Saturday, March 22, 2014


Among the many thousands of comments I read this week relating to lost Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777, Flight MH370, I came across one observing that events and explanations thereof were starting to remind him (and any readers "of a certain age") of the old phrase
"Send Three and Fourpence. We’re Going to a Dance."
Being of a "certain age", I searched memory for this phrase without success, then used the Google.

Quote Investigator helped. Several explanations, based on the Chinese Whispers phenomenon (aka "Telephone" in the USA) date from both World Wars and beyond.

Example of an initial military order and how it became mangled:
Send reinforcements. We are going to advance.
Became, the story goes:
Send three and fourpence. We are going to a dance.

During the week I rented a 4-disc DVD set of an old, and doomed, TV series, Caprica. It was cancelled very early on due to bad ratings, and was meant as a prequel to the better-known Battlestar Galactica series of which we were vaguely familiar. Caprica tells how humanity first created robotic Cylons who would later, in the Battlestar Galactica series, plot to destroy humans in retaliation for their enslavement.

Caprica was the name of a planet home of humans, one of a colony of 12 planets in the outer solar system. Half way through the pilot episode I suddenly realised, having heard mention of Tauron, another planet of the 12 colonies, that there must be some relationship to the zodiac: Capricorn, Taurus. I was further amused to hear a character from Tauron stating, "We Taurons are nothing if not stubborn!" Writers consult astrology text books then!

Having looked into this further at Wikipedia, I found that, indeed:
The names of the tribes and the planets they lived on were borrowed from the Zodiac:
Caprica - capital, pseudo-United States

Tauron - one of the wealthy colonies, and a troublesome member of the federal government. Caprica's great rival, Tauron is described as a repressive pseudo-Soviet Union to Caprica's United States.

Sagittaron - exploited, oppressed colony that is discriminated against

Gemenon - religiously fundamentalist

Aerilon - poor agrarian breadbasket world

The Caprica prequel series set the goal of trying to round out and further develop the culture of all Twelve Colonies.

In Battlestar Galactica: The Plan establishes that Leonis has plains, Scorpia has jungles, Virgon is forested, Libran is dedicated to the Colonial judiciary, Tauron has pastures, both Picon and Aquaria are largely covered in water, and Canceron is known for its beaches. No mention is given of Sagittaron, with the television version mentioning temples on Gemenon, reinforcing the strong religious fabric on the planet.

Husband found this vintage snapshot among some he had purchased recently. His research turned up information about a government and society in the USA that, he observed - and I agree - seems, well ... is impossible today, more's the pity!

From Wikipedia
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families, ages 18–25 as part of Roosevelt's New Deal. Robert Fechner was the head of the agency. It was a major part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal that provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments. The CCC was designed to provide jobs for young men, to relieve families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression in the United States while at the same time implementing a general natural resource conservation program in every state and territory. Maximum enrollment at any one time was 300,000; in nine years 3 million young men participated in the CCC, which provided them with shelter, clothing, and food, together with a small wage of $30 a month ($25 of which had to be sent home to their families).

The American public made the CCC the most popular of all the New Deal programs. Principal benefits of an individual's enrollment in the CCC included improved physical condition, heightened morale, and increased employability. Implicitly, the CCC also led to a greater public awareness and appreciation of the outdoors and the nation's natural resources; and the continued need for a carefully planned, comprehensive national program for the protection and development of natural resources.

During the time of the CCC, volunteers planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide and upgraded most state parks, updated forest fire fighting methods, and built a network of service buildings and public roadways in remote areas.

The CCC operated separate programs for veterans and Native Americans and African Americans. Though camps were separate, the accommodations and pay were equal.

Responding to favorable public opinion to alleviate unemployment, Congress approved the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, on 8 April 1935, which included continued funding for the CCC program through 31 March 1937. The age limit was also expanded to 18-28 to include more men. From 1 April 1935 to 31 March 1936 was the period of greatest activity and work accomplished by the CCC program. Enrollment had peaked at 505,782 in about 2,900 camps by 31 August 1935, followed by a reduction to 350,000 enrollees in 2,019 camps by 30 June 1936. During this period the public response to the CCC program was overwhelmingly popular. A Gallup poll of 18 April 1936 asked "Are you in favor of the CCC camps?"; 82% of respondents said yes, including 92% of Democrats and 67% of Republicans.

Despite its popular support, the CCC was never a permanent agency. It depended on emergency and temporary Congressional legislation for its existence. By 1942, with World War II and the draft in operation, need for work relief declined and Congress voted to close the program.

The following snip indicates exactly where Camp NP7C, signed in the photograph, was located: Excerpt from “The Archeology of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Rocky Mountain National Park” by William B. Butler, Park Archeologist.:
Five camps were built in the park, along with one outside the park that also did some work in the park. The camps on the east side of the park were NP-1-C in Little Horseshoe Park, and camps NP-4-C and NP-11-C that were located beside each other along Mill Creek in Hollowell Park. Camps across the Continental Divide to the west were NP-3-C and NP-7-C in the same area on Beaver Creek in the Kawuneeche Valley. Camp NP-12-C was also constructed on the west side, but south of the park and the Town of Grand Lake.


mike said...

