Unplugged Music, Electic Battery, and Alessandro Volta (1745.02.18)


The physicist who pioneered work in electrical science, inventing the “voltaic pile” battery, Alessandro Volta was born on this date in 1745.  If it was not for Volta’s battery and electric current, we would only have “unplugged music.”  Our playlist includes some favorite unplugged rock tunes to celebrate.  You can use Volta’s electrical current to tune in his playlist on Crosscurrents, 2/18 at 8 am.  or…listen to the live on air web stream:  http://www.ktoo.org/krnn

   You might notice that Gavin and Wyatt are hiding behind Alessandro Volta.  It appears that they have joined the inventor in his electric lab.  Apparently nobody told the dogs that Volta is know for his battery, and not his biscuit.



Heartbreak, Three Cords and the Truth, Lies and Leaving before Valentine’s Day.


  It has been said that country music is the best because at its essence is…. three cords and the truth.  If that is so, then we have lots of truth tomorrow.  It is hoped that the show will recognize those folks who have seen the difficult side of social partnership.  Many of have been there as we suffer through another Valentine’s Day.

You are invited to join us on the day before Valentine’s Day as we recognize that roses and romance can turn into lies and leaving.  It will be time for reparation and redress with country tunes on Crosscurrents, 2/13 at 8 am. (Alaska time)

HEARTBREAK COUNTRY ON KRNN, 2/13: on air link: http://www.ktoo.org/krnn

Montgomery Bus Boycott, N.A.A.C.P., and Rosa Parks (1913.02.04)


A civil rights activist whose defiance compelled the Supreme Court to declare that discrimination in public transportation is legally invalid, Rosa Parks was born on this date in 1913.  You are invited to salute Rosa Parks on her birthday during Crosscurrents, 1/04 at 8 am.

I hope that the radio show is good enough for the fine memory of Rosa Parks.  You can let me know by commenting after you listen.  http://www.krnn.org

Ms. Parks was not the first African-American woman to be arrested for refusing to yield her seat on a Montgomery bus.

Nine months before Parks was jailed, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin was the first Montgomery bus passenger to be arrested for refusing to give up her seat for a white passenger. (Parks was involved in raising defense funds for Colvin.) Three other African-American women—Aurelia Browder, Mary Louise Smith and Susie McDonald—also ran afoul of the bus segregation law prior to Parks. The four were plaintiffs in the Browder v. Gayle case that resulted in the Supreme Court ruling bus segregation unconstitutional.

       Rosa Parks was a civil rights activist before her arrest.  Parks was a long-time member of the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which she joined in 1943.

        Ms. Parks was not sitting in a whites-only section.  Parks was sitting in the front row of a middle section of the bus open to African Americans if seats were vacant. After the “whites-only” section filled on subsequent stops and a white man was left standing, the driver demanded that Parks and three others in the row leave their seats. While the other three eventually moved, Parks did not.

Rosa Parks quotes

*  You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.

*  Each person must live their life as a model for others.

*  The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.

*  Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.

*  I believe there is only one race – the human race.

*  Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today’s mighty oak is yesterday’s nut that held its ground.

*   What really matters is not whether we have problems, but how we go through them. We must keep going on to make it through whatever we are facing.

*  As long as people use tactics to oppress or restrict other people from being free, there is work to be done.

Lincoln, Civil War, and the Gettysburg Address (1863.11.19)


Lincoln had been invited on this date in 1863 to give a “few appropriate remarks” to dedicate a cemetery for Union soldiers killed at Gettysburg.  Despite its brevity and earning little attention at the time, the Gettysburg Address is one of Lincoln’s greatest speeches which you are invited to celebrate on Crosscurrents, 11/19 at 8 am.

GETTYSBURG ADDRESS ON KRNN, 11/19 at 8 am.  live on air link: http://www.krnn.org


Get Out to Vote and Susan B. Anthony (1872.11.05)


 American civil rights activist Susan B. Anthony was later arrested for voting “illegally” in the presidential election on this date in 1872.   You are encouraged to vote on Tuesday after you listen to the suffragist song fest on Monday Crosscurrents 11/5 at 8 am.

SUSAN B. ANTHONY ON KRNN, 11/5: live onair link:  http://www.krnn.org


Nothing is hopeless that is right.

The older I get, the greater power I seem to have to help the world; I am like a snowball – the further I am rolled the more I gain.

We ask justice, we ask equality, we ask that all the civil and political rights that belong to citizens of the United States, be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever.

“I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”

Women should have equal pay for equal work and they should be considered equally eligible to the offices of principal and superintendent, professor and president. So you must insist that qualifications, not sex, shall govern appointments and salaries.

“Forget conventionalisms; forget what the world thinks of you stepping out of your place; think your best thoughts, speak your best words, work your best works, looking to your own conscience for approval.”

