Explorations 9: Clapton’s Anthropomorphic Six Strings

…back when the Beano was boss
if you didn’t live it, it’s truly your loss
the soul intact, but the innocence lost
back when the Beano was boss.

Lyrics to Back When the Beano was Boss by Buddy Whittington

Buddy Whittington, on his 2011 Six String Svengali guitar celebration album, paid tribute, with the song Back When Beano was Boss,EMU JM and EC 1966 to the legendary blues rock sound generated by Eric Clapton playing on a 1960 sunburst Gibson Les Paul Standard, which was plugged into a 45-watt Marshall amp, and a Dallas Rangemaster, on the 1966 bluesy rock album: John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton. The John Mayall album

MU 1960 Les Paul.jpg

1960 Les Paul Standard “Beano”. Photo by musiczoo.com.

became known as the “Beano Album” due to Clapton reading a comic called The Beano on the album cover photo; an overt act of rebellion during the album photo shoot, or as Clapton states in his autobiography: being “uncooperative”.  As the album became known as the “Beano Album”, Clapton’s guitar, which was stolen in 1966 and never recovered, became known as the “Beano Burst”, continuing a tradition of musicians naming their instruments as one will name a pet or a lover.

Clapton made a habit of naming his guitars, as did many other guitarists, but because of his talent, his guitars went down into guitar lore as extremely expensive, and sought after, legends.  One of the most expensive guitars that he, or anyone, ever sold was Blackie; so named because of its black finish, a rebuilt guitar from the parts of 1956

MU Fool Guitar

1964 Gibson SG “The Fool”. Photo by John Peden

and 1957 Stratocasters and was Clapton’s favorite Fender Stratocaster; brought in almost one million dollars at a 2004 charity auction. Brownie, so named because of its brown sunburst body color, was a 1956 Stratocaster that he used mainly with Derek and the Dominos.  Clapton sold Brownie at a charity auction for almost one half million dollars in 1999. During Clapton’s time with Cream he mainly used a 1964 Gibson SG, known as The Fool; due to its psychedelic paint job done by the Dutch design collective also known as The Fool. This guitar passed through various hands, including Todd Rundgren and possibly George Harrison, eventually landing up in a private collector’s hands in the early 2000s.

On a closing note, Joe Bonamassa, no guitar slouch himself and a collector, stated in mid-2016 that he knew where “Beano” currently was, specifically on the east coast of the US.  The announcement was taken as an opening for the possible return of the guitar but no public notice has been posted since.


Explorations 8: Sporting Tigers

While delving into logos for a possible new business venture I landed up researching the big cats. In the process I stumbled on just how common they are used in the wide world of sports.   Parenthetically, The Wizard of Oz has a cat, but he was a coward so I guess that rules him out for a spot on a team.

Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man meet the Lion along the Yellow Brick Road: Lions, tigers, and bears! oh, – my.E Oz Lion

Do – do you suppose we’ll meet any wild animals?
Tin Man:
Mmmm – we might.
Oh –
Animals that – that eat straw?
Tin Man:
A – some – but mostly lions and tigers and bears.
And tigers!
Tin Man:
And bears!
Oh! Lions, and tigers and bears! Oh, – my –
Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man:
Lions and tigers and bears!

All sporting teams have a mascot.  In these days of PC, animals are a safe branding trademark or label. Birds and bees, cats and dogs, horses, goats and bears; all figure prominently in North American sports.

Big cuddly kitties occupy 5 of the top 10 mascot names in US sports (MascotDB.com). The list below show how the cats rank among the top 10 US team names along with a listing of  some of the better known pro-teams and colleges that use that particular family of Felidae.  Bears are a topic for another time.

