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The other morning, as ol’ Robbo was headed back to the port-swiller residence from some domestic errand or other, he happened to have the satellite radio of his Honda Juggernaut® tuned to the all-40’s channel.

On said radio, after Bing Crosby sang “You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby,” came a song I’d never heard before, sung by Marion Hutton and entitled “Johnny Got A Zero.”  The gist of it was that Johnny got zeroes in school because he didn’t pay attention and would be teased about it on the playground.  However, Johnny later learns to fly and goes off to the Pacific Theatre, where he gets a different kind of Zero, and instead of being teased, is praised by the other flyboys as “Johnny Zero.”

I thought the song a delightful little wartime propaganda play on words.  What I didn’t know is that the song was actually based on a real incident:

Not many fliers have had a popular song written about them, but an exception was a soft-spoken USAAF enlisted man, John D. Foley. As a skilled typist, Foley was assigned to duty as a company clerk en route to the Southwest Pacific in December 1941. Eager for combat, he secured orders — some rumored that he forged them — transferring him to duty as a armorer.  Although he had never received any aerial gunnery training, he volunteered as a gunner and was assigned to the crew of a Martin B-26.

On his first mission, his aircraft was attacked by Japanese fighters and Foley shot down at least one enemy aircraft, although he was reluctant to mention his feat since he was not sure he had done the right thing in firing without orders. Other members of the 19th Bomb Squadron confirmed his victory and he was nicknamed “Johnny Zero” by a war correspondent. Corporal Foley became a hero in his home town of Chicago and the subject of a popular song, “Johnny Got a Zero.” Other commercial firms capitalized on his fame and produced such items as “Johnny Zero” watches and boots.

According to the linkey, Foley flew 31 more missions in the Pacific, got credit for at least six other enemy aircraft, and survived three crashes.   A bout of malaria sent him home, but upon recovery, he went to Europe, where he flew 31 missions in B-24’s in just two months.  The war ended before he could start his third tour of duty.

I think that’s a pretty tasty little history-geek tidbit.

Oh, and here’s the song, in case you’re interested.  Typical, delightful 40’s fluff:

Greetings, my fellow port-swillers!  Yes, the rains have finally stopped and things are beginning to dry out a bit.  Thursday evening, as I drove home in a heavy downpour, I couldn’t help noticing that the softball fields where we play were under about five feet of water.  Upon arrival at the port swiller residence, I also couldn’t help noticing that we lost the peach tree in our yard.  The good news here is that this gives me an excuse to buy a chainsaw.  (Lemons and lemonade, don’t you know.  Well, maybe peaches and peach iced tea.)

I haven’t posted anything on the anniversary of 9/11 and I’m not going to.  Why? Because I haven’t got anything to say that hasn’t been said better by somebody else, probably multiple somebody elses, already, and I certainly don’t want to sound hackneyed or trite.

Following up on the post immediately below, the results of the eldest gel’s ankle x-ray were, as I could have predicted, inconclusive.  No, they couldn’t see any fractures, but they thought it was still possible that something might have happened to the growth plate.  The growth plate! Horibile dictu!  Call ol’ Robbo a cynic, but I’ve heard this “we can’t be sure about the growth plate” line a sufficient number of times to start getting suspicious.  It sounds spooky enough, like the “triangle of death” at the top of an infant’s skull, that parents will jump through any number of extra hoops, and pay any amount of extra monies,  in response to these dread words.   So the docs want the gel to go back for more examination later this week.  I hardly see the point of this, since the treatment – keep the foot wrapped up and try not to walk on it for a while – will be identical no matter what the diagnosis.  But then, who listens to me?

Yesterday afternoon we attended the annual open house at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method.  As I dutifully trailed around after Mrs. Robbo, I couldn’t help admiring her gift for the gab.  Mrs. R is one of those people who can basically say the same thing over and over again as she works her way through a crowd, each time making it sound fresh and personal.  I, on the other hand, have no talent for small talk.  Which, I suppose, is why she likes parties and I don’t.

Speaking of yesterday, it also marked the return of the full choir at church, meaning we had a sung Mass (musick by Monteverdi) instead of a chanted one.  It also brought back to mind a liturgical practice that I still don’t understand: that of starting the Gloria standing, but sitting down in the middle of it.  It seems to me that everyone should remain on their hind legs right the way through.





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September 2011