Saturday, August 11, 2007

image courtesy of

Hey y'all,

My Daddy,William E. Register(serial number 34333122) was drafted along
with the rest of the Dothan gang on Valentine's Day 1942.

He served in the 446th Bomb Squad of the Army Air Corps' 321st Bomb Group
of the 57th Bomb Wing of the 12th Air Force.
The 57th was the only Mitchell B-25 bomb wing in the entire 12th Air Force.
A cat named Bob Ritger has put all of the issues of the 321st Bomb Group's WWII newsletter,HEADLINES, on the Web.

The material I found on the Web this afternoon is nothing more than a miracle for me because my sister Becky has a copy of HEADLINES
in our family album and this
publication by Daddy's Bombardment Group
gives spectacular details which confirm all the war stories told to me by my Daddy.
You can't imagine the comfortable feeling surrounding me as I read
all about my Daddy's unit this afternoon.

I lost almost all of Daddy's WWII stuff because it was in storage at McGough's house when it got flooded by Frederic back in '79.

I was also pleased to find that a cat from Lakeland, Florida has devoted an entire portion of his website to 57th Bomb Wing!

But here's the kicker!
Anne M. O' Conner at Maxwell
copied the ENTIRE DECLASSIFIED TOP SECRET HISTORY OF THE 446TH SQUADRON(usually manned by about 100 officers & 350 enlisted men)
put it on the Web!

Insignia of the 321st Bomb Group of the 12th Air Force's 57th Bomb Wing

Bugs Bunny riding a bomb while firing six shooters in each hand
Insignia of the 446th Bomb Squad
images courtesy of

There are hundreds of photographs
(Mitchell B-25 nose art for The Pink Lady, The Grim Reaper, Blossom Time, Princess Paula, Pennsylvania Polka, Patches,Missouri Waltz, Dollie, Arkansas Traveler II, The Madam of St. Joe the 2nd)
plus all the debriefings and descriptions of over 600 bombing missions.
It's got every date, addresses for every target, the number of planes and the types of bombs used on every mission.

& this website has only been up since 2005!

image courtesy of Chuck Bryan

Here's a story I wrote about my Daddy Earl.

by Robert Register

One afternoon after school my Daddy came home early from work and asked me this question,
"Bob, how'd you like to go to the picture show with me tonight?"

"Yes,sir,Daddy!" I exclaimed.

"Well, get your toothbrush. Tell Mommy to pack you some warm clothes and bring some books and toys to keep you busy."

"To go to the picture show?" I asked.

"We're going to the Martin Theatre in Panama City, son."

"Hot dog! So we're not coming home tonight?"

"No, Bob, we'll be staying at the Dixie Sherman Hotel in downtown Panama City tonight."

"What about school tomorrow?"

"Tell Ms. Odum you were sick."

"Daddy, won't that be telling a story?"

"You're sick, aren't you?"

"No, sir."

"Aw, I bet you're sick. Sick of school."

"Oh boy!" I ran down the hall screaming, "Mommy, Mommy, Daddy's taking me to the beach!"

There is no doubt in my mind that on that winter afternoon in 1958 I was the happiest eight year old boy in Alabama. Even after almost 50 years, the memories are so sweet that they bring tears of joy to my eyes. My most vivid childhood memories are of my father, Earl Register. He was loud and he was strong and he loved his little boy. He'll always be my best buddy. Neither time nor the unspeakable tragedy of his death, nor anything else can take that man's love away from me.

That is my inheritance. (Thank you, Daddy, I love you.)

When it came to going to the beach, it didn't take me long to pack my satchel.
Mommy took care of my clothing and I gathered up Dr. Zim's Insect Book,
my color crayons, my tablet and my shovel.

I've always been ready to get sand in my shoes!

My mother, Kate, hugged my neck in the driveway and told me to "be good" and next thing you know we're heading for Panama City. Our house in Dothan was on Gaines Street and it was located one door down from the intersection with South Oates which was U.S. 231 South, the Panama City Highway. Being eight-years old, I was very concerned about getting to the beach as quickly as possible so I was a little worried when Daddy hung a quick left onto the Hodgesville Highway.

"Hey, Daddy. Where are we going?"

"To P.C., son. Why?"

"But this ain't the road to Panama City."

"What have I told you about saying the word 'ain't'?"

"I'm sorry. But this isn't the way to Panama City."

"Sure it is. Hodgesville is due south of town and from there we can cut over to Graceville or maybe Campbellton or maybe even Grangerburg."

"Daddy, why do you always go a different way every time you go somewhere? You even do it when we drive over to Grandma's house and it's just across town."

"Bob, I'm not like a cow. I don't go down the same trail back to the barn every evening."

"I just don't want us to be late. What time is it, anyway?"

"Confucius say, 'He who work by the hands of a clock will always be a hand.' "

Daddy had already handed me a strongly worded explanation of that little saying before, so I decided to climb over into the back seat of the company car and take a nap.

The next thing I knew Daddy was yelling, "Wake up, Bob. We're about to cross the Lynn Haven Bridge!"

I loved Lynn Haven with its pink houses and views of North Bay.

"Are we stopping by Aunt Estelle's house?" I asked.

"Nope. We're heading straight for downtown. We'll check in and then eat supper at Angelo's."

To this day, I always think of Daddy's Aunt Estelle whenever I eat fried scallops. That woman could cook the steam out of a mess of scallops. Every time we went to Aunt Estelle's house in Lynn Haven, she fried scallops. If she didn't have any, she'd send out for some.

The last time I saw Aunt Estelle was in the late 70s at the insane asylum at Chattahoochee.
Old age had caught up with her and she didn't know where she was from the man in the moon, but she remembered me though. She told me,"Bob, let me go get out of these clothes and put on my apron and I'll fry you up some scallops." That's the last thing Aunt Estelle said to me as the nurse led her back to the ward.

I never saw her again.

Daddy and I checked into a great room on the top floor of the Dixie Sherman.
That hotel was Panama City's tallest building and it wasn't a skyscraper but as far as Bob Register was concerned, we had a penthouse suite in the Empire State Building.

image courtesy of

I turned on the TV and opened the curtains so I could see the sun going down over St. Andrews Bay.

"Get away from that window and get ready for supper, son. Go wash your face and hands. We're going to Angelo's."

It didn't take me long to follow directions. I laced up my paratrooper's boots and I was ready for action. Everything we needed was right there around the block from the Dixie Sherman. Restaurants, movie theatres, newstands, soda fountains- downtown Panama City had it all.

Soon we were seated at a shiny formica table beside a plate glass window inside Angelo's Steak Pit. We watched the traffic and the people on the sidewalk as we waited for our steaks. Angelo Butchikas was the owner and he knew Daddy real well because Panama City was on Earl's territory route with Goodrich. My Daddy was one of Mr. Angelo's favorite customers.

When we were through eating, Mr. Angelo came to our table. He treated us like we were royalty. I really liked him a lot.

"How was your steak, Bob?" he asked.

"Real good, Mr. Angelo," I replied.

"I noticed that you didn't touch your black olives."

"I eat green olives, but I don't like black olives."

"Please, Bob, try one of these," said Mr. Angelo.

"Yes, sir."

I tried one of Mr. Angelo's ripe olives. It tasted real strong but it went down all right. Just like eating fried bay scallops reminds me of Aunt Estelle, black olives always remind me of the nice man who had the great steak house in downtown Panama City, Angelo Butchikas.
& many times, when I try something new, I think of Mr. Angelo and his winning smile.

After Daddy paid our check, we walked down Harrison Avenue to the Martin Theatre. We took our seats and sat down to watch Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas in what was probably the most exciting Western filmed up to that time, "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral."

image courtesy of

image courtesy of

It may have been a great movie but it was too long for this little eight-year old from Dothan. I fell asleep but I didn't miss the good part. All that gunfire at the end woke me up so even though I felt guilty and disappointed for falling asleep and missing the movie, I was sure happy about seeing that gunfight at the end.

When I woke up in the morning, Daddy had already gone to work. The night before he'd told me not to worry, that he would leave early and not wake me up. He told me to hang around the room, draw and color and watch TV so I did. I stared out the window at the beautiful bay. I watched a little TV. I drew insects out of my Dr. Zim book and colored cartoons I copied out of the News-Herald. Before noon Daddy was back and we were checking out of the hotel.

Now came the good part. We were going to Panama City Beach!

It was raining cats and dogs plus it was freezing but that didn't matter to us. We were heading for the beach! As we drove over Hathaway Bridge the weather began to break and the rain slacked up a little, but it was still bitter cold. I had on a couple of sweaters, my windbreaker and my toboggan. [Yankees call them "stocking caps"]

Panama City Beach was a ghost town. Nothing was open except a little grocery store across from Wayside Park. There were no cars on Front Beach Road. No lights were on in any of the motels or in any of the other businesses and not a soul was down toward the Y at the Wayside Park. We had the beach to ourselves. Miles and miles of snow-white dunes & crashing waves abandoned for Bob & Earl's day at the beach.

At Wayside Park, I jumped out of the car and ran straight for the sand dunes. The sand around the concrete foundations for the picnic tables were riddled with ghost crab dens and I immediately began to terrorize those little critters. Down by the water we found plenty of big cockle shells that the storm had washed up on the beach. When we got tired of picking up shells, Daddy chased me down the beach so far that I collapsed in the sand from fatigue. We laughed and walked back to the picnic tables to seek shelter from a fresh rain cloud blowing in from the Gulf.

We sat silently on top of the picnic table & watched the storm come in.

Daddy said, "Son, God knows this is the prettiest beach on the face of the Earth."

"Well, Daddy, you ought to know. You saw lots of different beaches during the war."

"Some of the best. The islands of the Caribbean, the coast of Brazil, North Africa, the islands of the Mediterranean, the French Riviera, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and the Adriatic Coast.
But I still like Panama City best."

Years later, when I was first out of college, I went back to Panama City Beach for a weekend with our family. Daddy was a little mad at me because I'd showed up a day late(blame Tuscaloosa for that), but he forgave me.
(He always forgave us children, but he never forgot.)

At night, Daddy and I buried a light pole in the sand at the edge of the surf behind the Admiral Imperial. This light attracted skates & rays to the shore and we celebrated the excitement of resting our lawn chairs in sting-ray infested waters by toasting each other.

We were having a lot of fun when Daddy made a very serious statement.

He said,"Bob, you've always obeyed me with the exception of three times.


I was scared to death.

Believe it or not, I was speechless. (quite an accomplishment for someone who's Cloverdale neighborhood nickname was "LUNGZZZ" )

"Three times you went against my advice & each time you were right."

"I'm sorry, Daddy, but what times are you talking about?"

"Three times. When you changed your major;
when you dropped out of ROTC;
& when you let your hair grow out.
Three times you went against me and every time you were right.
I was wrong."


I had no idea this would be my last conversation with my father but I'm glad it happened at the beach.

Panama City Beach always brings back memories of my Daddy.

For that reason alone,
Bay County, Florida,

image courtesy of


Recipe For R. Crumbs Cuatro de Julio Blackened Fish With Lump
Crab Meat

Blacken some fish and when the filets are crispy lay them out flat in a baking dish.

Spend $13.50 down at Ship & Shore & buy you a pound of fresh lump blue crab meat picked by genuine Vietnamese Buddhists from Bayou La Batre, Alabama.
It'll be worth every penny of it.

Spread that crab meat on top of your blackened filets and squeeze a little lemon juice and sprinkle a little teenie bit of Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Redfish Magic on the crab meat.

Cover the crab meat with your favorite cracker or bread or crouton crumbs.

Cover the crumbs with a good grade of grated Parmesan.(I wanna try Parmesan & Romano mixed, too)

Put the baking dish in the oven at about 400 degrees and bake until crispy on top.

Make West Indies Salad with the leftover crab meat and serve both dishes with garlic bread sticks.

Should feed two.

I wanna add oysters to the crabmeat in this recipe but I haven't had a chance to try that yet. About the only time I eat oysters is when I spend about $30 for an 85 pound sack and shuck 'em myself.

Robert Register

courtesy of

image courtesy of


A cat named Dustin Glick's
got a comic strip published in the June issue of Mad Magazine
that makes fun of BODIES: The Exhibition.

The strip is called "REX IN THE CITY".

In the first panel, Rex asks this girl,"Are you sure about this?"

"Yes, Rex, you're doing a very nice thing," she replies.

In the second panel, Rex sez,"But donating my body to science feels weird. I can just picture some grad student playing around with my spleen."

The girl replies,"Look, by doing this you could be helping millions of people.That's why I'm doing it.
And don't worry, your body will be used in a respectful way by trained professionals."

Rex agrees to sign the form to donate his body and says, "Okay, I guess you're right.

In the fifth panel, Rex is sitting in his underwear inside his dark room watching TV
when he notices the Grim Reaper on the side of the sofa. Rex tells the Reaper,"Oh. I probably shouldn't bother running, right?"

The last panel shows BODIES: The Exhibition featuring Rex's dissected cadaver in a tennis pose with two girls admiring his dissected ass.
Rex's ghost looks over at the girl's ghost & sez," Thanks, this is great."

"MY BAD," sez the girl's ghost.

I bet Arnie would love it.


another musical group that my son Christopher turned me on to.
They opened for ZZ Top in Pelham last month.

image courtesy of

Friday, August 10, 2007

image courtesy of

image courtesy of



Thursday, August 09, 2007

image courtesy of

Soul to Soul

courtesy of

In 1969, Southern record men Shelby Singleton and Finley Duncan stood on a concrete slab in between two bayous in the Florida panhandle town of Valparaiso, upon which they would soon construct the Playground Recording Studio. Pausing for a photo, they stooped down — Duncan with his short hair, white shirt and business suit, Singleton heavily coiffed in elegant black threads and thick black sunglasses — and placed two 45 stampers in a time capsule cornerstone for good luck. The timing couldn't have been more perfect.

Singleton's recent success with Jeannie C. Riley's "Harper Valley P.T.A" had not only allowed him to purchase the legendary Sun Records catalog outright, it had kicked his own labels, SSS International and Plantation, into full-on, genre-busting overdrive. His was a vision that saw Southern music as a whole, rather than as individual building blocks; one that always looked for the black in the white and the white in the black: He cast future country outlaw David Allan Coe as a blues man on Coe's debut LP Penitentiary Blues and pinpointed former New Orleans R&B crooner Johnny Adams as one of the world's most accomplished country soul singers with the hit "Reconsider Me." He pioneered hillbilly funk with Harlow Wilcox's "Groovy Grub Worm" and teamed Peggy Scott and Jo Jo Benson for "Soul Shake," which might have come out of Stax studio were it not for its twanging electric sitar.

Singleton enjoyed taking chances, and saw no better opportunity to do so than with jukebox distributor and nightclub owner Duncan, a lifelong resident of Florida's Emerald Coast who'd had his hands in a variety of small record labels since the '50s. With a crack studio band and a stable of writers, Playground went into business recording everyone that walked through the door, provided Duncan thought they were talented. The records that Singleton didn't release, Duncan did, on his own labels like Minaret and Playground.

In 1970, Memphian Jim Lancaster traveled to the studio with his garage band and met Duncan, whom he kept in touch with until
his untimely death in 1989. Lancaster made occasional trips to Florida in the intervening years, eventually recording, engineering and playing on sessions at Playground. The entire time he was only vaguely aware of Duncan's presence in the record business.

When Lancaster purchased the studio in 2005, he began to understand the full scope of that presence. Moldering inside the water-damaged building were thousands of 45s and master tapes containing the music that Duncan had recorded and released for the better part of 30 years. Lancaster knew that to properly honor Duncan's legacy he couldn't solely stick with his original goal of restoring the studio, he had to re-release the music. He began the arduous process of cleaning up and transferring the masters, and assembled Soul Resurrection Volume One from the first round. As he writes in the liner notes, "The music Finley recorded had no generic boundaries. He recorded music in all genres, country, pop, blues, rock 'n' roll ... and I have yet to transfer a tape that didn't have some musical merit. To date the only common thread I can find among these recordings is the soul of Finley Duncan."

Soul, indeed, whether it's the smooth crooning of former Motown artist Reuben Howell or the tough, distorted guitar-driven funk of Doris Allen and Big John Hamilton. Len Wade, one of those Southern white boys who emotes like a desperate Otis Redding, turns in the crippling "Everybody's Clown," followed by Jimmy Gresham's "Chasin' a Rainbow," a cut that you'll swear was a hit until you check the credits and find that, like Wade's, it has just seen the light of day for the first time here. There are bluesy instrumentals by Leroy Lloyd and the Dukes, proto party rap from Count Willie (whose "Disco Nights" transports you directly to a neighborhood dance circa '76: "Here's somebody's black Cadillac sittin' over here and I don't mind doin' some leanin', ya understand?") and rough mod soul from Jimmie Nelson.

Lancaster has already begun cutting sessions at the newly restored Playground; with Soul Resurrection it finally takes its rightful place alongside Stax, Fame and Muscle Shoals as yet another Southern studio where magic happened on a daily basis. Go to

Michael Hurtt writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to

Question #3:
What were your impressions of Pensacola & Northwest Florida before
Vietnam & what were your impressions when you returned with The
Pranksters in the summer of '64?

In 1960 I lived in a small house behind a bigger house on the beach
at Pensacola a little east of the naval base where I was tootling on
my motor scooter to flight school every day, parking the scooter and
going to classes and later to the flight line for airy romps over
Alabama before returning home to a swim in the gulf, pretty much
unvaried for a year, didn't see much of the natives, my work was too
time consuming.

In 1964, aboard the bus, Further, we left Larry McMurtry's house in
Houston and slunk east to New Orleans and bugged outta there to
Pensacola to a shaded grove where an old squadron mate from my Marine
helicopter days was living, sharing the place with three other
pilots, all of them instructors in flight school. I saluted the off
duty officer and we made ourselves at home for an evening of
barbecuing and exchanging lies, then in the morning after the men
went to work, we tidied up and hit the road again. I remember long
tendrils of moss, mosquitoes buzzing, exotic animal noises from the
woods, retching in the bushes, hoots of unabashed joy, sparks rising.


"Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that
it has to be us."
--Jerry Garcia

Into The Lion's Den
By: William A. Wheatley,

In a recent article for The Bulletin
("Stay the Course But Change the Course, July 24), Daniel Pipes assessed the present U.S. position in Iraq and offered his solution. He stated that the public discussion about Iraq takes two primary positions: (1) The war is lost, so we should get out; and (2) the war can be won, so we should stay. Pipes offers a third: "The occupation is lost but the war can be won. Keep U.S. troops in Iraq but remove them from the cities."

Pipes argues that the U.S. should pull out of the urban areas and concentrate on strategic goals rather than tactical operations - primarily, securing the borders against the flow of foreign support for the insurgents and terrorists in Iraq.

While in principle I agree, I disagree that now is the time to pull out of urban centers.
The violence tends to be concentrated in population centers (i.e., urban areas),
with Baghdad hosting the greatest concentration of violence in the country.
It will be a long time before Iraqi security forces will be able to contain and eliminate that violence in the cities, but Iraqi society will not be in a position of determining its own destiny until the level of violence is quelled.

Gen. David Petraeus, our present commander in Iraq,
successfully followed a policy in previous campaigns of clearing insurgents from urban areas, expanding the perimeter (i.e., pulling U.S. troops out of the urban area to set up an exurban perimeter) while simultaneously phasing in local security control. It worked. This is the strategy behind the "troop surge," which is designed to develop in the following series of tactical actions:

* Move sufficient troops into urban areas to initiate and carry out a sweep that clears the troublemakers out of an "area of safety" and establish and defend a perimeter to the area of safety

* Develop local security forces within the area of safety and turn over the area inside the perimeter to local forces

* Establish a new perimeter beyond the first perimeter while holding the first perimeter

* Repeat the process within the new "belt"

* Once local security is functional within the new belt, remove troops from the first perimeter and move them to establish a new perimeter

* Keep repeating the process until the perimeter is well outside the urban area, at which time the troops will be out of the urban area and the urban area will be secured by local forces

Petraeus' strategy is dependent on working with local tribal leaders in each of the areas he will address. Our previous strategy paid no attention to tribal interests, but Petraeus' work with tribal leaders has already begun to show very tangible and dramatic results.

This is the only way I can see to contain the violence and pacify Iraq.

Yes, we need to move our troops out of the cities, but not until the security of the cities can be turned over to Iraqi forces. In doing this, we would be treating the Iraqis as adults capable of finding their own internal destiny.

There are, in my opinion, only three forms of government that can maintain stability in the Arabic Middle East:

1. A government that combines a strong independent executive branch with a democratic legislative branch

2. A constitutional monarchy with limited powers and a democratic legislature

3. An autocracy, whether monarchic or dictatorial, in which the executive has personal control over the means of force

Constitutional monarchies are more likely to succeed than presidential forms of the executive in Arabic culture because the culture is primarily tribal.
For a democratic government to work, the ethnicities and tribal powers must participate and be balanced against each other, each with its own lock on a portion of governmental power.

Our "de-Baathification" of the Iraqi government and army effectively deprived Sunni tribal leadership of a voice in government - hence, a Sunni insurgency.

The present governmental structure of Iraq has a theoretically strong executive and a unicameral legislature. The inherent weakness in this is that Shiites will control both, and tribal interests are not represented.

The previous constitution for Iraq vested executive power in the monarch, with a two-chamber parliament in which directly elected representatives of the population controlled the lower house and initiated all legislation, while tribal and regional interests held the upper house and had only veto power. The king would appoint a cabinet to govern, subject to approval by both houses of Parliament.

It seems to me that we missed a great opportunity upon our deposition of Saddam Hussein, who had not abolished the previous constitution but had merely "suspended" it.

We could have declared the previous constitution reinstated. Prince Raad had agreed to return to Iraq from Jordan, assume the monarchy, form an interim government, conduct a census, hold elections based on the census to reinstate Parliament, and then abdicate and return to Jordan if the newly constituted Parliament opted to amend the constitution to eliminate the monarchy.

Because we didn't do that, the recovery process in Iraq is going to be long and hard.

I see only one way out.

I agree with Pipes that we should get our troops out of the cities, but we must fight our way out, leaving behind cities secured by local forces.

That is long and hard, but it will work.

Only then will the Iraqis be free to determine their own destiny as a nation.

William A. Wheatley is CEO of Wheatley U.S., Ltd., and has worked in several countries throughout the Middle East, including Iraq.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

image courtesy of

Hey y'all:

Please do yourself a favor and click on the above link to learn about one of the latest in a series of Time Life compilation discs.

Scroll around the page and click on the blog entitled The Making of FOUR DECADES OF FOLK ROCK: Anatomy of a Box Set


Ted Myers, the cat behind this landmark box set, tells the story of how he was
licensed for a various artists compilation.

Below you can read Ted's conclusion to his blog and visualize the implications of what this one man has accomplished in 2007:

My final duties were to proof the booklet and to work with the publicist on a press release. As I write this I'm at the end of an odyssey of close to a decade. The finished product is probably a few weeks away and the release is two months away (September 11th-a day that will live infamy, but also a lucky day for me-the first anniversary of my employment at Concord Music Group). All I can do now is wait and hope for the best.

In this turbulent time of transition for the music industry, as the physical CD passes into extinction and is supplanted by digital product, it occurs to me that a box set like this, with a big book and many artists from many different labels, may quite possibly be the hardest item to replace digitally and therefore may just be the last bastion of physical music product.

Ted Myers

Received the following email from Ray Hutto this week:

Hi Robert,
Thought I'd let you know my son ,Jay, brought the book down from Atlanta last weekend, he said there was only one in the store.
It was a delayed FD present.
Damn never saw a book that big and heavy.
Still going through it and bringing back some good old memories.
W.W.Jr was my man back then
Now that I see that you like mail boxes
I am sending you a pic of mine.

Jerry Tedder (David Tedder's bro) was down at the compound last Sun. night.
We talked about David getting killed. I grew up with Jerry and his bro. Danny.
Danny was driving David to work when it happened. He worked at the Oasis out 84W.
I remember it well. The year was 69.

We had 40th year reunion last weekend at the Holiday South.
Saw bunch of old people there too, just glad I ain't one of them.
Saw Mike Keel and hadn't seen him in 40 years either.
Sam G was there and so was Smitty and your buddy Coker.
All them pretty girls are mostly now ugly.
Coach S and Mc and Gilstrap were there.
Damn they just keep on kicking.
Hope I can match their age .

Really miss NK
Used to play golf with him at the VFW and Coach Sermon at the Spa,
they both could beat me.
NK was a lefty like me.
Anyways still reading your stuff, so is my son, keep on keeping on.
When you next come to Dhn let me know and I will buy you a beer in the mean time I will drink one in your honor everyday until then.
Remember what the sign said over the Dressing room door at DHS?
I think now they call it the Tiger Den.
Cheers to you and yours

Hey Hutto!
I'm taking you up on that damn free beer a week from Thursday on August 16th in the oyster bar at Hunt's Place during HAPPY HOUR!
ARS is playing a gig Friday the 17th at the Paradise Music Park
between Crestview & Milton but I'll probably miss it 'cause the tickets are $70 each!

but Nix called me last night & invited me to Alison Heafner's gig
in P.C.B. at Miss Newby's on West Front Beach Road near the Navy Base that same weekend so I'll definitely be looking for a cheap motel room over by the junior college on Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday night.

Received this response from William Wheatley:

Amazing. In 1967 I, too, had a turquoise 1958 Chevrolet Biscayne. My Dad helped me buy it in the summer between my freshman and junior years at college. (July 1963). I drove it to Houston to return to college. I had to add a quart of oil every time I filled it up. The dealer we bought it from told me to bring it back in when I came home for Thanksgiving, and he'd fix it for free. I did, and he did. The mechanics did a ring and valve job and then gave it a test drive. Problem is they didn't put any oil in it, so they froze the crankshaft. When they gave me the car back the next week, it had a new engine in it. Ran like new. I drove it until 1972, when the third engine finally gave up. By then, the floorboards and trunk had steel plates welded in because they had rusted out, and nearly every working part had been replaced at least once. It had 250,000 miles on it when I abandoned it at a junkyard. No one would take it as a trade in. I had given it away but the guy brought it back because it ran so poorly.


Finally got to hear from our Florida Rocks partner, Mr. J.M. Dobies.
He's started a blog
but he's having trouble making a living in Florida so please check out his blog & pray for him & his family while they go through this transition.

Dear Mr. Register:
Work proceeds on my book about William Clark's 1798
journey to Spanish Louisiana. You might be pleased to know I refer
regularly to your very helpful article in the Gulf Coast Historical
Quarterly about Andrew Ellicott and his work at the 31st parallel, a
site Clark visited in 1798.

One of the people Clark encountered there was John McKee, later
appointed federal agent to the Choctaws.

An Internet search brought up your article about McKee,
and I've since
come upon Matt Clinton's "Scrapbook" sections about McKee.
I hope you
don't mind a few more questions:

1. Where did your description of McKee's retirement party come from?
That marvelous article came from the Spring 1941 issue of Alabama
Historical Quarterly.It is a detailed six page description
of the Tuesday,

May 15, 1829 retirement dinner held for McKee here in Tuscaloosa
at the Eagle Hotel. All 41 toasts are described.

2. I really like the description of his walking stick--does it come
from the same source?
That description is from an original document from McKee's time[it may
have come from William R. Smith's autobiography]
but I haven't located it yet. The description of his walking cane
is also found in A GOODLY HERITAGE: Memories of Greene County
published in 1977 by the Greene County Historical Society.

3. You quote from Elizabeth Archibald's essay on McKee. Please cite
me to this work, too, and to anything else she may have written about
McKee. Where did her research about him go?
I talked to Miss Archibald before she died & I wasn't impressed.
She is accused of taking McKee documents from the estate
of John McKee Gould Jr. after his death in 1945.
The only thing that I know she ever published is a one page
essay found
in Bama's Special Collections
Database: University of Alabama Libraries
Main Author(s): Archibald, Elizabeth.
Title: Colonel John McKee : Indian agent, frontier statesman, congressman / by Elizabeth Archibald.
Publication Information: [S.l. : s.n.] , c c1966.
Description: 1 folded sheet ([4] p.) : port. , 28 cm.
Subject(s): McKee, John, 1771-1832 --Biography.
Tuscaloosa (Ala.) --History.

4. You then refer to the recollections of George Strother Gaines.
Please let me know where I might find this source, too.
My good friend James Pate edited this book for the University of
Alabama Press.
image courtesy of

5. Clinton quotes a William R. Smith as his source of information
concerning the anecdote about McKee and the tavern. Who was William R.
Smith? If he published something, can you furnish a citation?

William R. Smith grew up an orphan in Tuscaloosa but he got
a good education and ended up representing our district in
Congress just like Colonel McKee. He was also a President
of the University of Alabama.
His autobiography is in Special Collections.
Database: University of Alabama Libraries
Main Author(s): Smith, William Russell, 1815-1896.
Title: Reminiscences of a long life; historical, political, personal and literary. By William R. Smith, sr. Vol. I.
Publication Information: Washington, D. C., W. R. Smith, sr. [c1889]
Description: 375,[1] p. 8 port. (incl. front.) 22 cm.
Subject(s): Tuscaloosa (Ala.) --History.
Tuscaloosa (Ala.) --Biography.

I appreciate any help or suggestions you may offer.

Thanks again,

Jo Ann Trogdon

Thanks very much for your efforts. I wonder whether I might
run a few questions
concerning the cutting of the 31st parallel boundary line by you.

Jo Ann


OK. Here goes:

1. Did Ellicott take astronomical observations while camped at the
Little Bayou Sara, especially
during the period from June 28-July 12, 1798? William Clark was at the
camp off and on during those

On June 7, 1798, Ellicott moved his astronomical observatory to Little Bayou Sara ten miles east of Union Hill on the east bank of the Mississippi River below Natchez. He did not proceed to Thompson's Creek until August 28. The record of his nightly observations of the zenith distances of various stars may be found in the appendix of his Journal.

2. If Ellicott did not spend those days checking the position of the
line or making observations or
calculations, what did he do (besides maybe chasing around Betsy)?

At the time the Spanish & the American commissioners were still set on building a road along
the boundary that would connect all of the astronomical observatories which were to be built
at ten mile intervals along the line. Ellicott supervised his team of 50 drunken Yankee laborers
he had brought down from the Ohio River. Dunbar's slaves worked circles around
Ellicott's team so Ellicott was forced to reconsider his Quaker opinion on emancipation.

Ellicott also negotiated an illegal treaty with the Choctaws which the first governor of
The Mississippi Territory was forced to honor in order to pacify the Choctaws.

3. Was the wooden observatory hut used at Union Hill moved to Little
Bayou Sara? If not, was
another built there?

Generally the way it was done was that they'd clear a piece of high ground and cut down a large
tree and built the platform for the zenith sector around the stump. The sector was mounted
in the middle of the stump and a tent erected around this floor.
Ellicott's instruments that he used between the Mississippi and the Chattahoochee are in
the Smithsonian.

Andrew Ellicott's Zenith Sector Used to Determine the First U.S. Southern Boundary

4. How far north or south of the parallel was the Little Bayou Sara

Once they found out the latitude of their observatory, they would mark off the distance north
or south to the location of the 31st parallel and then mark it with a witness mound & erect
a large post in the middle of the mound. The exception is Ellicott's Stone north of Mobile.
The distance from the observatory on Little Bayou Sara is found in the appendix of Ellicott's Journal.
I know that the observatory he built in present day Houston County, Alabama on the

west bank of the Chattahoochee was located 7,110.5 feet north of what he determined to be
the international boundary between the U.S. and Spain.

5. Do you know of any pictorial or written description of the various
boundary camps they used?

The most detailed description of a camp on the Chattahoochee
can be found at the end of my GCHR article in the May '97 issue.

6. Was the Little Bayou Sara camp on a hill? What's there now?

The State of Louisiana has researched that and marked the locations of his
observatories & mounds along with the old road that connected the mound mile markers.
I saw a presentation back in '99 but I have never been to Little Bayou Sara. The closest
I got was about ten miles away at Fort Adams on Loftus Heights near Pinckneyville. It's a very hilly region.

7. So far, the great bulk of the original material related to this
subject is in the Journal of AE and in
his papers at the Library of Congress. What else is there?

Greg Spies can tell you more than I can because he has been to the National Archives
& looked at a lot of stuff. I'm pretty sure Ellicott's original papers from the boundary
were burned when the Brits torched D.C. during the War of 1812.

Thanks as always for your excellent help. I just referred to your Gulf
Coast review article earlier

Jo Ann

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Y'all gotta listen to this new band outta Dothan called
Skyline Drive

Jerry Henry
turned me on to them...

My son, Christopher, worked for me today &
as we were driving back to Archie's Whorehouse,

he started talking about all these ditsy girls who graduated with him back in May
who had a few collisions during gradjeeation
& now are in therapy
& on Xanax.

Christopher said, "I've had a tough time but I don't bring it up."

I said, "I know son! Don't ever worry about it!
Rite now
it's just before 5 P.M. on August 7 & we're driving down University Boulevard."

Christopher replied,
"You know the thing I hate the most is having something stolen from me."

I said,
"Well you know what yo' mama gonna say.
She'll look at you rite in the eye with absolutely no guilt & serenity on her face
& say,

Christopher laughed like hell.

Everybody is flashing on the SUMMER OF LOVE- 1967 thing!

Here's the scoop from me!

I started off the summer of '67 as the Assistant Activity Director for the Boy Scout Reservation of the Alabama-Florida Council located near Clintonville, Alabama.

The only person my age who had as much authority was the Assistant Waterfront Director who was my roommate.


I had a turquoise painted '58 Biscayne Chevy
but the camp had an old WWII jeep and Mose Ramage had donated his panel truck to the camp so I had access to three vehicles at all times.

Thursday nights we made the campers eat in their campsite so that freed us up to have a bar-b-que or a fish fry with the girls from Enterprise & New Brockton.

Some babies got made that summer.

I had the time of my life
& it bled over into my senior year when I had full access to the camp
plus I had a girlfriend in New Brockton & a girlfriend in Enterprise.
Friday night found me at the Coffee Drive-In wid Suz.
Sattiddee night found me at the Dale Drive-In wid Jaq.
& when I didn't want that to work out
I went out wid Dothan girls and hoped Mama & THEM
didn't find out about
down at Inez's Beauty Shop!

The entire northern boundary of the camp abutted upon a
Rort Fucker dirt road which ran neck to a helicopter firing range
so what wuz rilly kewl is dat,
the leader of the outpost camp
(required overnight hike for all Scouts who wanted to earn First Class)
wuz able to place my campers next to a Huey firing range with phosphorus parachutes and tracer bullets disturbing their rest on their overnight stay at my outpost camp.

That summer of '67 I showed
I took into the woods
a live deer.

Let me tell you that was a miracle in Southeast Alabama in 1967.
There were no deer except around Rucker.

Man, we had it made.

The federal government forced us to integrate the camp that summer by bribing us
wid $elf $ervice
and The Rort plus
we had medics in the first-aid station
plus Generals landing in a helicopter every day in the parking lot.

It were a mess.

All the medics had done at least two tours & they were rich & had Corvettes & did acid.
( They told us how you got afterimages when you drove while tripping and the telephone poles would turn into a tall fence...)

One poor cat from Andalusia hung out with 'em a little too much &
three years later
his lame ass was dead from an overdose in an honor's dorm in Tuscaloosa.

Young Junior Baby Criminals

had full access to the post.
We'd show up a noon on Friday at the P-X
later that day,
be down at Phillips Inlet handing out four cases of Falstaff
looking for a place
behind the dunes
to place our
J.C. Higgins Sleeping Bag!

That was a far cry from where we
Young Junior Baby Criminals
had come from...

Two years befo',

Back in the fall of '65,
James Roy wuz de only cat who had a driver's license.
It were sad.
We had limited access.
His older brother got our J.W. Dant bought fo' us so
James Roy's carport on Herring Street in Dothan wuz HEADQUARTERS
in the fall of '65.

We would still work Baptist Bottom fo' beer
and Five Points behind
Barrentine's fo' liquor
but our sophomore
year of '65-'66
was characterized by restriction rather than
the excess we experienced in '67.

I remember one time at the Coffee Drive-In where I rilly believed in reincarnation.
I were playing wid dose

play pretties and I said to myself,
"I've been here befo'!"


Monday, August 06, 2007

image courtesy of

BARRY OBAMA photo album,0,659244.photogallery?index=1

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Add Image
Old Elk's Opera House before the renovation that converted the building

Hey y'all:

Just got an email from Burke letting me know that, unfortunately, another one of our old YJHS & DHS classmates, Jay Kochis, has passed away.
I have a lot a wonderful memories of Jay & I especially remember how brave he was as he recovered from a horrible motorcycle accident he had while we were in jr. high.

I had a weird, eerie & haunting Sunday morning.
I was driving east down 6th Street and I noticed at the intersection of 23rd Avenue that the entire street was empty. No cars. No people.
Three city blocks across the street from City Hall & the Municipal Courthouse composed of nothing but empty lots and storefronts completely unoccupied so I pulled my old Exploder up on the sidewalk and drove 30 miles an hour down the sidewalk.
After I finished my little escapade I returned to the corner of 6th & 22nd Avenue to continue my plundering of Alta Apartments.
Yesterday Christopher & I made sure all the tenants were evicted from the 20 second, third and fourth story apartments and we took 5 air conditioners, 4 stoves and 5 refrigerators into safe keeping.
This morning I finished up pulling all the dead bolt locks off the doors.
Man, I bet there's a ton of brass in those ancient old doors.

Reminded me my first days in Tuscaloosa when I had master keys to every door on campus & I had full access to all of BAMA!

Anyway, our urban renewal project has brought about an end to an era and it was a rare privilege to be the last soul to occupy Alta Apartments, a converted vaudeville hall where all the great ones performed.

It was kinda like THE SHINING.

image courtesy of

Ken Babbs, Intrepid Traveler & founder of THE MERRY PRANKSTERS,
has agreed to answer some of my questions concerning the events described in Tom Wolfe's THE ELECTRIC KOOL-AID ACID TEST:

Question #1.
What do you think was Kesey's opinion of intersubjectivity
or "subjective reality"?

Whoa, I am completely lost in these hazy probings of human
intercourse carried to such deep extremes.
I've never been much for psycho
ramifications, being a simple minded soul.
As for Kesey's opinion, I
can't venture a guess but I know he would have come up with an
interpretation more scientific/literary than anything anyone else
It might even have meant something, if anyone could figure out
Leaving them scratching their heads is a talent Cassady had in
Masters of the universe in action.

Question #2.
What are some of your memories of legal segregation in the Deep
during June of '64?

Stopping for gas and seeing the signs on the restrooms and drinking
fountains: colored. white.
Sandy spraypainted his hand bright
fluorescent red and laid it on the colored drinking fountain (which
was porcelain white), leaving a flaming red handprint.

Lake Ponchartrain, where we went for a cooling swim,
and didn't notice
till we were in the water that we were the only lily whiteskinned
Afterwards, we called it backward integration.


"Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that
it has to be us."
--Jerry Garcia

image courtesy of
interview with Babbs to be continued...

Speaking of the Sixties, I've finally gotten around to reading July's ROLLING STONE 1967
Summer of Love issue

I'm gonna list a lot of people & places mentioned in the article about L.A. in hopes that some memories get jogged out there in ZERO, NORTHWEST FLORIDA cyberspace.
Looking forward to some of your reminiscences from 40 years ago...

Ahmet Ertegun,Ben Shapiro, Alan Pariser, Clive Davis, Lou Adler, David Anderle, Laurel Canyon, Sunset Strip, West Hollywood, Studio City, Beverley Glen, The Daisy, Gazzari's, The Galaxy, The London Fog, Whisky a Go-Go, The Troubedour, The Canyon Store, Pandora's Box,
Valley Music Theatre, Old World Restaurant

Christopher certainly enjoyed ZZ Tuesday night in Pelham.
Billy Gibbons was introing a song and starts this rap that kinda goes,
"You know it's so great to be back in the Deep South. You know we been out in L.A. and they ain't got Dollar Stores like y'all do. L.A. baby don't wanna go to a Dollar Store. She wants to go to the $250,000 Store!
But, man, I love the Dollar Store where you go up to the counter and buy something for a dollar and they give you dollars back & you know what I like to buy..."

& Christopher's T-town buddy sitting right next to him yells "CHEAP SUNGLASSES!"
& Billy hit the chords for the song.

Christopher got some super shots down front with his cell phone so we'll try to download some of those images next week.

Our last post got some response from Dothan's rbiii:

We use to sneak Bryant Hall leftovers, a bunch of em,' up for Sam, so he didn't starve. I was considered for suponea because I saw fuckin' Goostree, shit ass trainer, let the watch run after Sam made his mile run in proper time for a lineman, 5 minutes I think, he was seconds over according to Goose, he was 25 seconds under according to my big dumb ass. I was standin' next to Gooseand his damn watch. And remember all the timed running was conducted after practice, three to four hours worth, so everybody be tired. Fuck. I always hated Goostree, but I considered whoopin' his fat, slow ass after that, could have done it too with that bunch of pussy jock washers he surrounded himself with, cocksucker. He went to Tennessee,No Fruit Sucks Like A Big Orange. Dark days, pard! I was young and stupid, but Sam stood tall, metaphorically speaking. And I'm here to tell ya' he made practice and made his time, he's still a Righteous Dude! He's still a little sawed off stumpy Mo' Fro' who could whoop my ass and any one else standin' round in a heartbeat. I have always, and always will love Sam.

Sometime I'll tell ya' bout' the tackle games we use to have during Thanksgiving on Girard, vacant lots cross from Calvary and gettin' run out of Rip Hewes Stadium by the DPD. We told em', "damn fellas' come on and play". "It's November and nobody usin' this field". The cops seemed somewhat squeemish. Go Figure.

Then there is the Elks pool, Becky and Bruce Thomas' partys and the DHS chess club that I was priviledged to attend when I was in the ninth grade because I was connected and considered a source of humor, I damn sure couldn't play chess. Neil, Bruce, Sam and Alan damn sure could. Sam Hall was a regular atendee, but he wasn't much of a player either, damn fine commentator though.

Glory Days, How Damn Boring!

You mentioned Sam getting kicked off.

I don't think you can terminate a SEC grant in aid to a student in good standing.

There's a difference between being kicked off and being run off. I don't think depriving him training table rights was remotely legal. During my short time I never saw Bryant use that tactic again and never heard of such from any of the guys.

I damn sure didn't stick around to see the outcome. I figured if they could pull that shit on Sam they could waterboard my sorry ass. The day I left in fall of 70' I was 1A. I'll take my chances. I think Scott saw the light early. God bless Scott he went over.