  1. Eagles
  2. Tigers — 1391 TeamsE Tiger 1
    1. Cincinnati ‘Bengals’ (NFL)
    2. Detroit (MLB)
    3. Auburn University
    4. Clemson University
    5. Colorado College
    6. Grambling
    7. Louisiana State University
    8. Iowa
    9. Illinois
    10. Princeton
    11. Tennessee State University E Panther
    12. Texas Southern
    13. University of Memphis
    14. University of Missouri
  3. Bulldogs
  4. Panthers  —  1145 Teams
    1. Carolina (NFL)
    2. Florida (NHL)
    3. Georgia State University
    4. University of Pittsburg
  5. Wildcats —  1019 Teams
    1. University of Arizona
    2. University of Kentucky
    3. University of New Hampshire
    4. Villanova
  6. Warriors
  7. IndiansE Lion
  8. Lion  —  759 Teams
    1. Detroit (NFL)
    2. Loyola
    3. Pennsylvania State University
  9. Cougars  —  664 Teams
    1. Brigham Young University
    2. University of Houston
    3. Washington State
  10. Knights

Explorations 7: Excrescence — Pulchritude — Taqiya

Looking up the definitions of 3 words before 7 o’clock in the morning suggests that my education may be incomplete or my memory was erased.

Excrescence:  noun from the Latin excrescentia meaning to grow out

  1. An outgrowth or enlargement, especially an abnormal one, such as a wart.
  2. A disfiguring, extraneous, or unwanted mark or part
  3. A normal outgrowth on the body such as finger nails and hair
  4. A usually unwanted or unnecessary accretion: a bulge on a building

Mushrooms are excrescence of an underground fungus network.

Pulchritude:  noun from the Latin pulchritudo meaning beauty

  1. physical comeliness, beauty, loveliness

Her pulchritude required effort not to stare.

Taqiya:  noun from Arabic meaning prudence or fear

  1. The Islamic practice to be ungrateful to, and or cheat non-Muslims
  2. Islamic religious dissimulation, concealment, while under threat or persecution
  3. Islamic legal exemption to lie when there is an extreme danger to lose ones life or property

Taqiya allowed her to drink wine with her non-Muslim neighbors.

Explorations 6: British Royal Navy in Boston – January 1775

An accounting of the British Royal Navy in America on 1 January 1775, modified from Admiral Samuel Graves’,  “List of North American Squadron, on the 1st of January 1775”. Admiral Graves assumed command of Royal Navy in North America in July of 1774, later succeeded by Admiral Richard Howe, brother of General William Howe, in January 1776.  Graves was given the unenviable task of patrolling and controlling 1000 miles of American coast with less than 30 ships stationed from Canada to the Caribbean.

The list and the discussion below only involves the ships assigned to Boston. The largest British warships along the North American east coast were all assigned to Boston. The warships, ships of the line with 3 masts, were rated by the number of mounted guns on

E HMS Asia

Enter aHMS Asia cropped from a watercolor by George Gustavus Lennox 1797 caption

the decks; a 1st ship of the line contained more guns than a 4th ship of the line. Third ships of the line were considered the optimum compromise between guns and maneuverability. Post ships were essentially frigates, warships with 3 masts, built for speed and maneuverability at the expense of firepower, and used mainly as escorts and for patrolling. A schooner is a ship with 2 masts known for its speed, agility and ability for sailing in shallow coastal waters and rivers.


