Archive for the ‘Nazis’ Category

Obit watch: October 26, 2016.

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Bob Hoover, possibly the greatest pilot ever, has passed away at the age of 94.

I don’t think that statement is hyperbole, though I suspect I might get arguments from some people.

Even General Yeager, perhaps the most famous test pilot of his generation, was humbled by Mr. Hoover, describing him in the foreword to Mr. Hoover’s 1996 autobiography, “Forever Flying,” as “the greatest pilot I ever saw.”
The World War II hero Jimmy Doolittle, an aviation pioneer of an earlier generation, called Mr. Hoover “the greatest stick-and-rudder man that ever lived.”

“Well, if he was such a hot stick, why wasn’t he the one who broke the sound barrier?” Answer: because he got crosswise with his superiors for doing some unauthorized low-level flying, so they put him in the chase plane for Yeager. When Chuck freakin’ Yeager says, “I want you to have my back on this one”, well…there’s your sign.

“Nazis?” Yes:

As a pilot with the 52nd Fighter Group, based in Corsica, Mr. Hoover, a lieutenant, flew 58 successful missions before his Spitfire fighter was shot down by the Luftwaffe in February 1944. He spent 16 months in Stalag Luft I, a prisoner of war camp in Germany reserved for Allied pilots.
Mr. Hoover and a friend escaped from the camp in the chaotic final days of the war, according to his memoir. Commandeering an aircraft from a deserted Nazi base, they flew it to freedom in the newly liberated Netherlands, only to be chased by pitchfork-wielding Dutch farmers enraged by the plane’s German markings.

He went on to become a hugely popular performer on the air show circuit:

Mr. Hoover’s trademark maneuver on the show circuit was a death-defying plunge with both engines cut off; he would use the hurtling momentum to pull the plane up into a loop at the last possible moment.
But his stunts were not foolhardy. Each involved painstaking preparation and rational calculation of risk. “A great many former friends of mine are no longer with us simply because they cut their margins too close,” he once said.

I regret that I never saw him perform: somehow, it just never seemed that he came anywhere near me in Texas. (There’s video of part of his routine on the NYT page.)

I did read, and liked, Forever Flying. There’s a story in there that I sometimes pull out and tell to younger technicians who have messed up and feel bad about it.

The story goes: Mr. Hoover was flying back from an airshow and stopped to have his plane refueled. He took off again, and very shortly after takeoff, the engines quit. By dint of superior airmanship, he managed to land the plane: nobody on board was killed or even injured, but the plane was pretty much a total loss.

When Mr. Hoover removed the gas cap, he found out what the problem was: as I recall, the guy who filled the plane put in the wrong type of fuel. (I want to say he put in jet fuel instead of aviation gasoline, but don’t quote me on that: I don’t have the book in front of me.)

So Mr. Hoover hikes back to the airfield, and the guy who filled up the plane is staring off into the distance looking like the whole world has come down on him. Because he realizes he screwed up Bob Hoover’s plane.

And Mr. Hoover comes over, puts his arm around the guy, and says, “Son, I just want you to know: nobody was hurt. The plane got bent, but we can replace that. I have another plane coming in tomorrow morning, and when it gets here, I want you to be the one who puts fuel in it…

…because I know you’re never going to make that mistake again.”

By all accounts I’ve read and heard, he was a pretty kind gentleman, too. 94 is a good run, but the world is still a smaller, lesser place today.

Obit watch: April 14, 2015.

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Günter Grass, noted German writer.

Somehow, I managed to miss his admission that he was an SS member during the war.

(Sorry for the radio silence the past few days. I’ve been on the road and just got home last night. More about this later.)

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Friday, October 31st, 2014

I don’t have anything quite as spectacular as the FARK Scary Stories thread; heck, I don’t even have any really good scary stories. But:

It was 40 years ago today.

Someone referenced Mike Warnke yesterday on one of the blogs I read. Who is Mike Warnke? He was a Christian evangelist and author; in 1973, he published a book called The Satan Seller about his experiences as a practicing Satanist until he found Christ and got his life in order.

Warnke became pretty popular, especially during the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria of the 1980s. But in 1991, a Christian magazine published a lengthy expose of Warnke; his chronology didn’t fit together, and basically everything he claimed could be disproven. (For example, he didn’t attend a Satanic ritual with Charles Manson; Manson was in prison at the time.) Warnke ended up folding his ministry in the wake of the expose and other press coverage (more about the aftermath here); he went on to start a new ministry and is still touring.

