Cartoon Cavalcade

Waaaay back in the 1950s when I was in grade school, Saturday morning was for kids. By that I mean cartoons and kid shows starting a 6am through noon. TV was black and white then and the old cartoons from the 30s and 40s were new to us. Cartoons like Krazy Kat, Mickey Mouse, Popeye and the Katzenjammer Kids.

We laughed when Krazy Kat threw a brick at the cop, Popeye and Bluto fighting, and all the stuff the Kids got into.  So did our parents.  Dad liked Popeye, Mom liked the Katzenjammer Kids.  We all liked them and no one thought we kids would throw bricks at people like Krazy Kat nor start fights like Popeye and Bluto.  We knew it was fiction—cartoons and not real life.

I guess that overall folks must have been smarter then…and knew their kids better too.  After all, we routinely took our .22 rifles to school in the Fall and went squirrel hunting on the way home in the afternoon.  No one thought we’d shoot each other or someone else.  Our parents taught us gun safety and how to handle our rifles safely.

It’s been nearly sixty years since that time.  I still like cartoons but my taste has changed a bit.  Here are a few that I found today that I think is more appropriate for our times.  Hmmm, on second thought, maybe metaphorically throwing bricks like Krazy Kat will come in fashion once again if the libs get out of control.

Glenn McCoy:

Chuck Asay:

Lisa Benson:

Here’s another view of Barney Frank’s departure by Michael Ramirez.


As I wrote yesterday, we’re expecting a crew at any time to begin tearing off the sides of our house and erecting new siding.  Consequently, I’m keeping my post short and simple. I may have to bail at any time.

Oh, did I say they’re repairing our windows too?  It’s gonna get a bit chilly in Casa Crucis. Time to emulate the cats and break out the fur coats.

Snuck outa town for the weekend, Part II

A blog note:  Casa Crucis will be getting a facelift starting this week.  I’m having siding installed and some rot removed/repaired around our windows…including the two windows in my “office.”  The siding was delivered yesterday and the crew is due tomorrow to start work.  When they get to working on my two windows, I’ll have to shutdown my internet access.  At this time, I’m not sure how long I’ll be offline. I hope no more than a day but I’m not a carpenter nor in the siding business. I’m guessing. I hope I’m right.
So don’t despair if I’m offline for a day or two.  I’ll be back.


After stopping by the Pea Ridge Military Park on Friday, we continued south to Ft. Smith. It had been cloudy and windy all day.  The temperature had risen to 62 according to the thermometer in the Tahoe.  When we passed through the Boston Mountains south of Fayetteville, the clouds dropped and a light mist started…just enough to use the wipers on their lowest setting.

We arrived just as darkness fell.  We saw a sign for Motel-8 and remembering the old radio advertisement stopped and got a room.

What a mistake.  Let’s just say, we’ll mark that down as a lesson learned and move on.  Saturday night we stayed in a Holiday Inn Express.  That was much, much better.

Google Maps let us down once again.  I was looking for Judge Isaac Parker’s courthouse and the old Ft. Scott site.  The only thing I could find on Google Maps was “Ft. Scott Park.”  That turned out to be a city park, not the National Park site.  Mapquest directed us across town to the correct location.

Like Friday, Saturday was cloudy, rainy and warm.  It had rained early in the morning. The temp was in the high 50s with 100% humidity.  After a great breakfast at Calico County Catering, we arrived finally at the Ft. Smith Historical site.

Ft. Smith Territorial Federal Court. Originally the enlisted barracks of Ft. Smith.

The Ft. Smith site covered approximately 15-25 acres as measured by my Mk I eyeball.  The first fort was built on the bluffs of Bells Point.  

Bell’s Point overlooking the Arkansas River. This is the site of the original Camp Smith (later renamed Fort Smith.)

The fort was later moved half a mile to its present location, and rebuilt with a 10′ stone wall surrounding the fort.  All that is left of the wall is the stone foundation the encircles the site.

There was a walking path around the grounds that lead from the courthouse down to the original site of the fort and then around the rest of the grounds.