Caprica is phonetically too similar to paprika for my sensibility, but it's only a name...LOL. Seems the writers may have delved into some astrology, but I would have given Sag the "religiously fundamentalist" and Gem the "exploited, oppressed colony that is discriminated against" descriptors. Virgon the "poor agrarian breadbasket world" of Aerilon. But, hey, it's only a TV series...they can toss it as they see fit.

Even when I was a young adult, I had great appreciation for the public works programs. So many of the parks I visited had plaques telling and honoring the program's stories and benefits to these locations. Many murals, photographs, and art installations were created and on display for decades after the programs ceased...some still are. Many of the murals have been destroyed in lieu of the modern...some were removed and stored, and are just now in revival mode. Many dams were constructed at that time using the CCC labor for clearing land prior to construction. You mention only men benefiting from this program, but women were employed maintaining the campsites and cooking.

The USA's government providing and subsidizing jobs has never gone-over with the staunch conservatives...smacks of socialism. However, the conservatives would prefer welfare and unemployment benefit recipients do some form of public service for their paid benefits. Always the polarizing catch-22.

This country has a tremendous need for infrastructure improvements and a national program along the likes of the CCC could go a long way toward this. Unions don't like that idea, however, nor do most civil engineers, and private companies want to work on "bid" rather than directly having employees on the government payroll. Many private companies have relied on illegal immigrants for their cheap and voiceless labor.

Anonymous said...

My father left home at 16 to join the CCCs in the logging camps in Boise, Idaho. He found great comraderie and much satisfaction in his daily work. He sent the $25.00 home to his family and 4 brothers in Ohio. It was the beginning of a life of service to his country as he was a career "lifer" in the Navy. There was a program about the CCCs on Public Television. It may have been "The American Experience", but don't quote me. What impressed me was the fact that some of these young men were illiterate but at the end of the day, after dinner, they were taught to read and write. The program mentioned the fact that the camps were segregated because this was the only lifes' experience some of the men knew. However, the camps were equal in all other ways, including pay. A black man from Detroit talked about his experiences in the camp, the education he received, his service in WW2,then a good paying job with benefits on the Ford assembly line back home and a comfortable retirement. He credited the CCC with giving him a chance and a good start in life to the comforts he now enjoys. FDR was a Democrat when it meant something to the ordinary American...and Eleanor wasn't bad either. Thanks, Twilight for the column. I hope it interests and educates a few people on how an activist government can do good for its' citizens. Something we have been lacking since 2000.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes, I thought they could have allocated the names in a more appropriate way. We didn't finish watching the 4 disc set before it was due back - and we weren't impressed enough to renew it. Could have been an interesting theme if done better though.

Re CCC - It's like reading about another country, another world isn't it? Since bad stuff always comes around again (or so it seems), maybe so will the good stuff like FDR's progs. As you say, there's so much needed as regards infrastructure. Public transport is needed, burying overhead power lines is needed (dang ridiculous in areas prone to tornado to have power lines strung around all over the place - I couldn't believe it when I first arrived here.)

We're in Granbury, nice town square, some antique stores here and in a couple of nearby villages. Anyjazz has found many more vintage photos for his collection. :-)
It was very warm Friday, but back to shivers Sat. Slow drive home Sunday, stopping here and there if anything of interest.

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~ Hi! Thank you for your input - very interesting detail.

You are so right, an activist government (activist in the best way) is what we need most - we need somebody, several somebodies, to start turning things around, but it seems a vain hope as things are right now. Corporations have the reins held tightly, and SCOTUS on their side. :-/

R J Adams said...

Hi Twilight! As you know I've been somewhat sidetracked of late by my own internet 'terrorists', so I've just been catching up with you and others. I've avoided mentioning the ill-fated Flight MH370 on Sparrow Chat, mainly because I haven't a clue what could have occurred to cause...whatever occurred! Somehow, I can't go for the 'terrorists' theory. In these post 9/11 days it's always the first outpouring of the media when a plane goes missing, but my own thoughts tend to revolve around some catastrophic failure immobilizing passengers and crew, leaving the plane to fly on till it ran out of fuel. Just what that 'failure' might be, I haven't the faintest idea.
I'm not sure the ATC and radar in that area is quite as reliable as one might expect, leading to doubts in my mind about the present speculations of deliberate course change, and circuits switched off, rather than simply failing.
I noted the Guardian made much of one report that, on a previous flight, the co-pilot (and his senior officer at the time) entertained a couple of girls on their flight deck for the entire journey. While it makes him irresponsible, it's no reflection on his mental state. Indeed, if he was a randy sod he'd probably be keen to go on living.
As to the Civilian Conservation Corps, it was sadly back in the days when US presidents cared for their people and their country, rather than today when all that matters is the wealth and prestige associated with the office. I agree with you both: it won't happen again - at least, not in our lifetime.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ Hi - glad to see you out and around after your own bloggy problems. :-)

The MH370 story has had so many twists and turns, it's been hard to keep up. I started with the Occam's Razor idea- simplest is best - some electrical fault started a chain of events...etc. Then we were fed stuff which made that seem just a tad too simple, then the changed again, then debris, then not the right debris, then 45,000ft hike, then 12,000ft drop, then changes of direction programmed in, then not programmed in. I've almost come to the end of my attention span, but not quite. The thought of the two hundred 39 people still waiting for news of loved ones has to tug at the heart strings and remain until something definite is found.

Yes, the CCC was a marker of a different, and better, world in the USA. Good to kniow it did exist, sad to realise we, of a certain age, will almost certainly not see its like again.