  1. HMS Boyne:  A 3rd ship of the line, serving in the navy from 1766-1783. It carried  70 guns: 28 x 32 pounders, 28 x 18 pounders, and 14 x 9 pounders. It carried a full crew of 520 officers and sailors.  The ship was broken up in 1783.
  2. HMS Somerset:  A 3rd ship of the line, serving in the navy from 1748-1778. It carried 70 guns: 26 x 32 pounders, 28 x 18 pounders, and 16 x 9 pounders. It carried a full crew of 520 officers and sailors. She ran aground at Cape Cod, Massachusetts, during a storm, and was wrecked. The ship served in several battles during the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. Paul Revere had to avoid the Somerset while crossing Boston’s Back Bay on his ride to alert Lexington and Concord that the British were coming. The Somerset also provided cannon cover for the retreating British troops, returning to Boston from the battles of Lexington and Concord. The Somerset serving, at the time, as Admiral Graves’ flagship, fired its guns at the rebels fortifications on Breed’s Hill, now known as the Battle of Bunker Hill.
  3. HMS Asia:  A 3rd ship of the line, serving in the navy from 1764-1802. It carried 64 guns: 26 x 24 pounders, 26 x 18 pounders, 10 x 4 pounders and 2 x 9 pounders. It carried a full crew of 480 officers and sailors. The ship was broken up in 1804. A star-crossed ship that initially entered the Revolutionary War by delivering 500 British marines to New York in 1774. She endured a rebel inflicted burning, although, not catastrophic, in 1776, and another fire, this time self-inflicted while in Jamaica in 1796; the fire was extinguished and the ship was saved.  The Asia participated in the capture of Martinique of 1794, but in action a few days later was unable to carry it out its orders of firing on a Martinique fort, because the ships pilot refused to navigate in shallow waters.
  4. HMS Preston:  A 4th ship of the line, serving in the navy from 1757-1815. It carried 50 guns: 22 x 24 pounders, 22 x 12 pounders, 6 x 6 pounders. It carried a full crew of 300 officers and sailors. It was broken up in 1815. She fought an indecisive battle with a larger French warship in 1778 during the Revolutionary War. The Preston was disabled in the British-Dutch Battle of Dogger Bank in 1781.
  5. HMS Glasgow:  A 6th post ship, serving in the navy from 1757-1779. It carried 20  x 9 pounder guns. It carried 130 officers and sailors in January 1775, but was rated to carry 160.  The ship burned in Montego Bay, Jamaica in 1779. She engaged 6 Continental Navy ships, on their maiden voyage, in 1776 and managed to escape unscathed.
  6. HMS Mercury:  A 6th post ship, serving in the navy from 1756-1777. It carried 20 guns, likely 9 pounders. It carried 130 officers and sailors in January 1775, but was rated to carry 160.
  7. HMS Diana:  A schooner serving in the navy from 1775-1775. It carried 4 or 6 x 6 pounders. It carried a crew of 30 officers and sailors.  It has the distinction of being the first British ship captured and destroyed by the rebels in the Revolutionary War, in the mud flats of Boston Harbor. She was commanded by Admiral Samuel Graves nephew, Lieutenant Thomas Graves. Thomas Graves eventually rose to the rank of admiral, and served as second in command under Horatio Nelson during the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801.

Explorations: 5

Pluto, a dwarf planet; Triton, a moon of Neptune; and Phoebe, a moon of Saturn; all exhibit unusual characteristics, such as distinct elemental composition and retrograde orbits; as compared to other, similar objects in planetary portion of our solar system. This suggests their genesis is not identical with the origin of the eight planets orbiting the sun.

Through the use of mass spectroscopy, astronomers and physicists are able to discern the elemental building blocks of the various structures in the vastness of space. The universe and the Milky Way are composed, mainly of hydrogen and helium, adding up to about 98% of its total visible mass and energy; followed in relative abundance, by mass, at least in the Milky Way, by oxygen, carbon, neon, iron, nitrogen, silicon, magnesium, and sulfur. Smaller structures have slightly different compositions from the universe as a whole, as shown in the table below.

E Elements

Relative elemental abundance, from top to bottom, greatest mass to least, respectively, of structures populating the universe.

Hydrogen and helium were produced early in the formation of the universe at the time of the Big Bang.  The other elements, listed above, are generally created from nuclear fusion within stars with a mass at least 1.3 times more than our sun, up to the mass of iron, likely billions of years after the Big Bang. Elements greater than the mass of iron require a supernova for creation. Distribution of elements in the various structures of the universe provide clues to how these structures were formed and where.  Objects with different elemental compositions versus its neighbors suggests they were assembled in a different area of the cosmos.

Objects with retrograde orbits, as compared to their orbit around its primary object can not form in the same area as objects with prograde orbits.  Retrograde orbits imply that the object was captured, gravitationally, by an object of greater mass.

