An aviation pioneer story in which my friend’s uncle participated –James H. Keeton.

Originally posted on itinerantneerdowell:

the ole miss“Ole Miss”

Everybody knows the story of Charles Lindbergh’s historic 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic.  The story of Al and Fred Key, two barnstorming brothers from Meridian, Mississippi isn’t as well known.  That’s unfortunate, because their aviation legacy continues today.  As young men, a WWI Air Corps plane made a nearby emergency landing, and spawned their fascination with aviation.

Their endurance flight was born of necessity during hardscrabble days of the Depression.  Bad economic times hit the Meridian area hard.  There was talk of turning the Meridian airport property into a cotton field.

For almost a decade [the airport] had been the Key’s chief source of income.  The brothers seized upon the idea of an endurance flight as a means of saving the field from the weevils.  

Endurance flights weren’t anything new–the brothers felt they could beat all existing records.  They set about to prove it with a borrowed, Curtiss Robin monoplane in the summer of…

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Post from last year, that is perhaps, more timely this year.

Originally posted on itinerantneerdowell:

Sins of fathers, mothers
Visited on sons, daughters
Of sons and daughters
Inheritance of
Newest generation
War raged–in the
Conventional sense
As a matter
Of course

Bubbled in
Hardened hearts
Like invisible
Storm clouds
On both sides
Of the great divide

As inevitability

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HISTORICAL MOMENTS: “Klaus Fretzer: Madman Across the Water”


A somewhat bizarre post, from earlier this year. An indirect tribute to my Germanic heritage.

Originally posted on itinerantneerdowell:

Today marks the tragic death anniversary of eccentric, eighteenth century German inventor, Klaus Heinrich Fretzer, from the village of Buxtehude.

I suppose the right trivia night question would be, “Who invented the Ümlaut?  To which, the answer and punch line, would be–It wasn’t Klaus Fretzer.”

Fretzer is widely thought to have invented a precursor to the aglet. Plastic hadn’t yet been invented.  Herr Fretzer dipped cotton lacing ends in latex rubber to keep them from fraying–christened his invention, the “baumwolle gummi bindenhalten.”

Other inventions were less successful–namely, the “regen dampfen schild klampfen,” mechanized, spring-loaded, pop-up umbrella, attached to the body with leather straps, and a bizarre furry pretzel called the “Fretzel.”  During a dark period of reclusive madness, he later claimed to have invented the Ümlaut.

Because of these, and other outlandish claims–one of which, was the final straw–the “nebelgefahren-klarensehen,” that supposedly enabled the user to see through fog.  Soon after–he became the…

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BLUE HERON BLUES (Gladys, Please Come Back!)


“Mating ritual turned fifties doo-wop–reprised”

Originally posted on itinerantneerdowell:

BirdwalkGladys, please come back!
Whatever it was, I didn’t mean it!
My heart beats for only you
Nobody does the things you do

I’ll walk the line forever
Even, till the end of time
If that’s what it takes
To make you mine, all mine

My dearest darling, can’t you see
I was meant for you, and you for me?
I should have told you, so many things
I long to hold you, in these empty wings

 Because, I’m so in love, I can’t forget
The serpentine curve of your slender neck
Your straw-colored legs, like graceful sticks
Beautiful feathers, lovely pointed beak
The cacophonic symphony, when you speak

–Photo by Craig Roberts– 

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