Friday, December 30, 2005

This Day in History: December 30, 1963

Congress authorizes Kennedy half dollar

On December 30, 1963 Congress authorized the Kennedy silver half-dollar. American took Kennedy’s death pretty hard for the most part, and started doing things like renaming civic structures, roadways and even geographical features in honor of Kennedy. One of these memorials included the United States Kennedy half dollar, which has had a much longer track record than most other Kennedy memorials.

The inception of the Kennedy half dollar began with the consideration by the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint, and the Director of the Mint, who talked about placing Kennedy’s portrait on a new design for a U.S. silver coin, either that of the quarter dollar, half dollar or the one dollar.

A day or so later, Mrs. Kennedy decided that she did not want to replace Washington’s portrait on the quarter dollar, so they put his face on a half dollar instead. They used his profile portrait that appeared on the Mint list medal for President Kennedy and the President’s Seal on the reverse.

There was a problem in the making of the coin though, because under existing law, U. S. coin designs could not be changed more often than every 25 years; the Franklin half was then only 15 years old, and its replacement would quite literally require an act of Congress. Partisan disputes were largely set aside in recognition of the nation’s and the world’s loss, and Congress managed to pass legislation permitting a change in the half dollar’s design with only a few weeks’ debate.

The Act of December 30, 1963 made the Kennedy half dollar become a reality. Using his existing models for JFK’s presidential medal as a guide, Gilroy Roberts, the Chief Engraver, completed his initial rendering of the half dollar within days of its commissioning. Gasparro, a designer, too, worked hard and many trial strikes of the Kennedy half were run off and dispatched to Mint Director Adams on December 13. A few days later, the President’s widow, Jacqueline, and brother, U. S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, viewed these. Incorporating some of Mrs. Kennedy’s comments into his revised models, Roberts had additional trial strikes coined. These were viewed and approved by Treasury Secretary Douglas Dillon, who agreed that Mrs. Kennedy’s wishes had been met.

The first Kennedy half dollars made for distribution were proofs coined early in 1964. By January 30, regular-issue coinage began at the Denver Mint, and the Philadelphia Mint followed suit the week after. These coins were released to the public amid much fanfare and anticipation on March 24, 1964. Despite limiting the number of coins they would sell to each individual, banks were quickly denuded of their supplies; few of the coins ever achieved actual circulation.

From its very inception, the Kennedy half dollar became a keepsake, one cherished not only by Americans but by the late President’s many foreign admirers, as well.

The number of Kennedy half dollars produced during 1964 was enormous in comparison to previous half dollar mintages. Despite this, the coins continued to disappear as fast as they were issued. With the nationwide shortage of all coins showing no let-up, Congress enacted a law which permitted freezing the 1964 date on U. S. coins until such time as the crisis passed. Collectors and speculators did this in an effort to discourage hoarding, but the real problem lay in methods of distribution and recirculation, rather than being caused by the insignificant actions of hobbyists.

From 1971 onward, the Kennedy half dollar would bear the red edge which had already become familiar to Americans who bemoaned the passing of silver from the nation’s coinage. Alas, even this concession was not enough to make half dollars reappear in circulation, and today they are known only to coin collectors and gambling casino patrons.


My car is in the shop today. It always makes me nervous, since I am a girl, and many a times mechanics have cheated me out of lots of money, money I do not have. I think it will be okay though, the guy just called in with an estimate and its right under my limit, of course. Never cheaper than $300 every time you go to the mechanics, I guess.

Anyway, in better news, it’s Friday and New Years Eve is coming up, tomorrow. I have a friend coming down, and we will be hanging out with some people. It should be fun, although we don’t have any real plans yet. Again, if anyone has any ideas on what to do, please let me know. I don’t want to drive far though, because 1) It’s New Years Eve night with a million and one drunks and 2) It is supposed to be raining that night, and that makes San Diego drivers worse than if they were drunk. They seriously have no idea how to drive in the rain… it’s pretty ridiculous.

Related Products

We have a set of five Kennedy half dollars. They are the silver clad kind, and are highly collectible, as noted in the information above. These ones were produced from 1966 until 1970. This set comes in a leather pouch with a certificate of authenticity.

We also have this unique 1964 JFK silver dollar pocket watch. JFK's immortal image graces this handsome timepiece. The intricately embossed, chrome watchcase is set with a 90% silver 1964 JFK half dollar. It is powered by a precision quartz movement with sweep-second hand. Fob chain included along with a certificate of authenticity and a one-year warranty.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

This Day in History: December 29, 1965

Thunderball is Released in the U.S.

On December 29, 1965 Thunderball, featuring Sean Connery as James Bond was released in the U.S. It was the fourth official Bond movie in the EON Productions series. Thunderball was originally supposed to be the first James Bond film in 1962, but was changed because of a lawsuit brought on by the producer Kevein McClory.

Thunderball started out as the ninth novel in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series and was created with the intentions of being turned into a film. The novel was published in 1961, and is technically the first novelisation of a James Bond screenplay. Thunderball was also adapted into a daily comic strip in 1961.

Although Thunderball is the fourth official James Bond film, it was the first time Sean Connery performed the gun barrel intro sequence, traditionally present at the beginning of all Bond films. Previously, stuntman Bob Simmons performed the scene.