E Pluto

Pluto – NASA photo by Dr. Alex Parker

Pluto, once considered the outermost and ninth planet from the sun was  humiliatingly, and controversially, reassigned to the an inferior status of dwarf planet in 1992, and is now considered part of the inner disc of the Kuiper Belt.  Its orbit is more inclined and elliptical than that of the other planets. Pluto’s surface is composed of approximately 98% frozen nitrogen along with a weak atmosphere composed of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. It has a density greater than all the outer gas giants but less than the inner rocky planets. The planet is spewing nitrogen into space at prodigious rates, but doesn’t seem to run out of that gas, suggesting that its core is solid nitrogen, a chemical makeup that is at odds with the other planets.

E Triton

Triton – NASA/JPL photo

Triton, a retrograde orbiting moon of Neptune, the largest retrograde orbiting object in the solar system, also has a surface composed mainly of nitrogen with the added tourist attraction of year-long eruption of nitrogen geysers from its surface, creating a predominately nitrogen atmosphere. It is believed that Triton’s entire composition is similar to that of Pluto’s but slightly more dense, hinting at a larger rocky core.

Phoebe, a small, retrograde orbiting moon in Saturn’s outer rings, has a density slightly less than Pluto’s. Its surface is composed of frozen carbon dioxide and water but also contains iron, silicates and nitrates, the second most compositionally diverse body in the solar system with the Earth being the most varied.

E Phoebe.png

Phoebe – NASA/Cassini photo

The nitrogen surface and atmosphere of Pluto and Triton suggests that they are not associated with the eight known planets of the solar system. Triton and Phoebe’s retrograde orbit probabilistically confirm that they formed beyond the area of the primaries they orbit. Pluto’s inclined and excessively elliptical orbit, relative to the planets, also implies a different provenance. The simplest, and thus the most likely explanation, Occam’s Razor, of the origin of Pluto, Triton and Phoebe is that they formed within the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune and are remnants retaining the original celestial mix of matter contained within the dense, cold, interstellar cloud that formed our solar system billions of years ago. The three objects were likely gravitationally nudged by the orbit of Neptune into their current positions. Phoebe’s complex composition also implies that not only did it come from the Kuiper Belt but it may also have collided with other planetary objects on its path to capture by Saturn.

Explorations: 4

E Plato Aristotle.jpg

Plato and Aristotle cropped from Raphael’s School of Athens

Aristotle, the father of western philosophy, strongly influenced the U.S. founding fathers’ beliefs in individuality and man’s purpose, illustrated by Thomas Jefferson’s first sentence of the preamble to the U.S. Declaration of Independence; We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. 

The pursuit of happiness was Aristotle’s belief of man’s purpose, his end, his goal, his telos; the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of fulfillment, the pursuit of excellence, or using Aristotle’s term, the pursuit of virtue: man’s purpose, man’s telos.

Darwin’s theory of evolution assumes that all organisms reach their present state through natural selection, random processes, accidental design, anti-telos. Organisms evolving with a purpose implies intelligent design, which entails religion, not science, except that it can be argued that the intent of an organism’s evolution is to enhance its ability to survive, which is a purpose, an end, a goal: telos.

Explorations: 3

The U.S. currently deploys 3 strategic bombers: the B-52 Stratofortress, the B-1B Lancer, and the B-2 Spirit. A new bomber is currently in development, the B-21 Raider.

E B-52H

B-52H Stratofortress –  U.S. Air Force photo

The Boeing B-52 first flew in 1952, and became an active component of the U.S. Air Force in 1955. Eight variants of the bomber where built from 1954 to 1963, B-52A through B-52H, producing a total of 742 aircraft of which 58 are still active with 18 in reserve, and are assigned to either the Barksdale or Minot AFBs in Louisiana and North Dakota respectively.  The 8 jet engine, sub-sonic plane, flight capable from 300 to 50,000 feet, able to deploy nuclear or conventional weapons, flew combat missions in Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, Afghanistan, freedom of navigation flights over the South China Sea, and force exercises over the South Korean peninsula.  The plane is projected to be retired in 2040, almost 80 years after the last bomber was manufactured.


