The Charlotte News

Monday, January 4, 1943


Site Ed. Note: We first wish to disclaim today any notion that our note on Friday, regarding the results sometimes of dyslexia being scrambled eggs, had anything to do with President Roosevelt's statement in Woollen Gymnasium on the campus of the University of North Carolina in his speech delivered there December 5, 1938, offering assurance that he did not have grilled millionaire for breakfast but rather scrambled eggs, as referenced from the note of Saturday.

By simple syllogistic progression between the thoughts, however, one might conclude that, at least some of the time, President Roosevelt dined on dyslexics.

But no.

That would imply scrambled eggs.

We have never heard of it and doubt seriously that such was the case. Nor were we being the least bit hardboiled toward dyslexics in so suggesting. We have nothing against dyslexics or against scrambled eggs. We eat them often ourselves, that is, scrambled eggs.

But, as to the scrambled eggs generated in some by other maladies, such as obscurantism, a kind of mental rheumatism which sets in when people run too fast to adhere to opinions and attitudes and beliefs, without proper factual and philosophical foundation as the building stones on which to construct those opinions, attitudes, and beliefs, we can not venture any so definite and clear an assurance.

The first abstract of the 1942 book They Were Expendable by William L. White appeared in this day’s News. As promised, we shall provide each part, appearing through the end of the month. The series focuses on the trials of a single PT-boat squadron which was assigned to the Philippines in the fall of 1941. The squadron was commanded by Lieutenant John Bulkeley, and ultimately was assigned, in mid-March 1942, the perilous task of ferrying General MacArthur out of the immediate range of the doomed fight in the Philippines, on his way to Australia.

The President had recounted to reporters in March hare fashion the means by which he had answered the inquiry of a woman at a White House dinner who had asked the means by which General MacArthur got to his destination: he was rowed twenty-five hundred miles.

So, this is the story of those dauntless rowers.

In his introductory note, Mr. White explains that his account is mainly based on the recollections of four officers who were a part of the PT-boat squadron. He defends the purpose of the account, though exposing in the process many criticisms of the means and manner of supply of the armed forces and of the country's support of them at "America's little Dunkirk", on the rationale that "[i]f our mistakes are concealed from us, they can never be corrected." He plumps for an actively critical press during time of war, for the sake of both bolstering morale of the troops, continually confronted with the reality of war regardless of reportage at home, and to dispel among the domestic audience any notions of imminent victory not borne out by the actual record in the theater of war.

The implication to be derived by the results of the conflict is that to sugar-coat a war, with due recognition for the need to maintain as secret the specific details of operations, both in advance and in the immediate aftermath of the individual skirmishes and battles, is to invite its loss. The press might take note today for its shabby performance in the opening salvos, and for months thereafter, in the 2003 Iraq war--a shabby performance which only helped prolong the engagement by embedding itself as cheerleaders, for the most part, with notable exceptions, to obtain high ratings, rather than telling the American public the truth of the matter, insisting the while on the opportunity to observe in order to do so; in consequence, any scant glimpse of the truth which one could glean being the result of close study from within the historical context of both that country and the ways of war in general, there having been no reason to suspect that this particular war would suddenly appear as a time-warp space odyssey, released from the ordinary laws of gravity.

Next time, pay less attention to your coffers and coiffures and more to the war and its substantive reality.

"Wow, look at the fireworks. We'll just leave it right here for the next 45 minutes and study this engagement, live, right here on the DIM Network, your most trustworthy source of news 24 hours a day. Isn't that something? Back in a moment, after a word from our sponsor. [Hey, gofer, I have a hair outta place and my eyelashes aren't right. Did I go to modeling school for this? And, if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, I need a napkin beside my microphone to wipe away the sweat.]"