“No man is good enough to govern any woman without her consent.”

“Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.”

Post script:

     She was fined $100 though she never paid it.

     The legal arguement on her behalf was based on the 14th and the 15th Amendment.

     She pledged her vote for U.S. Grant.







Continental Congress, Founding Fathers, and Constitution (1787.09.17)


The product of four months of secret debate, convention delegates signed the final draft of the Constitution on this date in 1787.  You are invited to convene for a unconventional Constitutional celebration on Crosscurrents, 9/17 at 8 am.

CONSTITUTIION DAY ON KRNN, 9/17 http://www.krnn.org

I.  On September 17, 1787, only 39 of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document.

II.  The original Constitution signed on September 17th and ratified June 21, 1788 is only five pages long.

III. Three Latin phrases appear in the Constitution: pro tempore, ex post facto, and habeas corpus.

IV.  James Madison is viewed as the “Father of the Constitution” despite his misgivings towards some of its content.

V.  The 85 articles of The Federalist were instrumental in getting the Constitution ratified and were written by Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay.

VI.  The Constitutional Convention lasted from May 25, 1787 through September 17, 1787. George Washington served as president of the Constitutional Convention, but did not speak during any of the proceedings until the Convention’s final day.

VII. During the Convention, George Washington sat in a chair that had a representation of half a sun on the top, which Benjamin Franklin regularly gazed at during troublesome moments of the proceedings. Asked why, he said he was unable to decide if the sun was rising or setting. Only when the Constitution was signed did Franklin decide the sun was rising.

VIII. Franklin, at age 81, was the oldest delegate, and had to be helped to sign his name.

IX.  John Shallus, a clerk for the Pennsylvania General Assembly, physically wrote the Constitution down on parchment paper. The Convention paid him $30 for his services, which is worth about $800 today.

X.  Rhode Island was the only state that refused to send delegates to the Constitutional Convention and was the last state to ratify the Constitution (May 29, 1790).

XI.  One of the Constitutional Convention’s debates was the title of the nation’s Chief Executive. One possible idea: “His Highness the President of the United States of America and Protector of their Liberties.” Eventually everyone settled on “The President of the United States.”

XII. The U.S. Constitution is the shortest governing document of any nation today, and contains only 7 articles and 27 amendments. It is also the oldest; Norway’s comes in second and was codified in 1814.

XIII. Giving comfort to grammar errants everywhere, the official copy of the Constitution contains an incorrect word — Article 1, Section 10 uses “it’s” when it should be “its,” even in 18th-century usage. However, the word “chuse” as used in the Constitution was acceptable at the time. So was the alternative spelling of Pennsylvania, Pensylvania; the Constitution actually uses both spellings.

Paved Road, Coast to Coast, and The Lincoln Highway (1913.09.10)


  The first paved coast-to-coast US highway, The Lincoln Highway, was opened on this date in 1913.  Your radio is all you need to join for the Lincoln Highway anniversary on Crosscurrents, 9/10 at 8 am.

LINCOLN HYWY ON KRNN. 9/10: live on air link: http://www.krnn.org

The notionof the Lincoln Highway came from Carl Fisher, responsible for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Miami Beach. With help from fellow industrialists Frank Seiberling and Henry Joy, an improved, hard-surfaced road was envisioned that would extend almost 3400 miles coast to coast, New York to San Francisco, over the shortest practical route.

The Lincoln Highway Association was formed in 1913 to develope the road using private and corporate donations. The idea was taken up by an enthusiastic public, and many other named roads across the country followed.  American citizens’ desire for improved roads led to the action of the federal government in constucting roads and the creation of numbered U.S. routes in the 1920s.

Great Society, Vietnam War, and Lyndon B. Johnson (1908.08.27)


The 36th President lauded for his progressive domestic policies and criticized for his foreign affairs, Lyndon B. Johnson was born on this date in 1908.  You are invited to join the LBJ birthday with a historical review and Texas tunes on Crosscurrents, 8/27 at 8 am.

LYNDON B. JOHNSON ON KRNN, 8/27: Live On Air Link – http://www.krnn.org


“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”

“Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance.”

“If we stand passively by while the centre of each city becomes a hive of depravation, crime and hopelessness…if we become two people, the suburban af”fluent and the urban poor, each filled with mistrust and fear for the other…then we shall effectively cripple each generation to come.”

“There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few we can solve by ourselves.”

“We can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it.”

“A man without a vote is a man without protection.”

“Don’t Spit in the Soup, We All Gotta Eat”

“Democracy is a constant tension between truth and half-truth and, in the arsenal of truth, there is no greater weapon than fact.”

“Being president is like being a jackass in a hailstorm. There’s nothing to do but to stand there and take it.”

“Poverty must not be a bar to learning and learning must offer an escape from poverty.”

We have talked long enough in this country about equal rights. … It is time now to write the next chapter-and to write it in the books of law.