B-1B Lancer – U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III

The Rockwell, now Boeing, B-1B first flew in 1974, and became operational in 1986, with 100 planes produced between 1983 and 1988, of which 62 are still in active service, are deployed mainly at Dyess AFB, Texas and Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota. The 4 engine supra-sonic jet, flight capable of operating from low levels up to 40,000 feet, was originally designed to deploy nuclear and conventional weapons, but since 1994 has carried only conventional weapons. The bomber has flown combat missions in the Gulf Wars, Kosovo, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, and force exercises over the South Korean peninsula. The bomber is projected to serve into the 2030s, reaching their end of service life around 2045.

Over the Pacific

B-2 Spirit – U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III

The Northrop Grumman B-2, made its maiden flight in 1989, and was placed in service in 1997, with only 21 manufactured due to its high per plane cost, and 20 are currently in active service, deployed at Whitman AFB, Missouri and Edwards AFB, California. The 4 engine sub-sonic jet, flight capable from low altitudes to 50,000 feet, is a strategic stealth bomber, able to deploy nuclear and conventional weapons.  The bomber flew combat missions in Kosovo, the Gulf Wars, Afghanistan, Libya, and force exercises over the South Korean peninsula.

E B-21.jpg

B-21 Raider – U.S. Air Force graphic

Northrop Grumman was awarded a development contract for a new long-range, strategic stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, in 2015. The USAF’s current plans call for the acquisition of 100 to 200 bombers, with a highly dubious operational service date of 2025; replacing and retiring all current B-52s, possibly all B-1Bs, and complimenting the existing fleet of B-2s. Program details are very limited but it currently is envisioned as a more stealthier B-2, with conventional and nuclear capabilities.


Explorations: 2

E Lexington

Lexington (CV-2) burning and listing during the Battle of the Coral Sea. Commissioned 1927, scuttled 8 May 1942. Carried 2971 crew and 78 aircraft.


The Battle of the Coral Sea, Pacific Theater, WWII 4-8 May 1942. This was the first major naval battle between Allied forces and the Imperial Japanese Navy, involving aircraft carriers. The battle was also a first where the two navy’s ships never saw or fired on one another directly.  The battle was carried out almost exclusively by aircraft fighters and bombers launched from the carriers.

The allies entered the battle with 2 fleet carriers, 9 cruisers, 13 destroyers, 128 aircraft, and various support ships, while the Japanese had 2 fleet carriers, 1 light carrier, 9 cruisers, 15 destroyers, 127 aircraft along with various support ships. Ship losses were, greater, by tonnage, on the allied side which included the Lexington aircraft carrier, 1 destroyer, and several smaller ships totaling 42,497 tons.  The Imperial Navy lost 1 light carrier, 1 destroyer and several smaller ships equal to 19,000 tons.  The Allies lost 543 men while the Japanese lost 1029.

The Battle of the Coral Sea was to have profound and positive consequences for the Allies in one month, at Battle of Midway; by keeping 2 of the Imperial Navy’s carriers out of action in this upcoming naval battle.

Additional information for the Battle of the Coral Sea:

  1. Battle of the Coral Sea, by Charles River Editors, CreateSpace Publishing, © 2016.
  2. The Coral Sea 1942, by Mark Stille and John White, Osprey Publishing, © 2009.
  3. The Battle of the Coral Sea, by Office of Naval Intelligence, CreateSpace Publishing, © 2009.

Explorations: Quetzals

E Quetzal.jpgE Male Resplendent Quetzal.jpgQuetzals are large colorful birds with iridescent feathers, usually found in the humid highlands from northern South America and southern North America. There are 6 species in 2 genera within the family Trogonidae. They eat fruits, berries, insects and an occasional frog or lizard. The picture to the left is of a golden headed quetzal.

The resplendent quetzal, picture of a male to the right, is the national bird of Guatemala and the Guatemalan currency is also named the quetzal. It is considered one of the most beautiful birds in the western hemisphere. During mating season it will grow a twin tail feather train up to 3 feet in length.

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