This lesson of warfare, of course, was most vividly displayed in the era of Vietnam when the press came under attack by the right wing hawks of the country for being too bold in its negative reporting of a war going badly by 1968. Many considered these faults then and subsequently, especially during the Nixon years, to have been in large part responsible for the virulent and vitrolic reaction, especially among the youth subject to the draft, at home.

Of course, it is nonsense to so believe, then or now. The simple reason for young men and women going to the streets in protest of the war in Vietnam was the constant reminder of body bags being shipped home from that war zone which few, if any, understood in its greater implications, that is within the context of history. And that was for want of anyone explaining to that generation, assuming that, somehow, those broader explanations had been gleaned by osmosis in the crib or, as the case may be, as a foundling beside the road during the fifties--we describe only cases of which we know firsthand--, the purpose of the war, except, that is, in the most facile terms, via the "Domino Theory", that once Vietnam fell to the Communists, all of the rest of South and Southeast Asia would potentially fall to the Communists, triggering a nuclear engagement. That theory, based on the World War II model, proved faulty when, eventually, in 1975, South Vietnam fell to the Communists without such dire results, its fall having come despite the "honorable peace", a la Munich, brought home by President Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger from the Paris Peace Talks in January, 1973.

And we all hopped in our cars and paraded around campus with horns blaring, celebrating the "end" of a long bloody war for America, lasting eight full years.

But, of course, for the South Vietnamese, the security of whom from Communist dominion the country ostensibly had gone to war, it was no victory at all. Blame President Nixon for that, not President Johnson, who died just five days before the signing of the 1973 treaty.

No one, even those up to the worst Monkey Business to this day, may certainly blame John F. Kennedy, who, within days before his untimely death, had issued an executive order establishing a schedule for withdrawal of the limited numbers of military personnel then acting as advisors to the South Vietnamese forces then on the ground in Vietnam. It may have been properly "Johnson's war" to begin with, but it was Nixon’s debacle in the end, after having been elected in 1968 on a wink and a nod as "the New Nixon" with his "secret plan" for ending the war, one which remained secret, very secret, for four full years, miraculously, until just after election day in 1972, before it was finally revealed.

The secret plan, more or less, turned out to be called Watergate. But, we digress.

The first article by Mr. White sets the stage in the lively fashion of a novel, beginning on the front page, and continuing onto the inside page. Pay close attention to the description of the PT boat as having been no more than an ephemeral eggshell shielding these brave men from enemy fire, one made of plywood, with "armor" in front of the guns 3/8-inch thick, but also only of plywood. (That is plywood of the same thickness which we used in January, 1964 to secure the tracks of our Authentic Model Turnpike which we described to you in December as having received that sad Christmas of 1963. It was fit for keeping those little plastic sections of track together, we suppose; but we never tested it to determine its ability to withstand bullets. We are doubtful.) But that is the material, made of Philippine and Honduran hardwood mahogany, not pine, which they had in plenty in 1941 with which to build, quickly and on a large scale, swift, lightweight boats; and so that is what they were sent. That was the material used to build motorboats in those times. And that, in glorified form, was the vessel in which these brave crews on these little maneuverable craft went out on patrol. (There were, by all accounts, no lively Monkey Business women aboard either.)

No wonder that the President had told the inquiring woman at the White House in March that General MacArthur had been rowed to Australia.

Moreover, the President, as we have before mentioned early on in this project, in the article on W. J. Cash’s death, was a great believer in small craft, from his time as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under Secretary Josephus Daniels.

So, with that introduction to the series, we shall let you read it on your own, beginning on the front page, continuing on the inside page, without too much further summary or description during the month, as it is quite readable as it is--written not just in some dry narrative but as a war adventure story, with a twist, a critical twist. The good guys lost this one. Any veteran of Vietnam will likely find a familiar story in this series, starting with the description in this first installment of inadequately equipped American soldiers fighting with inadequately trained Filipinos, comprising the bulk of the Army in the field when news came, not by surprise, according to one sailor, that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7.