Map of the original Fort Smith

The building that was Judge Isaac Parker’s Court was originally the enlistedmen’s barracks.  Officer’s quarters and the Quartermaster’s warehouse were separate buildings.  The Officer’s Quarters burned down at some point but the stone Quartermaster’s warehouse remains.

Stone Quartermaster’s warehouse.  The foundations of the two Officer’s Quarters are to the left behind the flagpole.

The basement of the court was the holding cell.  It was known as “Hell on the Arkansas” by the prisoners.  It was one long open room with stone walls and floor.  The prisoners slept on the floor using straw filled pallets. The photo below shows the entrance to the cell.

Jail entrance in the bottom of the Ft. Smith Courthouse.

Inside the courthouse is a number of exhibits including movie posters for the original True Grit starring John Wayne and Hang’em High starring Clint Eastwood. A caption on the Clint Eastwood poster noted that the movie storyline was created from a number of true-life incidents that happened to the Deputy Marshals working for the Court.

On the floor above the cell was Judge Isaac Parker’s Court.

Judge Issac Parker’s Court, Ft. Smith, AR.

Contrary to popular views and as depicted in Hang’em High, Judge Parker never watched any hangings.  He turned that over to the official hangman, George Maledon.

George Maledon, Prince of Hangmen

The gallows at Ft. Smith was said to be the largest built.  The last hanging, of George Wilson, occurred in 1896.

Reconstructed Gallows at Ft. Smith. The original was torn down and the pieces burned after the last hanging in 1896.

With the exception of a three-year period in the 1870s, the hangings were not open to the public.  A wooden fence surrounded the gallows and when the site was not in use, it occasionally was used as a horse corral.

Wooden enclosure around the Ft. Smith gallows.

We returned home the following day stopping to visit again the Pea Ridge Military Park as described yesterday.  It was a fun weekend. We think we’ll do something like it again when time permits.

Snuck outa town for the weekend, Part I

Mrs. Crucis and I did something that we don’t believe, in 43 years of marriage, we’ve ever done before…taken off for a long weekend.  She’s been busy since my retirement. She says she’s more busy now than when I was still working for Sprint.  This Thanksgiving, we realized we had an opportunity.  The kids and g’kids were going to be busy, the Master’s Closet would be closed due to the holiday weekend and there was nothing keeping us in town. So we took off with only vague plans of where to go and what go do.

It was great!

We did learn, or perhaps relearn, some things.  
  • Sleeping in strange beds is difficult at best.
  • Google maps can’t be trusted to show everything.  
  • Going south does not mean the weather is warmer.
Our first destination was the Pea Ridge Military Park, site of the Battle of Pea Ridge in March of 1862.  I’m a bit of a Civil War buff and amateur historian or at least I like to think so.  The Battle of Pea Ridge was important for two things.  First, it defeated the remaining pro-Confederate Missouri forces and insured Missouri remaining in the Union.  A small pro-Confederate force lead by former Missouri Governor Sterling Price has declared that Missouri had seceded from the Union but Price at that time only controlled a small southwest segment of the state.  He was driven out of Missouri into Arkansas and his forces merged with those of Confederate General Earl Van Doren near Fayetteville, AR.

The second factor of the Battle of Pea Ridge was the destruction of the last major Confederate force in Arkansas.  The remnants after the battle retreated into Louisiana and Texas  and continued to fight in the war. But after the battle, the Union controlled Arkansas.
We used Google Maps to reach the park.  It showed one route into the park, an in ‘n out.  We followed that route and saw a few canon in a field and some split-rail fences outlining a battle site.  That’s all. No signs, no turn-out areas to take photos, no visitor’s center.  I was using cached Google maps that I’d loaded before we left home.  We were in marginal cell range and couldn’t access the National Park Service website.

We were disappointed and continued on to Ft. Scott.  At Ft. Scott Nat’l Historical Site, also operated by the National Park Service, we were told we had used the wrong route.  If we’d gone to the south side of the Pea Ridge park, we would have found the visitor’s center and access to a loop that encircled the battle fields.

