reef.

1924 – Lawless criminal mastermind J. Edgar Hoover was appointed Director of the Feebs, a position he abused until his death in 1972,

1940 - Winston Churchill was appointed Prime Minister of the UK; Germany invaded France, Belgium and Luxembourg; and the UK occupied Iceland

1946 – The first successful launch of a US V-2 rocket

1994 – Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa's first black president.

2012 – The Damascus bombings were carried out, killing 55 people

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Born this day in:

 Simplicity lies concealed in this chaos, and it is only for us to discover it.

~~   Augustin-Jean Fresnel

1755 – Robert Gray, captain and explorer
1788 – Augustin-Jean Fresnel, physicist and engineer
1812 – William Henry Barlow, engineer
1841 – James Gordon Bennett, Jr., publisher and broadcaster
1847 – Wilhelm Killing, mathematician and academic 
1893 – Tonita Peña, San Ildefonso Pueblo (Native American) artist
1894 – Dimitri Tiomkin, composer and conductor
1898 – Ariel Durant, historian and author
1899 – Fred Astaire, actor, singer, and dancer
1900 – Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, astronomer and astrophysicist
1901 – John Desmond Bernal, crystallographer and physicist
1901 – Hildrus Poindexter, bacteriologist
1909 – Maybelle Carter, autoharp player
1911 – Bel Kaufman,  author and educator
1916 – Milton Babbitt, composer and educator
1920 – Bert Weedon, guitarist
1929 – Antonine Maillet, author and playwright
1930 – George E. Smith, physicist and engineer
1935 – Larry Williams, singer, songwriter, pianist, and producer
1940 – Arthur Alexander, country-soul singer and songwriter
1946 – Donovan, singer and songwriter
1946 – Graham Gouldman, guitarist and songwriter
1946 – Dave Mason, singer and songwriter and guitarist
1947 – Caroline B. Cooney, American author
1952 – Sly Dunbar, drummer
1957 – Sid Vicious, singer and bass player
1960 – Bono, singer, songwriter, musician and activist
1969 – John Scalzi, author and blogger

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Died this day in:

 Never explain what you do. It speaks for itself. You only muddle it by talking about it.

~~  Shel Silverstein

1482 – Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli, mathematician and astronomer

1787 – William Watson, physician, physicist, and botanist
1798 – George Vancouver, navigator and explorer

1849 – Hokusai,  painter and illustrator

1990 – Walker Percy, novelist and essayist
1999 – Shel Silverstein, poet, author, and illustrator
2006 – Soraya, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer

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Holidays, Holy Days, Festivals, Feast Days, Days of Recognition, and such:

Confederate Memorial Day (North Carolina and South Carolina)
Golden Spike Day (Promontory, Utah)
National Women's Check Up Day
   Wouldn't it be nice if that were "FREE National Women's Check Up Day"??
National Shrimp Day
National Small Business Day
World Lupus Day

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Music goes here, iirc, well, With apologies Wink

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Golden Spike Day

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US V-2 Rocket Launch Success

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Dimitri Tiomkin

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Maybelle Carter

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Bert Weedon

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Larry Williams

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Arthur Alexander

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Donovan

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Graham Gouldman

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Dave Mason

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Sly Dunbar

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Bono

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Shel Silverstein

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It's an open thread, so do your thing, got it? Below this point this is a public forum, your forum, nothing is off topic, so go for it


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Comments

Lookout's picture

Too bad we substituted interstates and cars for our rail system post WWII

Europe still has excellent train service, and look out when China's BRI connects Asia and Europe with high speed rail. One reason we love to go to Europe is the trains make it so easy.

We're too busy building drones, aircraft carriers, and bombs rather than create something useful. The empire can't fall fast enough for me.

Have a good one!