Today's piece ends with an infected finger, with the second officer in command of the PT-boat squadron insisting that there was no time either to go to the infirmary or even to see the doctor on Corregidor, that he had to put to sea on patrol, and so contented himself with the advice of the medic to soak his swollen finger in Epsom salts.

The piece does not elucidate which finger it was, but we might guess.

We always found that a good home remedy ourselves, on instruction of our mama for such maladies. Salt water. Good for glass.

If it turns black though, just get the kitchen knife out, Ringo.

The sixth in the series of seven installments by Dorothy Knox, titled "Our Forgotten Children", on the inadequate segregated facilities for both black and white children deemed too slow initially in their learning process to be part of the ordinary public school system is here. She recapitulates the ground of the previous pieces, outlining the reasons for her report, stressing again the need for the Legislature to provide increased funding for the schools and the availability as gifts of certain parcels of land and housing for additional facilities.

While we do not at all criticize this honest and forthright attempt of Ms. Knox to lay out responsibly a crying need and a means by which to meet that need in the state, we note thus far in the series, its somewhat dry content, devoid of any lifeblood, which only anecdotal matter may seed a story to expose the monster, that which was so well presented in both series of articles on the mental institution at Morganton, that by Tom Jimison and that on the Women’s Ward by the anonymous female former patient. In mustering public support for a position, there is no substitute for reporting based on direct observation of the conditions under scrutiny, as opposed to quoting from dryly composed third-party reports, no matter the expertise and political clout of those quoted authors.

But we do not fault Ms. Knox for this apparent exiguity, recognizing that we have not yet read the first three parts of the series or the last, and thus may be entirely wrong in our assessment, stating the case more for academic reasons than in criticism of this particular series. For, in this time of war, with the rationing of gasoline and rubber, it was not so easy to get around freely, and Kinston and nearby Goldsboro, where these two institutions were, are about 200 miles from Charlotte, over secondary roads in those days, with a speed limit extant of 35 mph for the duration of the war, not even any coffee or sugar available to stay awake on the drive. And, she was in the Promethean position, as she readily elucidates, of attempting to convince a legislature, bound by wartime spending constraints, to approve increased funding for children in whom no one saw much utilitarian value to society, not even for fighting in a war--a very cold, but real attitude prevailing at the time in the world generally, with daily reports of people being tossed in heaps by the thousands in warfare, which, having hit their eyes with increasing regularity for five years, inevitably seeped to inure slowly their subconscious minds to a dehumanized condition, shaped on the turning spindle, to produce finally a consciousness jaundiced to life itself.

The WPA had just been disbanded, signaling nationally a need to devote the bulk of tax dollars to the war and constrict purse strings on social programs.

The thinking, no doubt, however, was that an appeal to the conscience of the state had worked in the case of the mental hospitals, and so a little social crusading on behalf of the children might obtain positive results, especially just after Christmas. And, in this case, she offered the solution of donated facilities to resolve the initial problem of overcrowding, even if to hire and train personnel to administer such separate facilities inevitably meant substantially increased funding.

These children, as with the men in the Philippines in the winter and spring of 1942, had been deemed, of practical necessity to win the war as a whole, expendable.

On the front page, a piece from Stockholm takes stock of the faltering German oil supply in light of the major news of the day of the recapture by the Russians, amid heavy rains, of Mozdok in the central Caucasus, cutting off any possibility of capturing the critical oilfields sixty miles to the south at Grozny. Formerly, to supply the twenty million tons of fuel annually needed to keep the Wehrmacht running, the Nazis relied on synthetic oil to comprise half the supply while obtaining the remainder from Rumania and captured territory. The Russians were now finding abandoned panzer tanks and vehicles which had simply run out of gas, indicative of dwindling German oil reserves, now largely devoted to maintaining the defense of Southern Europe. The sign could not have been more significant of both the goal of the Russian campaign and its consequence for failing to achieve that goal in time. The story underscores implicitly the strategic centrality of the Russian campaign and why the Allies had to insure its success, as had been pointed out many times previously by The News. The enormous sacrifice in human life paid by the Russians to protect Russia’s vital resources and to reacquire lost territory from the summer Nazi offenses in both 1941 and 1942 is thus highlighted in its sine qua non status for achieving overall victory by the Allies in World War II. It also, of course, gave the Russians enormous leverage in obtaining favorable terms on post-war administration of Eastern European territory in the months leading to the end of the war, setting the stage, however unwittingly, thereby for the Cold War.