I’ll write about Ft. Scott tomorrow.  Today it’s Pea Ridge’s turn.

The Battle of Pea Ridge (also known as Elkhorn Tavern) was a land battle of the American Civil War, fought on March 6–8, 1862, at Pea Ridge in northwest Arkansas, near Garfield. In the battle, Union forces led by Brig. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis defeated Confederate troops under Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn. The outcome of the battle essentially cemented Union control of Missouri. The battle was one of the few during the war in which a Confederate army outnumbered its Union opponent. — Wikepedia 

The first day. Union forces meet Confederate Calvary. McCullough and McIntosh killed leaving their troops leaderless and they sit out the rest of the battle waiting for orders.

The site of this battle is an open field near the site of the village of Leestown.  Leestown no longer exists.

This first day of the battle resulted in the deaths of Generals McCollough and McIntosh.  Between these two, they commanded Van Doren’s cavalry and a large portion of Infantry.  The Leestown battle left those forces leaderless and they sat out the rest of the day awaiting orders from leaders who were dead.

The next two days were battles fought around the Elkhorn Tavern located at the junction of Telegraph Road and the Huntsville Road.  The Union troops originally held the site the first day.  Van Doren attacked the second day of the battle as seized the Tavern and the surround terrain.  Van Doren thought he’d won the battle and stopped to regroup his forces.

Troop movements and battles around the Elkhorn Tavern on the 2nd day.
Elkhorn Tavern
The Elknorn Tavern was burned about a year after the battle by Confederate guerrillas. This building is a replica built when the Military Park was created.
While Van Doren was collecting his scattered troops, Union General Samuel R. Curtis was busy organizing a counter-attack that he launched the following day catching General Van Doren by surprise and routing the Confederates who retreated to the southeast and eventually fell back to Fayetteville, AR.  Van Doren was relieved of command and never lead any significant forces for the rest of the war.

Confederate General Earl Van Doren made two classic mistakes.  First he split his forces ordering McCollough and MacIntosh to circle to the south to attack Curtis from that direction while Van Doren and Stirling Prices around the rear of the Union troops and attack from the rear.  McCollough and MacIntosh were killed early in the battle on the first day and their troops were scattered and remained out of communication until the following day.  The two-pronged attack planned by Van Doren never happened.
Van Doren’s second mistake was to leave his supply wagons behind in Fayetteville when he started his march to meet Curtis.  Those wagons also contained Van Doren’s reserve supplies of ammunition.  Individual soldiers only had 40 rounds of ammunition and by the third day most of that ammunition was exhausted.
After an artillery duel between Curtis’s second-in-command, Franz Sigel‘s 21 canon against 12 Confederate canon.  Sigel made the Confederate guns ineffective and then turned his guns against the Confederate infantry sheltering in the trees.
With the opposing guns rendered nearly harmless, Sigel directed his gunners to fire into the woods at the Confederate infantry. Near the base of Big Mountain the projectiles created a deadly combination of rock shrapnel and wood splinters, driving the 2nd Missouri Brigade from its positions. “It was one of the few times in the Civil War when a preparatory artillery barrage effectively softened up an enemy position and paved the way for an infantry assault.”[14] During the bombardment, Sigel’s infantry edged forward so that by 9:30 a.m. his divisions had executed a right wheel and faced to the northeast.
By this time Van Dorn found that his reserve artillery ammunition was with the wagon train, a six hour march away. The Southern commander bitterly realized that he had no hope of victory and decided to retreat via the Huntsville Road. This route led east from the tavern, then turned south. With Price disabled by his wound, Van Dorn’s army began to move toward the Huntsville Road in some confusion. — Wiki
General Curtis counter-attacked on the third day of the battle in what was called, “The Beautiful Charge.”
Plaque at the site of “The Beautiful Charge.”
The field where the Union troops (left) charged the Confederate lines (right) that won the battle for the Union.
The third day of the Battle of Pea Ridge
There aren’t too many places west of the Mississippi where there were Civil War battles on this scale.  In the Kansas City area, the site of the Battle of Westport is long gone.  A smaller battlesite, the Battle of Lone Jack in eastern Jackson County was sold to developers about a decade ago and is now a subdivision.  Little remains of it.