Cornerstone, the magazine that exposed Warnke, had done an earlier article on Lauren Stratford, another figure in the Satanic ritual abuse controversy. Stratford wrote several books, including Satan’s Underground, in which she claimed that she was used to breed babies for Satanic cult sacrifices. As it turned out, not a word of her story was true; Lauren Stratford wasn’t even her real name.

After Stratford was exposed, she started presenting herself as Laura Grabowski. And Laura Grabowski wasn’t a Christian survivor of Satanic ritual abuse; she was a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau who had been experimented on by Mengele himself. As you may have guessed, this was about as true as her SRA claims.

I don’t remember if I’ve ever linked this before – I think the Air Cooled Volkswagen Junkyard of Richfield, Ohio had gone off the web by the time I started this blog – but here you go, one of my favorite Halloween stories.

Quote of the day.

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Tannhauser asks for her intercession with God, and dies of opera.

–Ken @ Popehat

Runner-up, also from Ken:

Note: I have not used umlauts, because Hitler.

Random notes: June 15, 2013.

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

NYT headline:

Minnesota Man, 94, Is Investigated for Nazi Ties

I think, with Father’s Day approaching, this is an important safety tip for everyone. A tie may be a good gift for Dad, if he has to wear ties and if you put some thought into it. However, I’d recommend staying away from ties with Nazi iconography, just as a general rule.

When two student journalists from Paw Prints, the newspaper of West Islip High School, set out to investigate school security, they thought they might do some good, maybe win the award for story of the year in the Long Island Press high school journalism contest. Instead, the article was quashed, and they wound up with a grown-up lesson in the consequences of testing nerves in a post-Newtown-massacre world.

Randal Schwartz, call your office please.

(That was perhaps my only disappointment at YAPC. As I noted, I did get to shake Larry Wall’s hand, but I never saw Randal Schwartz; I’m not even sure if he was there.)

There’s a protest singer singing a protest song.

Another NYT headline:

A Precarious Olympic Bid for Istanbul

Not Constantinople?

(Technically, I suppose that’s nobody’s business but the Turks. And, I guess, the IOC.)

Art, damn it, art! watch (#36 in a series)

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

BERLIN — A Nazi-themed production of the Wagner opera “Tannhaeuser,” which featured scenes of gas chambers and the execution of a family, has been canceled in Germany after some audience members had to receive medical treatment for shock.

More:

At the opening of the opera Saturday evening, naked performers could be seen falling to the floor in glass cubes filled with white fog. The production showed a family having their heads shaved and then being shot. The character of Venus, goddess of love, was depicted dressed in a Nazi uniform and accompanied by SS thugs, according to the German magazine Der Spiegel. The production was booed by audience members, German media reports said.

I have no joke here, I just like saying…

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

…”Nazi pumpkin“.

Art, damn it, art! watch (#18 in a series).

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

The LAT has a piece on the “Small Gift Los Angeles” exhibition in Santa Monica.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Sanrio, the event will include food trucks, miniature golf and a pop-up shop. The main draw is an art exhibition with nearly a dozen installation rooms and about 100 pieces by the likes of Paul Frank and Gary Baseman. For crafty types, the Japanese artist Naoshi will be teaching a workshop in how to render Hello Kitty with colored sand.

The link is worth checking out, especially for the included pictures. I find “Hello Topiary” a little scary, to be honest, but “Fishy Greetings” is kind of nifty.

Rotating 180 degrees away from Sanrio, the Guardian has an article on an exhibition in Berlin of sculptures confiscated by the Nazis. The sculptures in question were considered lost after the war, but were recently dug up during excavation for a new building.

These particular sculptures were apparently part of the Nazi campaign against “degenerate art”, and were included in the infamous “Entartete Kunst” exhibition. I’ve been fascinated by that exhibition since I first read about it in (of all places) Charles Willeford’s The Burnt Orange Heresy (not a spoiler: “Entartete Kunst” is only mentioned in passing). Somewhere in my collection I even have Degenerate Art, the catalog from the L.A. County Museum of Art’s attempt to recreate the exhibition.