Was there any practical way out of this dilemma? We think not.

A State Department White Book revealed that the Japanese had planned to lure President Roosevelt onto a shipboard meeting, similar to the August, 1941 Atlantic Charter meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill, to address further the negotiations ongoing through the day before the attack at Pearl Harbor, attempting to obtain promise from the Japanese to withdraw from their occupation of Indo-China and to end their war in China. As all such negotiations had failed to produce any indication of compromise by the Japanese, President Roosevelt was not such a sucker to respond to Prince Konoye’s honorable invitation so to sit with him on a Japanese ship and sip sake--most honorably certainly to have been his last drink of anything in this life, save that of the glass of the boatman rowing him across the River Styx, as the intent of the plan was to have the President within the physical grasp of the Japanese warlords as the bombing began at Pearl Harbor.

The report also revealed that in January, 1941 Joseph Grew, U. S. Ambassador to Japan, had indicated a suspected attack on Pearl Harbor in the works should the negotiations fail between the Japanese and the U.S. State Department, slated to begin in April--bent on resumption of full trade with the United States, cut off completely in summer, 1941, and being allowed retention of their claimed territorial rights in establishing the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The recipient of the information, General Sherman Miles, assistant chief of Army intelligence, deemed the message too unlikely and too unreliable to provide it serious consideration or forward it to higher command. It thus lay dormant. The message had come via the Peruvian Ambassador whose Japanese cook informed him of it, just three weeks after the contingency plan for attacking Pearl Harbor was indeed first mapped out by the Japanese naval commanders. The plan would, however, not receive approval for final implementation until the following September, even if its inevitability was charted by the course determined in the July 2 meeting of the Imperial High Command, authorizing the movement south to take the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines, should the negotiations with Washington not achieve success strictly in uncompromising adherance to the stated goals.

General MacArthur pronounced the Japanese situation in New Guinea "hopeless", as the last remaining remnants of cocoanut grove protected troops in the Buna area were eliminated. The Allies were now moving to attempt to take the last position reported as occupied by the Japanese on the Papuan Peninsula, in the swampy Sanananda, five miles north of Buna.

Manpower administrator Paul McNutt was reported, from a magazine article, to have indicated that nearly every eligible male between 18 and 38 would be called upon to serve in the armed forces, with few eligibilities being granted for replaceable employees previously made exempt in 1942 for their service in essential war industries. The piece indicates that prediction was that only 30 to 40 percent of the available men over 30 would be deemed fit physically to enter service. Thus, the fighting burden henceforth would largely fall on those between age 20 and 30.

On the editorial page, "No Decision" summarizes the winter counter-offensive in Russia, indicating that it now foreclosed any possibility of the Wehrmacht hitting back before spring, its primary rail supplies into Stalingrad and from the north into Rostov now being all but completely cut off with the fall of Kotelnikovski on the rail line to Stalingrad and the surrounding of Millerovo on the northern rail route. The editorial nevertheless cautions that, unless by spring the Allies could increase pressure on the Axis in North Africa, in the bombing raids on Central Europe and Italy, in initiating a move into Southern Europe, Russia’s new gains likely would, as in 1942, be again lost.