I’d like to tour other Civil War battlefields but none are close by.  Maybe some time in the future, we’ll travel east or south-east and see some more, like Siloh and Vicksburg.  We would like that.

I’ve uploaded a large number of photos to my Facebook account if you’d like to view them.

Tomorrow will be Ft. Scott and Judge Parker, “The Hanging Judge.”


Repost: Oldies but Goodies from Lawdog

From time to time, it’s prudent to review writings from the past and of other bloggers of note. The one below is a repost but it is still great. Therefore, I give you:
The LawDog Files: Twisted .sig lines

Some years back I got a little impish and wrote some brief passages to use as signature quotes on the forums I was frequenting. Since I am, well, me, they were a wee bit … warped.

I was leafing through some old notebooks, and found some of them.
“This,” Thought the Big Bad Wolf as Little Red Riding Hood reloaded, “Is why I voted for the Democrats.”
“We go in hard and fast. Watch your fire sectors and your threat ID.”
Happy slammed a full mag into his MP5, “Nail anything taller than four feet except the Queen. Dead queens can’t give us antidotes.”Dopey looked up from his equipment check, chin quivering, “What if she won’t talk?”

“She’ll talk,” said Doc, grimly, “They always talk. Eventually.”
bellowed the King, and the palace guard opened up on the Evil Fairy with full-auto AK-47s.
“That sounded like the safety on a Browning Hi-Power,” murmured the Old Witch.

“Uh-huh,” said Gretel.

There was a pause.

“I suppose the whole oven thing is out of the question, then?”
“I’ll huff and I’ll puff …woah! Nice shotgun. Umm. Look at the time! Should have been home hours ago! Wife will be frantic. Nice meeting you. Bye, bye now!”
“Plan ‘A’ is to ask the ogre to change into a mouse. I eat the evidence, no muss, no fuss, no body”
said Puss-in-Boots as he screwed the silencer onto his HK Mk 23, “Plan ‘B’ gets messy.”


A Thanksgiving Story

I’m being lazy this Thanksgiving . This is a repost from a couple of years ago about a cousin of my mother, Heinie Muller.  It’s a story about Heinie, but it’s also a story about Thanksgiving and the years I spent growing up on the farm.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do remembering the occasion.
Heinie (Henry) Mueller was Grandma’s nephew. He served in the US Army during WW1 through most of the battles on the western front. He was gassed twice, received two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star plus some French medals.

Heinie was a character. He walked with a slight limp and cussed every third word. He didn’t care who he was with nor who heard him. If somebody didn’t like his language it was just too bad. Heinie would send them on their way with a few choice words and phrases.

After the war, Heinie married a lady named Irene and moved to Woodriver, IL. They would drive down to visit us every few months—more often after we moved to the farm. Heinie liked to hunt squirrels, rabbits, and geese and he would frequently appear during hunting season. He, Dad and I would go hunting while the women-folk visited.

I don’t remember Heinie ever shooting much. He seemed more to just like to get outdoors and walk in the woods. When we flushed some game, he would more than likely let Dad or me have the shot.

One year, Heinie and Irene came down for Thanksgiving. They arrived on Wednesday and Irene had bought the makings for oyster dressing. She and Grandma would fix Thanksgiving dinner the next day while Mom went to pick up my sister who was attending college at SIU at Carbondale, IL. Heine, Dad and I planned our hunt. We got up early Thanksgiving morning and went goose hunting.

Early Thanksgiving morning, about an hour before sunup, we left the house and drove down to the Muddy River bottoms. Dan share-cropped corn on a ten-acre field. When Heinie announced he was coming, Dad built some blinds along the edge of the field. The blinds were along a tree line with an open view across the corn field. The field had been picked late and there was a lot of spillage to attract geese and an occasional deer.