“Light at the end of the tunnel We don’t even have a tunnel we don’t even know where the tunnel is.”

“You know, doing what is right is easy. The problem is knowing what is right.”

Solo Voyage Around The World and Sir Charles Blyth (1971.08.06)

Passport 545 BOTY test sail, Annapolis MD

Aboard his 59ft ketch, Charles Blyth on this date in 1971 arrived back to port in England to become the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world against the prevailing winds and currents.  We hope to have you sail with us for Sir Blyth tribute on Crosscurrents, 8/7 at 8 am.

SIR CHARLES BLYTH ON KRNN, 8/6: live on-air link:  http://www.krnn.org

British Steel Faces the Test
The Circumnavigators – by Don Holm
(c) 1974 by Donald R. Holm
originally published by Prentice-Hall, NY
– 31 –

Maureen said, “Well, why not sail around the
world the other way?” I had other things to
think about, but her words stayed in my mind.
Why not? (l)

miles to the south of Cape Horn, a long white and sleek ketch with
main and jib set, rose and fell slowly in the heave,beating against the
prevailing light winds and currents.
On board the 59-foot British Steel was not a crew, but just one
man 30-year-old Chay Blyth and he was engaged in the last great
individual sailing adventure left on the Seven Seas. He was sailing
alone around the world, the “wrong way,” east to west in the high
southern latitudes nonstop.(2)
Now on Christmas Eve, not even halfway around, Chay Blyth
broke out his “Cape Horn meal,” packed for him before leaving by
his wife, Maureen, for the occasion crab, ham, roast potatoes, and
wine. It was not so much a celebration as a milestone on his voyage,
marking passage from the Atlantic into the Pacific. He still had the
Pacific ahead of him, then the Indian, and finally the Atlantic again,
before he would see his wife and daughter once more.
But he was not exactly alone. Only the day before, he had rendez-
voused with the British H.M.S. Endurance, on ice patrol.(3) A boat
had been sent off to bring him mail, fresh fruit, bread, and whiskey.
Moreover, with his modern radio equipment aboard, Blyth had been
~ 28O ~
in contact with shore stations during the entire trip so far. Now, with
the Endurance, he was able to send out feature material for the
newspapers at home as well as still and motion pictures taken thus
far, to his agent.
This circumnavigation by Chay Blyth in British Steel was the best-
planned and equipped voyage of its kind in the history of yachting
adventures. All the skill of a century of shipbuilding had gone into
the design and construction of this modern steel yacht for the single
purpose of providing a vehicle for the last remaining spectacular
ocean stunt. To assure success, the state-owned British Steel Corp had expended about 50,000 (pounds) or $120,000, of which 20,000 had
gone into the design by Robert Clark, and the construction in record
time of only four months by Philip & Son of Dartmouth.(4) Launched
on August 19, 1970, British Steel was the epitome of modern yacht
designing and the use of steel in yacht construction. She was also
equipped with an expensive array of electronics, and other appliances
needed for one man to master this large a vessel with its cloud of
1,300 square feet of sail.
The man himself was no ordinary sailor. In fact, Chay Blyth had a
reputation of being a non-yachtsman, somewhat disparagingly, as it
were. All of his yachting so far (and including this trip) was re-
garded as “publicity yachting.” Even Blyth thought of himself as an
expert in survival, not as a sailor.(5)
Born May 14, 1940, in Hawick, Scotland, he joined a parachute
regiment when he was eighteen. At twenty-one, he was already a
sergeant with experience in several overseas assignments. He had
completed the Arctic Survival School as well as the Desert Survival
School, and had become an instructor in the Eskdale Outward
Bound School by 1966, when an officer named Captain John Ridg-
way of the Parachute Regiment at Aldershot called for a volunteer to
accompany him on a rowing trip across the Atlantic in an open
dory.(6) The stunt was successfully completed in ninety-two days, and
for his part, Blyth was awarded the Empire Medal. In 1967, he left
the army and the following year entered the Sunday Times Golden
Globe Race around the world.(7)
Blyth’s participation in the race ended off Cape Town when his 30-
foot Kingfisher-class Dytiscus pitchpoled backward (bow over stern).
Making port, Blyth repaired the vessel, and with his wife, Maureen,
who had flown to Cape Town, sailed back to England. Home again
in civilian life, Blyth took a job as a salesman for a beverage
company. But he was restless without a physical challenge, and seri-
~ 281 ~
ously considered a suggestion by a former buddy in the Parachute
Regiment that they cross the Andes and canoe down the Amazon for
kicks. He even went to London and talked to the pros on Fleet
Street, who advised him the Amazon stunt would probably arouse
the most interest, since everything had already been done in the
yachting arena. Later, he remembered a chance remark by Maureen,
and the idea of a nonstop singlehanded voyage around grew upon
In March, 1969, he went to the Birmingham Boat Show, and there
met a former newspaperman and public relations practitioner named