Thus, it was imperative for Hitler to find a way, despite the overly stretched fuel supplies, to concentrate on North Africa to keep the Allies busy there as long as possible, to avoid the inexorable invasion of Sicily for as long as possible, hoping for the opportunity for another blitz by June into Stalingrad and the Caucasus, finally to acquire the prize in the Caucasus, oil, and in Stalingrad, the port by which to transport it through the Caspian Sea from Baku, and the industrial base by which then to refine it and produce steel for making locally the armament to protect it all.

But, that, with those sleigh bells of the Russians still ringing loudly, was no more than the idle dream of a madman at this juncture, running fast, in the squirrel cage, all shook up and out of gas.

The handwriting of Kilroy was now beginning to show up, either directly or indirectly, in far too many places. Hitler's days, though in his fogged insanity probably not recognized, were numbered--847, to be precise.

"Any Price" reviews the expression of the opinion enunciated in the Raleigh News & Observer by Josephus Daniels to the effect that the Administration was, for the Government's lucrative manufacturing contracts on rubber, engines, and Gold, in breach of its promise that no new millionaires would come of the war.

The piece muffles the significance of such charges on the basis that high taxes would likely neutralize the profiteering which had been so rampant during World War I and, moreover, that the American public was likely no longer at this juncture concerned over such possibilities, that winning the war, and at any cost, was the singular goal uppermost in the concerns of most people.

The piece does not mention the Administration's implementation during the fall of a cap of $25,000 on after-tax salaries, after the October 1 appointment of Supreme Court Justice James Byrnes as head of the newly created Office of Economic Stabilization, and despite the measure having earlier in September, 1942 been rejected by Congress subsequent to its promulgation by the President in January.

In any event, it would seem that, along with the President, the millionaires were likely to be enjoying far fewer Waldorf breakfasts comprised of eggs-Benedict and would, instead, be dining, more often than not, on scrambled eggs, unless, that is, they were too slow to learn the lesson, in which case we could predict that the President would become again fairly hard-boiled.

Mmmm, we have made ourselves hungry and so must hurry along here. Googoogoojoob.

"New Leaders" conveys the results of the huge build-up during 1942 of both men and materiel coming from the United States. The Allies had now fifteen million men in military service compared to a combined total of about ten million remaining for the Axis, the eight million originally in German uniform having been decimated by fully half. British air power exceeded the amalgam of that of Germany and Italy. The editorial nevertheless cautions patience, that numerical superiority must first be translated into strategic and tactical victory to displace the considerable advantages already obtained by both Germany and Japan in those critical aspects of war.

Raymond Clapper advocates putting General De Gaulle in charge of the French government in Algiers.

And, flak is generated by a vituperative response of Councilman C. H. Daughtry--and the Deaf Aids--to a News editorial, "The Payoff", appearing December 30, criticizing the apparent usurpation of powers allowed the city council to appoint a sanitary department head, and in the particular case of the exercise of the supposed usurped power, the problematic appointment of John Barbee. The letter defends Mr. Barbee and offers his parsimonious budgetary performance as example. The editorial note following the letter, however, points out that wartime restraints in transportation had led largely to those savings. So there.

Also, from the front page, John Kieran wrote of language, with a well-known up-popping voice (w.k.u.p.v.) in the background heckling and rankling him in his meandering thought-stream. Mr. Kieran was, beginning in 1938, a regular panelist, along with pianist Oscar Levant and columnist Franklin P. Adams ("FPA"), on the popular radio program of the day, "Information Please!" (We know the w.k.u.p.v. very well, ourselves. For more on Mr. Kieran, go here and here, and, for the ghostly presence, Q.E.D., of its Kilroy muse, here, at least so says the w.k.u.p.v.--which also said to us yesterday, as we read Saturday's note by our city editor, "K.K.K.K.U.B.", much to our surprise and consternation, as we recovered from our Friday rocking and reeling, just as with our realization for the first time that Gene Autry was, in 1944, sworn in as a lieutenant--after first serving as a sergeant, in the Air Transport Command, assigned to ship critical gasoline and supplies from India to China over the "W" Pass of the "Hump" in the Himalayas--at, of all places, Love Field, Dallas, Texas. And that's a fact. Make of it what you will.)