It was cold. Ice had formed on the surface of the field and we crunched across it as we walked towards the blind. The blind had been built out of salvaged two-by-fours and scrap sheet-metal for the roof with a covering of corn stalks for camouflage. Across the front was a tarp that would be dropped to allow us to step forward to shoot.

For whatever reason, the wind, or low hanging gray clouds or just general cussedness, the geese didn’t show up that day. Heinie had brought a hip-flask and would take a nip every so often. Dad was a Baptist and didn’t drink, but Heinie didn’t care.

By 11 o’clock, we decided that we’d give up hunting for the day and Dad started a fire to make some coffee to sober Heinie up a bit before we went back to the house. The fire also gave us an opportunity to fix a quick lunch. Heinie had been nipping fairly steady since we arrived and was feeling good. While the coffee was brewing, Heinie started talking about when he was in the Army. He had joined the US Cavalry in 1912 at the age of 17 and had gone down into Mexico with Black Jack Pershing after Pancho Villa. Coincidentally, so had my Uncle Johnny.  The two never met during their years in the Army; not until decades later when Dad and Mom were married.

After a bit, he talked about going to France to fight the Germans. Heinie was a Corporal by that time and had transferred from the Cavalry to the Infantry. After Mexico, he said, he didn’t want to ride or see another horse for the rest of his life. He was promoted to Sargent on arriving in France and later took over a rifle platoon.

He fought in a few battles and managed to survive with only some minor wounds. Once, he was lightly gassed with chlorine when his British-made gas mask leaked. After we had finished our coffee and the fried egg and bacon sandwiches, Heinie was silent for awhile. Then he began to talk about the Second Battle of the Marne and tears started flowing.

Heinie had been in charge of a rifle squad when they had left the US, first as a Corporal and then as a Sargent. Not long after arriving in France, he was made a Platoon Sargent and Company interpreter. His grandparents had immigrated from Hesse, German in the early 1880s. They spoke both German and French. Heinie, born in Illinois didn’t speak English until he went to school and he retained a slight German accent the rest of his life. 

Heinie had known many of the men in the platoon for several years, some from the excursion into Mexico. His company was in the front line trenches and preparing for battle. The Battle of the Marne had been going on for some time and the allies were preparing counter-attacks.

An hour before the company was to counter attack, Heinie was sent back to the battalion headquarters. It had been decided that all interpreters would be held back.  They would not attack with their troops because they would be needed to help translate for all the prisoners that would be captured—so they assumed.

Heinie paused several times to blow his nose and wipe his eyes before continuing. The whistles blew and the troops attacked. After several hours, survivors began filtering back through the battalion headquarters area. It was later determined that out of Heinie’s company, he and seven others were the only survivors. None from Heinie’s platoon.

Later, Dad told me that every year, Heinie would get a bit liquored up and start talking and remembering. Usually Dad wasn’t too tolerant of drunkedness but Heinie was different. Dad said it was a small thing to give Heinie an audience. It quieted his ghosts.

Heinie is long gone now. But every Thanksgiving, I remember him.

Friday Follis on Wednesday

I’ve been busy queuing up posts for tomorrow and Friday. As I finished I noticed I hadn’t posted anything for today.

I think I’ll punt.  Yeah, that’s it. I’ll wing it.

Thanksgiving, circa 2011.


From whom all blessings come…democrat style.


Supercommittee deficit cuts.  Oops!


Previews of Coming Attractions

When I was growing up I would go to the Saturday afternoon movies.  The farm families came into town for their weekly shopping. The Capitol Theater was located at one corner of the town square.

It was the Saturday afternoon baby-sitter.

I remember seeing movie serials from the ’30s and ’40s.  I saw the original Gozilla movie there…plus a slew of B-grade westerns.

During every double feature, there was a segment called, “Previews of Coming Attractions.”

Blogging at Crucis’ Court may be a bit light and/or short this week.  My Son-in-law’s brothers are coming to visit. We will be traveling to and fro visiting here and there. It’s the only time this Fall that Mrs. Crucis isn’t tied up with baby-sitting, teaching, or working at The Master’s Closet (closed on Holiday weekends.)