Terry Bond. Out of this meeting evolved a working partnership and a
plan which was presented to the British Steel Corporation, which was
casually shopping around for some way to publicize its image.
Next came months of planning, designing, conferences, setbacks,
hectic preparations, and inevitable frustrations. For this kind of
project, one needs a course in survival to maintain one’s health and
sanity. Finally, on Sunday, October 18, Blyth went aboard the sleek
new yacht from the jetty of the Royal Southern Yacht Club in the
Hamble River with Maureen and a party of friends for one last
farewell. They motored down to the starting area near the Hook
Buoy in Southampton Water. There, Maureen and their friends
were taken off by the Blue Crystal, and Chay was alone waiting for
the starting gun to be fired by Commodore A. R. Lightfoot.
In the melee that followed, as the fleet escorted him out to the
Needles, one of the launches rammed his boat and cut a nasty dent
in the sleek white topsides. But he was on his way, on the most
spectacular adventure of his young life, and the one which would
bring him a share of British maritime immortality to say nothing of a
small fortune.
His route was to take him south to Cape Horn, west against the
Roaring Forties, across the Indian Ocean, around Cape Horn, and
back up the Atlantic to England, for the most part against prevailing
winds and currents. What else was left to do if one were to record
another first in a bluewater yacht? Since Captain Joshua Slocum’s
voyage, which started it all, hundreds and maybe thousands of yachts
had sailed around the world in all directions. As Professor Roger
Strout had remarked back in the 1930s on his circumnavigation,
everything that came after Magellan was anticlimax. Sir Francis
Chichester had beaten the average wool and grain clipper ship time,
east-about, when in his late sixties. The young merchant marine
officer, Robin Knox-Johnston, had become the first to sail around
~ 282 ~
nonstop, also east-about. Dozens of stunters had rowed across the
oceans, even long before the ordeal completed with Captain Ridg-
way. Circumnavigations had been made by concrete vessels, by
catamarans and trimarans, and even by an amphibious Jeep. Until
someone came up with a suitable private submarine capable of sailing
around the world underwater, the only remaining feat was a wrong-
way nonstop singlehanded passage.
Physically as well as spiritually, no man was ever better prepared
for such an undertaking than Blyth. In robust good health, full of
zest for life and adventure, his reactions and coordinations sharpened
by years of commando training, even a wrong-way voyage was ex-
pected to be an easy cruise.
Sailing down the Atlantic, he had trouble in the northeast trades
with the sails. Off the Rio de la Plata, he encountered a pampero
and could not lower his mainsail because of jammed slides, making
necessary a hazardous trip up the mast. Off Cape Horn, he was
driven south into the ice fields by a Force 9 gale in enormous seas
that smashed his self-steering gear beyond repair and caused a serious
head injury. From then on, he had nothing but trouble.
In late February, near New Zealand, he suffered a severe knock-
down by a graybeard wave which bent the mast and damaged the
rigging When he crossed the southern Indian Ocean, he was bat-
tered for five days by the worst storm he had ever experienced, and
probably one which he could not have survived had not his steel
vessel been built like a submarine. He was driven five hundred miles
off course by it.
Rounding the Cape of Good Hope, he was forced to spend as long
as twenty hours at a time steering. On June 28, he crossed his out-
bound track, having technically circumnavigated. On July 19, he
celebrated his daughter’s birthday with a special pack of goodies, and
was spoken west of Ushant by the H.M.S. Ark Royal. He sailed
through the tunny fleet, and, on July 31, a chartered airplane with a Sunday Mirror team flew over to take photos. Navy ships stayed with him the rest of the way while he toasted himself with champagne and
prepared himself and the ship for the homecoming.
On August 2, the Blue Crystal came out to meet him and to lead
him to a mooring at the Royal Southern Yacht Club. The voyage was
over, the 292-day passage, Hamble to Hamble, the fastest nonstop on
record. His welcome was even bigger than those of Rose, Chichester,
and Knox-Johnston; and unlike those homecomings, as the British
Steel sailed up the Solent, the yacht looked as if it had just come out
~ 283 ~
of the yard, topsides spotless, gear in first-class condition. Blyth,
himself, clean-shaven and dressed in his best, bounded about the
deck ebullient of spirit and in the best of health. The grueling voyage
had been carried off in the best British tradition; and with superb
timing, Blyth managed to make his appearance in the midst of Cowes
Week. And to complete the tableau, he was greeted personally by the
Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Anne, and Prime
Minister Edward Heath.
Upon his return, the yacht was given to him to keep, and the
young national hero went on to share the limelight with Sir Francis
Chichester, Sir Alec Rose, Knox-Johnston, and the others.(8)
~ 284 ~
– end Chapter 31 –