We may return, incidentally, in our hound dog ways, to that incomplete thought Mr. Kieran prevails upon us to think, regarding the hypothetical comment to the ump by Leo Durocher, manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. It reminds of a scene from that novel by our friend in the Caribbean from 1991. But, not today, for insuring obedience to the ten percent reduction in newsprint ordered by the Government, to which regulation we are steadfastly intending obedience.

His reference in the first sentence in the piece, incidentally, to "etaoin shrdlu" is not to some obscure foreign language, but rather to the letters produced by running the fingers along the first two vertical banks of a Linotype machine’s keyboard. Linotypers sometimes deliberately put these letters in place of text, to be later substituted, but then forget the substitution, rendering the letters in the final print. So, while, on most newspapers, such tasks are done today electronically, should you ever encounter, in an older publication, such a strange couple of words not in your dictionary, you will understand what happened. Allusively, it refers to any yladb ngmnaled ypte. Now you understand its meaning, Q.E.D.

We deal with the noxious effects of etaoin shrdlu ereh eyver ndmade yad, which is why we elyrab edpssa ypingt in ghhi oloshc and, thus, were pkte otu of the atNionla orHno ytieoSc, 'sD eignb ccptlueaenab nda enervtob, ndatim, mdna hirte uslos! nda ietsepd gienb on the orhno lrlo vryee emdand aurqetr! It still rankles us. Fortunately, in college, we did not have to take this Greek course again. For more on the perils of linotyping, go here.

For more on Mademoiselle Fifi, mentioned by Mr. Kieran, go here and, more in line with her usage by Mr. Kieran, here.

Out of our files, incidentally, we found that piece by Cab Calloway, of which the note made mention Saturday. Written by Buddy Starcher, we purchased our copy of "History Repeats Itself" when it was first produced, in early 1966, not 1964. In any event, we found it in our stax of wax right after "Ballad of Irving", by Frank Gallop, and before "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry", by B. J. Thomas and the Triumphs. We also found it, to our surprise, online so that you may listen to it free of charge, as well as the country music original on which Mr. Calloway’s version was based, which we never had heard or even knew existed. (You may skip the last of the four versions, which, we think, is both dumb and insensitive.)

Oh, it provides no firm answers in itself and probably bends a couple of supposed facts. But, it does provide a starting point for actual evidentiary analysis of the whole horrible episode in a different light from that which was conveyed initially, in time-compressed, stressed frames of time, engineered to a degree to protect against undesirable consequences on both the world and the domestic stages, consequences which could have defeated the 1964 Civil Rights legislation, the 1965 Voting Rights Bill, and, potentially, even led to politically impressed nuclear ignition against the Soviets, over Cuba or Berlin, or other places, such as Southeast Asia.

We refer you to the thinking extant during World War II, as conveyed in "The Unborn" on Saturday, regarding the U.C.L.A. sociology professor's thesis, based on statistical projections, that the babies being born in 1943 would, for the married soldiers being sent off to war, have inadequate numbers of companions in the crib properly to fight another war with Japan, projected by the professor as an hypothetical potentiality in the year 1970.

That, of course, thank goodness, did not occur. The post-war re-building of both western Europe and Japan, orchestrated by the Truman Administration and administered, respectively, by George Marshall and Douglas MacArthur, obviated any such grim repetition of history.

But, the United States, of course, did get sucked, full-barrel, into a war in Southeast Asia in 1964, in fear of Communist aggression in that region, reminiscent to those who were in office and in command in 1941, of that which the Japanese militarists had foisted on the world, in concert with the Nazis, during the latter half of 1941, beginning, as it did, with the occupation of French Indochina by the Japanese in late July.