I hope y’all have a very happy, healthy and joyous Holiday!


A Kenyan NCAA runner walked out into an Alaskan Blizzard.  He returned 48 hours later suffering hypothermia and severe frostbite.  The frostbite was so severe that both feet had to be amputated.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska | Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:03pm EST

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – A top college runner from Kenya who spent two days lost in an Alaska snowstorm earlier this month had to have both of his feet amputated due to frostbite, the University of Alaska, Anchorage said on Monday.

Marko Cheseto, a two-time NCAA All-American runner, disappeared on November 6 after leaving the university campus during a heavy storm. He walked into a campus hotel more than 48 hours later severely hypothermic and suffering from frostbite.

Both of the 28-year-old star athlete’s feet later had to be amputated because of severe frostbite, the university said.

He didn’t get lost out hunting. Nor was he snowmobiling and have a breakdown. No, it wasn’t any of the reasons we’d expect.

“As some may know, I’ve been going through a lot of personal issues,” the runner said in a statement released through the university.

Authorities said they still don’t know why Cheseto walked out into the storm wearing only jeans and a light coat or where he was during the time he was missing.
Well, with both feet gone I doubt he’ll be doing any championship running from this point on.
People do stupid and thoughtless things every day. Usually nothing happens. Occasionally, it can be a “learning” experience. In other times, the stupid acts are deadly examples to others, “Don’t do this!” 
For more examples, go check the Darwin Awards website.
A followup to my post yesterday about the Establishment, both left and right, attacks against Newt Gingrich, here’s a column by Cal Thomas that is balanced and puts those attacks in better perspective.
Now it’s Newt’s turn. Having risen to the top in some opinion polls, the former speaker of the House is taking heat for large consulting fees paid to him by the government-sponsored mortgage company Freddie Mac for wisdom a New York Times editorial said was so simplistic it might have come from a fortune cookie.
 As Republican presidential candidates rise, only to fall when their imperfections are brought to light, Republican voters risk disappointment in 2012 by playing the left’s game on their turf and by their rules.

What they must do instead is to protect their “product” at a time when the opportunity to hold President Obama to one term, while taking the Senate and increasing their House majority, has never looked better.

The best candidate would clearly be a composite of the eight still standing: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s business sense and debating skills; Gingrich’s experience in Washington and knowledge of how to tear down the enormous bureaucracy and make government function the way the Founders intended; Herman Cain’s political passion and the added bonus of a conservative African-American; Rep. Ron Paul’s fealty to the Constitution and his call for America to rethink its military role in the world; former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman’s knowledge of China, which will remain important for decades; the strong moral voice of former Sen. Rick Santorum and Rep. Michele Bachmann (along with her singular feminine voice) in an age of societal flux; and Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s Southwestern values and evangelical faith.

Unfortunately, Republicans can’t vote for a composite; they’ll have to choose one candidate, hopefully one they won’t come to regret.

At least Thomas isn’t on a vendetta like other writers of the ‘pub establishment.

Back to Newt. That Gingrich took money from Freddie Mac, an agency he now derides, may seem like hypocrisy to some, but not to me. I, for example, think the Department of Agriculture should be closed, though I once worked for them.
I also received a student loan, which I repaid, though I am now critical of how some of the government’s student loan programs are run. I attended public schools, but believe parents ought to be able to send their kids to a private school if it promises to offer a better education. Am I hypocritical?
Gingrich could return his fees to Freddie Mac, but that wouldn’t satisfy his critics. He should only make the offer if some of those top Fannie execs who received fat bonuses also gave them back.

By realizing the imperfections in every candidate — and every person — and focusing on the ability of the one who is nominated to do what he promises, Republicans will have a better candidate and the country could have a better (but not perfect) president.

I still haven’t made a selection from the ‘pub candidates.  There are elements I like in Herman Cain. There are elements I like in Newt Gingrich.
I’m still here, tossing a coin.  The MO caucus is coming in 2012. I’ll have to make a decision by then.