Author Archives: geekemeritus

Critical “Race” Theory

It is Memorial Day Again.

Last Memorial Day I was on a boat in Charleston Harbor headed to Fort Sumter for a much-too-short visit. But today I saw a TV blurb about the delayed Indy 500, something I have not thought about for many years.

That took me back 65 years to 1959. Memorial Day was “Decoration Day”1 back then, and always on May 30, a Saturday, that year. I was mowing the grass with a gasoline lawnmower that you had to push. I was running with the mower so I could finish before the start of the Indianapolis 500 on the radio.2 Sid Collins, the “voice of the Indianapolis 500” until1977 would say, “and now, to start the greatest spectacle in racing, here is the President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Tony Hulman.” Then you would hear Hulman say loudly, slowly and emphatically, “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines.”3 And even on the radio, the cacophony was overwhelming. I don’t remember much about the race, and only by looking on Wikipedia do I know that Roger Ward won in a Watson-Offenhauser, and Jim Rathman was second, also in a Watson-Offenhauser. But I listened to the entire race.

Continue reading

Battles at Bull Run

Two battles were fought at Manassas. The first in July, 1861, and the second thirteen months later in August of 1862.

I spent three days at Bull Run, walking the battlefields, researching the events and talking with park rangers and volunteers. Manassas is about the best curated of all the battlefields I visited. The National Park Service is trying to return the battlefields to the way they were when the battle occurred. That means removing trees and structures as well as planting trees and restoring or recreating structures. Manassas staff has made the most progress on these projects.

Continue reading

Disruptive Civil War Technology

If you manage any type of business, you likely have heard the term, “disruptive technology.” The term was first defined by Clayton Christensen in a 1995 Harvard Business Review article1 as having the following qualities.

  • A disruptive technology supersedes an older process, product, or habit.
  • It usually has superior attributes that are immediately obvious, at least to early adopters.
  • Upstarts rather than established companies are the usual source of disruptive technologies.
Continue reading

Geekemeritus 2023 Review

Note: This report was prepared in January, 2024, but due to a “senior moment” (actually more than one), I thought I had posted it, but alas, had not. I only now discovered that.
So a little late, but here it is.

Well, it is the end of another year, one in which several long-time friends and family have died, and life has changed greatly for others. The reality of life’s brevity is finally coming to rest on me. Although I am not a fan of reliving the past, I think it is important to look at my year and revisit some of the events and savor those that were special in some way.

I covered a lot of ground in 2023 — About 10,000 miles, mostly on America’s byways. Only in the early 2000’s when I was flying between the US and UK have I traveled more. In the past 12 months, I…

  • Lived in the Airstream for 7 months
  • Spent time in 18 states and 4 Canadian provinces
  • Visited 11 Civil War battlefields
  • Camped in a World Heritage Site
  • Followed and explored the old Santa Fe Trail
  • Walked on the ocean floor
  • Climbed the Kill Devil hills
  • Camped on several American Indian reservations
  • Explored the original Manhattan Project site
  • Met many interesting people

Of all the places I visited, here is a severely limited list of stand outs.

Continue reading

Why I Wander America

How many times over the past five years have I driven down a backroad on a sunny morning, to a place I have never been; just me, no other vehicles, and I find I am overwhelmed by what I see and where I am, I am so grateful that I get to do this. On the backroads of America there is a peace I have not found any other place (except for a little cottage on the Molokai channel). I get to experience places and things most people will never know.

It now occurs to me that I have never explained why I spend two-thirds of my time wandering around America.

Continue reading

The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum

2021-10-27

Evergreen International Aviation has a curious history. It was long considered a CIA front, but the founder, Delford Smith would not “confirm or deny” this. However, the fact is several of the company’s senior executives either worked for the agency or had close ties to it. Smith founded the company as Evergreen Helicopters in 1960. Over 50 years the company expanded to operate in 168 countries as both a private and government contractor. Evergreen has been associated with numerous high-profile activities from movies to forest fire water delivery. Beginning in 2013 the $1 billion company began chapter 7 bankruptcy and the assets were sold. The last fleet aircraft were several 747 cargo carriers, one of which (N479EV) was converted to an aerial firefighting tanker which flew numerous firefighting missions, until 2017 when it was destroyed for salvage. The final aircraft of the fleet, the Global Supertanker, ceased operations in 2021 and was converted to a freighter.

Continue reading

Artist in Residence

The little airport in the town where I grew up built a new terminal (even though it has no air service). It houses administrative offices, and a large cafe. But the thing that makes it unique – or so they claim – it is the only airport terminal in the US that has a built-in brewery.

Anyway, I recently came across a brewery that has an “Artist-in-residence.” The Hook Hand Brewery & Taproom in Williamston, NC is such a place.

Continue reading

Some Memorial Day Thoughts

Spending Memorial Day at Fort Sumter where the Civil War began reminded me that the first celebrations of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day occurred shortly after at the end of the War, and one of the most remarkable was here in Charleston.

Late in the war Union prisoners were held on the infield of the race track at the Charleston Jockey Club. Over 200 died during the time and were buried in a mass grave behind the grandstands.

Continue reading

Fort Sumter on Memorial Day

Fort Sumter1 was built after the war of 1812 as one of a series of coastal port defenses and named after a Revolutionary war hero, General Thomas Sumter. But it entered history as the site of the first shot of the Civil War.

It is built on a constructed island formed of 70,000 tons of granite shipped from New York and Vermont. The newly created island was allowed to settle for several years before the brickwork began.

Some day I will summarize the causes of the Civil War and the events leading up to the firing on Fort Sumter, but the brief list is:

Continue reading
  1. The fort was named to honor the Revolutionary war general, Thomas Sumter. Camp Sumter (Andersonville) in Georgia was named for Sumter County where it is located. The county was named for Thomas Sumter. []