So, the professor's thinking was not entirely prophetic in one sense, as he could not foresee, obviously, in his statistical analysis, two things antithetical: the Baby Boom and the Big Bad Booms over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the both of which, in many respects, tax us through the present time, both our Treasury and our national defense, as well as, by responsive stimulation, that of other nations abroad the world.

But, Dr. Constantine Panunzio, while wrong in the particulars of his prognostic report on pragmatic concerns over, as well as under, sideways, and down, the shape of things to come, was dead-on center in his ultimate systemic prediction through time. We award him, therefore, the gift of prophecy, or, better put, the gift of assiduously having spent the time to study and embrace facts through the lens of a broad, liberal education in systemic actions and reactions through history in various societies in general, and how those systemic responses and counter-responses ultimately impact, first, small numbers of people in the small village, then, expanding, affect ultimately, in monkey-see, monkey-do style, the broader world stage.

Sometimes, it is simply better, as President Clinton once advised some right wing carpers, to go read a good book--or, to listen to some good music, such as "Jailhouse Rock". Then, one may understand the long term vision-thing better, not just that immediately in front of one's nose.

Otherwise, we advise saving your 2 cents plain until you acquire that scope of understanding, and leave the thinking to dedicated scholars and political leaders of the country. If you can't play the music, at least listen to those skilled at it, including those rare geniuses who go beyond the mere talent to do the impossible, acquisition through time of that broad wisdom sufficient to enable some understanding of the free-floating muse, the holistic ghost, which produces it apart from one's egocentric self--not just parrots regurgitating useless, out of context data, experts, textperts. Yet, we caution, without the expertise and textpertise of those possessed of it in fact, it remains especially difficult to do more than parrot, even if the latter may produce wisdom yet in others by its parroted stumbles in viewing, for instance, as something sinister, the arc of a beautiful bird flying into the sea. Just don't neglect to listen occasionally, at least, to that higher calling to understanding of those others.

It is no shame to admit lack of knowledge and full understanding of a complex systemic problem. Lack of time to explore in the time compression inevitable in daily life is the primary fault producing this condition. Its admission is the first step in acquiring just the understanding of which we write.

So that we do not fall behind in our factual palette, we take a moment quickly to summarize that which appeared on the front page of Saturday--at which time we were laid up on home furlough. It was reported that the spread of flood waters had reached Ohio. The Russians took back Velikie Luki on the central front, forcing dug-in Germans from their hedgehog positions, thus cutting off supplies and thereby threatening German lines around Leningrad, Smolensk, down the rail lines all the way to the Caucasus. From Algeria, General Giraud was reported to have released many of the usual persons, arrested as suspected Axis sympathizers, deemed to be instead loyal to the Free French cause. Yet, no mention was made of the dirty dozen usual suspects arrested Thursday, on suspicion of conspiracy in the death of Admiral Darlan--all of whom, no doubt, General Giraud, having been second in command to Admiral Darlan at the time of his assassination, was shocked, shocked to find in their midst. But at least he was arresting somebody. In the Buna area of New Guinea, the Allies had isolated the Japanese into two pockets, one being fortified, from cut down cocoanut trees, by a line of thatched pillboxes, in turn obscured by high grass. That effort was, by Monday, however, moot. The Hershey, Pa. zoo, having to close for want of funds, had to turn down daytrippers’ requests for bear cubs as pets. Not even tigers or lions, said the squib, were suitable for pets. These animals were real, not chocolate facsimiles. And, the cannery on Terminal Island off San Pedro, California caught fire.

Appearing also was the tragic story, from San Luis Obispo, California, of a four-year old boy who died when he gathered up his puppy and sought refuge in a refrigerator in a garage, in the face of an approaching large dog, as evidenced by the intruder's paw prints.

There are lessons to be learned from the news of even 67 years ago.

Most thrilling Eleventh Day of Christmas to you: Eleven plumbers plumbing pipes in tidal pools.

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