Friday, September 24, 2010

We identify the pigeon, war relic

The pigeon we talked about last newsletter has apparently “flown the coop.” Of course, we don’t really have a coop, or he might not have flown away. Here is what Don Dencker had to say:

That beautiful Homing Pigeon is used for pigeon racing. The one in the picture is called a "Blue Bar." It brings back memories to me about when I was 15 to 18 years old and my hobby was raising and racing Homing Pigeons. I belonged to the Hennepin Racing Pigeon Club in Minneapolis. I had two birds that were 500 mile a day birds. They had flown 500 miles in one day back to my loft from being released at about 6:30 AM. When I went into the Army at age 18 I gave my two best birds to the Army Signal Corps and gave away or sold the rest, about 24 birds. My dad was a building contractor and he built me a pigeon coop. That building is now a tool shed on 24th Ave. So. in Minneapolis.

On the other hand, no one was able to correctly identify the relic we also talked about. It appeared to read “Masterplan,” but in fact the word is “Masterphone,” and of course, “719” was the extension. See the attached photo sent by one of our readers showing one of those old phones, from the days of switchboards and before rotary dials, and compare it to our photo. This is indeed an historically important find: a part of the phone used at the Fort Mills Command Post, undoubtedly by 59th CAC Commander Col. Paul Bunker himself.

Just for fun we have attached another photo. We won’t tell you its size, but as you can see, it is a semicircular red object. This should be much easier for you to identify. Can you tell what it is? Hint: It is seen at several locations on Corregidor, and is common in certain parts of the world.

People often ask us what we do to pass the time, especially on long, rainy days, here on Corregidor. We are both readers, and Marcia in particular can entertain herself all day long with a good book. When we moved here a couple of years ago, we were extremely limited as to the number of books that we could bring with us, so we mostly brought books about Corregidor and the war in the Pacific. When we go to Manila, we have a couple of favorite stores that sell used books. Once in a while one of the big chains will also have great deals, and occasionally there will even be a temporary kiosk set up in a mall that will have what we are looking for. Specifically, when we are looking for pure entertainment, we tend to read mysteries and courtroom thrillers. Marcia likes historical fiction, and we both enjoy Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and the Harry Potter books.

We find it amusing that even bestselling authors’ books will occasionally have quirky sentences. In some cases, what the author means to say may be obvious, but the choice of words or word order makes the apparent meaning somewhat hilarious. In others, there is confusion, which you will see, requiring a second look for understanding. Note that each of the quotes we present to you came from paperback, meaning that the ambiguities could have been corrected before the reprinting. We certainly could not be the first ones to spot, for instance, the ones from the Harry Potter series that we cite below. We hope you get a kick out of a few of our favorites. These are all books and authors we’ve enjoyed, so rest assured that we are complimenting them with this evidence of our thorough absorption while reading their books.

Steve Martini, The List, p. 163: “She wore the same gray wool business suit she had taken with her on her trip to New York and matching heels.” Is “matching heels” in New York, and if so, shouldn’t it be capitalized?

Robin Cook, Chromosome 6, p.369: “He was a heavyset, enormously friendly individual with bright eyes and flashing teeth who shook hands enthusiastically with everyone.” Who has eyes and teeth capable of shaking hands?

Patricia Cornwell, Body of Evidence, p. 85: “Out front, we got a cab piloted by a bearded Sikh in a maroon turban whose name was Munjar, according to the ID clamped to his visor.” Who names a turban, and why would it need an ID? Does anyone else fondly remember the Dick Van Dyke line (as multiple characters) from the movie Mary Poppins about “a wooden leg named Smith?”

Barbara Parker, Blood Relations, p. 271: “A mockingbird was hopping around near the old man’s bony feet. He wore frayed corduroy slippers.” Usually mockingbirds prefer to go barefoot.

James W. Huston, Balance of Power, p. 94: “Captain Clay Bonham stood behind the small man driving the boat with his hands tied behind him.” Quite a trick to drive a boat with your hands tied behind your back.

J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, p. 65: “Then it was time for a last mug of hot chocolate and bed.” Is a bed a special additive for hot chocolate in the wizarding world?

J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, p. 337: “Harry got up on Sunday morning and dressed so inattentively that it was a while before he realized he was trying to pull his hat onto his foot instead of his sock.” Why would anyone, even a great wizard such as Harry, want to pull his hat onto his sock?

Steve and Marcia on the Rock -- comment or read previous newsletters at

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