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8 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

enhydra lutris's picture

@Lookout

somewhat overwhelming and even confusing the first time we from the US encounter them. It's funny, remember the alleged plan to build some out as part of an alleged infrastructure improvement plan, well, medium speed rail, at any rate. Whatever happened to that, I wonder?

be well and have a good one

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8 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Lookout's picture

@enhydra lutris

...is all the money was spent on studies...rather then substance.

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2 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout @Lookout took over from trains and trolleys because Trains, trolleys, streetcars, run on rails and electricity.

Goodyear Rubber and Standard Oil had other ideas. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

So that is where we are. Filthy. Polluted. Benefiting the few. Suffocating the many.

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10 users have voted.

NYCVG

@NYCVG Really isn't all that interesting compared to the real story—the automobile is a very appealing product. As the legendary Bunkie Knudsen was quoted as saying when confronted by the big ad bills of the 50s and 60s, "How hard can it be to sell a device that takes its owner where he wants to go sitting down?"

Yes, I am sure that many citizens in, for example, Minneapolis wish they could have their street car lines back again. But that option isn't valid for the simple reason that every city built in the last 100 years was designed to accommodate the automobile. $Trillions have been invested in low density development. As the great Thorstein Veblen said, "The laws of the land were written in the interests of the petty real estate speculators."

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2 users have voted.
QMS's picture

Not trying to be small minded here but ..

thanks for the OT!

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7 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@QMS

Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co. is a small business or not.

be well and have a good one

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5 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

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2 users have voted.

@humphrey The anti-Bibi coalition announced this morning that they would be announcing the formation of a new government in days.

Now Bibi's partisans are declaring that a new government must wait.

of course, the opposite is true.

A New government may bring stability and hope to an embattled, desperate minority. It may not do so, obviously. Still will be Israelis with a RW bent in charge. Unless Ra'am a small Palestinian group joins the anti-Bibi government.

All we can do is wait and watch.

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7 users have voted.

NYCVG

First let me exhale in delight. I haven't heard Try and Catch The Wind in a long time and it hits me squarely in my romantic spot, remembering long ago lost loves.

On to The Railroad Spike....oh boy. Yes so much BS. On to finish my thoughts after I read Lookout's post

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5 users have voted.

NYCVG

dystopian's picture

Hi EL! and all! Hope all are well!

Thanks for the Golden Spike history... so "Mission Accomplished" goes way back??? Great description of J.Edgar evil. Great Shel, what a funny guy he was... always loved his stuff. I had not heard the great smoke-off in decades... hilarious. Tom Lehrer too, love him, everything he wrote was great... Where are these types today?

Didn't Dave Mason play some 12 string acoustic on Hendrixes All Along the Watchtower?
This is one of his great songs - the fill lead licks and solo are amazing... Baby Please.

Hope it's all good for all!

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5 users have voted.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

enhydra lutris's picture

@dystopian

played 12 string and some bass, though maybe no bass on final take.

Went to Hayward Shoreline yesterday - check this:

clapper_rail3

clapper_rail2

be well and have a good one

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2 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

dystopian's picture

@enhydra lutris @enhydra lutris WOW EL! Awesome Clapper Rail! What are they called now? They got split and those CA ones (formerly Light-footed Clapper Rail) got full species status with a new name since I left CA. Ridgeway's Rail! That's the new name, had to look it up... after good ol' Robert.
Well he did lose his Whip-poor-will which was Ridgeway's Whip-p-w when I grew up, but renamed Buff-collared Nightjar officially at some point. So he has a rail... GREAT bird. When I was a kid, before Huntington Harbor destroyed that huge Salicornia marsh there we were part of the group that had 200 in a day there! 62 or so I think, maybe 63. They were 'coots' as a kid in socal there, Bolsa Chica, Newport Bay, etc. Largely decimated now.

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4 users have voted.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

enhydra lutris's picture

@dystopian
now, once, for years, at least once a week. We've seen exactly two of those, and this time we had a camera. Seriously scarce puppies, endangered and all that. Great morning.

be well and have a good one

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3 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --