Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC) # 14: Christmas Decorations, London, December 2018

Still playing catch-up with the Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC) co-hosted by Cee Neuner and Marsha Ingrao. From Marsha’s blog, Always Writes:

  • Public art encompasses any form of art you see in a public place, large or small, statues, murals, graffiti, gardens, parks, etc. The art should be visible from streets, sidewalks, or outdoor public places. Let your imagination and photographic eye show us diverse samples all over the world.

Self has been feeling quite nostalgic about London. She took these pictures December, 2018. Christmas decorations are public art, right?

She took the picture of gold paper chains through the front window of the London Review Bookshop, one of her favorite hangouts: It’s on Bury Place, off Great Russell Street in Bloomsbury.

The Last Run of the USS Heermann

First of all, dear blog readers, self would like to introduce this post by saying that she grew up in the Philippines and attended the best schools that Filipino money could buy. And none of those schools taught World War II.

She never even heard of the Battle of Leyte Gulf until she began reading The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors. It took her going to the States, getting graduate degrees from Stanford, and becoming a US citizen before she had access to books about World War II.

That is why reading this book by James D. Hornfischer is such an incredible experience.

Her last post was about the fatally wounded Gambier Bay. The commander of Taffy 2, Admiral Stump, has just decided not to send any of his ships into the battle, as he sees it is lost. It is left to the commander of Taffy 3, Ziggy Sprague, to beg any carriers and cruisers nearby to come to the aid of Gambier Bay.

But none of the besieged carriers have any torpedoes left. There is one who responds, though: the Heermann. The Heermann‘s captain decides to bluff (he has no torpedoes either, but what the hey). Remember the Heermann almost crashed into an American destroyer, not once but three times? It happens again here, the Heermann nearly collides with the Fanshaw Bay. Nevertheless, collision is avoided, the Heermann builds up steam and continues towards the Gambier Bay, its gun boss, Lieutenant Meadors, keeping up “a steady cadence of fire all the way in.” An eight-inch shot from a Japanese cruiser “ripped through the ship’s bow, blowing a five-foot hole in the hull and flooding the forward magazines.” Everyone in the pilothouse is killed. With chief quartermaster John P. Milley (Thank you, James D. Hornfischer, for giving us actual names instead of just saying “the chief quartermaster lay dead …”) lying dead on the deck, “the wheel was abandoned.”

A sailor named Harold Whitney grabs the wheel and tries to imitate what he’s seen his skipper do so many times. Suddenly, he feels a tug on his pant leg and looks down. The chief quartermaster John P. Milley was alive! “I’ll take it,” Milley told Whitney. “But you’re wounded,” Whitney said. “I’ll take it,” was all Milley said again. Whitney surrendered the wheel.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

9 a.m., 25 October 1944

Battle was joined at 7:30 a.m. Approximately one hour later, the USS Hoel was sunk, and the USS Johnston showed every sign of following.

End of Chapter Thirty-one:

  • As wicked as the crossfire was, a sight now commanded everyone’s attention on the Johnston’s bridge: an escort carrier, listing to port, dead in the water and taking heavy fire. It was the Gambier Bay. She had lost her boiler and could do only eleven knots.

Beginning of Chapter Thirty-two:

  • There was no telling how many ships had drawn a bead on her now. Under fire for nearly ninety minutes . . . the Gambier Bay took her first hit at 8:20 a.m., when a shell penetrated her forward engine room.

Ironically, this is when the first rescue ships sent by Admiral Stump arrive. The Gambier Bay’s signal officer opens the shutters of his lamp and blinkers, We are under attack, please help.

The rescue ships turned and withdrew to the south. Admiral Stump “had decided against risking his most capable escorts in a dicey offensive action. If the Japanese destroyed Taffy 3 and continued south, he would need them for his own defense.”

Edward Huxtable was commander of the Gambier Bay’s air group, VC-10. Seeing “the carrier taking concentrated fire from Japanese cruisers . . . Huxtable turned, descended, and leveled off in a mock torpedo attack.” Actually, he had taken off from the Gambier Bay in such a hurry that he had no time to load his bombs. “He made four” dummy runs, “each time . . . flying level with bomb bay doors open.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Skywatch Friday 1

The rules are simple: Every Friday, post a picture of SKY.

Here’s mine:

Taken

Me, Myself, and Self

Self was interviewed by The Museum of Americana.

Read the interview here.

Still Chapter Thirty: The Awful Steering of the USS HEERMANN

One good thing about taking forever to finish TLSOTTCS is that self is acquiring all this shipping lore, which is proving very useful in her seagoing stories (Oh, did self fail to mention she’s now into writing seafaring stories? They’re full of adventure and the exhilaration of discovery. Exciting! It is apparently a genre that has quite a few devoted followers) Anyhoo, she’s still on Chapter Thirty, which is still about the USS Heermann. For the third time since this book began, the Heermann finds itself on a collision course with another American destroyer. This time, it’s the hapless USS Johnston, which had only one working propeller after being hit by a barrage of Japanese missiles. “All engines back full!” the Johnston‘s skipper shouts, and the hull shudders, and a couple of crew on the Johnston‘s deck nearly get pitched into the water. A collision is avoided (but just barely) and the Heermann continues on its majestic way until . . . it nearly collides with another “tin can steaming alongside close to port.” They think it’s another American destroyer until they get really close and realize all that shouting from the other ship is in . . . Japanese! Oh my bacon! Luckily for the Heermann, the Japanese destroyer has its eyes on another target, and slips right by the Heermann.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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