When Thunderball was released, it became the most financially successful Bond film to date and the most successful of Sean Connery's official Bond films, taking in $141.2 million worldwide. More than one in every four Americans paid to go and see the movie. The film became the highest-grossing hit of 1966 all over the world." Additionally, to date, Thunderball is the only James Bond film to rank #1 on the American box office chart. With inflation taken into account, Thunderball is also the most financially successful Bond film ever. In 1966, it became the second James Bond film to be nominated and win an Academy Award. John Stears won for Best Visual Effects.

Trivia about Thunderball

The only Bond film in which Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman are not credited as producers.

This is the first James Bond film to be shot in a wide screen process, Panavision.

The budget for this Bond film was more than the combined budgets of the first three Bond films.

In the scene where Bond and Domino meet underwater and disappear behind a rock, the scene was originally supposed to show Domino's bikini float out from behind the rock. Producer Albert R. Broccoli vetoed this because he felt it was too suggestive.

The special effects explosion of the Disco Volante was so powerful it blew out windows miles away.

When Bond says goodbye to Patricia Fearing with the phrase "another time, another place," he is making an in-joke reference to another Sean Connery film, Another Time, Another Place (1958).

tuntman Bill Cumming was paid a $450 bonus to jump into Largo's shark infested pool.

The Shrublands resort was actually a converted hotel near Pinewood Studios.
First 007 film in which Bond doesn't smoke. Interestingly though, a large papier-mache Marlboro box can be spotted on the right side of the screen during a festival.

According to "Bond-Gadget-Designer" Ken Adam, the jet pack that Bond uses to escape his enemies was no nice special effect but a real jet pack provided by the US Air Force. Initially Sean Connery was to fly the jet pack without a helmet (and some publicity photos of him with the jet pack were made with him without a helmet), but it was later decided he wear a helmet in the scene.

In the underwater scenes where Bond encounters sharks, Sean Connery was supposed to be protected by clear plastic panels shielding him from sharks in close-ups. However, the panels only extended about three feet in height and sharks could swim over them; as a result in some scenes (notably during the pool fight at Largo's mansion) Connery got much closer to real sharks than he wanted - director Terence Young said in a 1995 interview that scenes used in the film where Bond reacts in fright at the approach of a shark were miscues in which Connery was reacting with genuine terror as a shark approached unobstructed by plastic shielding.

I love trivia about movies. The trivia I liked most from Thunderball was the one about Sean Connery actually having to encounter sharks. I would be scared to death. That is crazy!

Do any of you have any interesting trivia that you know about James Bond movies? Which James Bond actor was your favorite? If you tell me yours, I will tell you mine.

Surprisingly, this week has gone by slow, even with Monday off. I am not really sure why though. Maybe it’s because of my massive allergy attacks in the morning this past week. I don’t know.

Tomorrow I have to take my car in to get fixed. I am not too excited about it. I hope it gets done by the end of the day tomorrow, and won’t be too ridiculously expensive. But when is going to the mechanic ever NOT ridiculously expensive? Never, at least for me.

Make my day, leave me a comment.

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Check out this James Bond Thunderball framed photo. This is a hard to find print that is matted and custom framed under glass.

Here we have a James Bond Goldfinger film cell collectible. This is a limited edition, there were only 100 pieces made. Each of these features an original 35mm filmstrip from Goldfinger and is complete with movie clapperboard. This is also custom framed and under glass.

The last to be mentioned today is our James Bond For Your Eyes Only film collectible . This also features an original 35mm filmstrip, although from For Your Eyes Only, the 1981 film starring Roger Moore. It also complete with movie clapperboard and is custom framed under glass.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

This Day in History: December 28, 1856

Thomas Woodrow Wilson is born
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born on December 28, 1856 in Staunton, Virginia. He became the 45th state Governor of New Jersey in 1911-1913 and later the 28th President of the United States from 1913-1921. Wilson was the second Democrat to serve two consecutive terms in the White House.

Wilson won his first election as a Democrat in 1912 on a campaign called “The New Freedom” which emphasized individualism and states’ rights. Wilson and his administration saw the passage of several major acts of legislation, such as the Federal Reserve Act and the creation of the Federal Trade Commission, which was designed to regulate business practices.

When war broke out in Europe during the summer of 1914, Wilson’s wife of thirty years, Ellen, died from liver cancer. In order to get through her death, he dedicated himself to his work, including winning his re-election in 1916, based on that fact that he kept the U.S. out of the war. Although he boasted on keeping the U.S. out of war, he decided in 1917 that the U.S. could not remain neutral anymore in the face of German aggression on the high seas. In April 1917 Wilson asked Congress for a Declaration of War.

Wilson played a crucial role in determining the terms of peace. He came up with his famous “Fourteen Points” plan, that introduced the idea of an international covenant aimed at resolving conflict. After Germany surrendered, Wilson struggled to convince his counterparts in Britain and France that German must not be punished too severely if they wanted peace to last.

Wilson had to face even more resistance in the U.S. The Versailles Treaty in Late 1919 was defeated in Congress. Although the Versailles Treaty was not ratified, the U.S. negotiated a different treaty, the Treaty of Berlin with German that was signed on August 25, 1921. Although Wilson did not get the Versailles Treaty to go through Congress, he was still awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the work he had done to achieve peace.

Wilson believed that as the U.S. president, the president was the world’s leader in shaping international relations. This view had continued to inspire U.S. foreign policy, even today.

Wilson ended up leaving the White House in 1921, after he suffered a physical breakdown, and a stroke that left him paralyzed. His second wife, Edith, nursed him until his death on February 3, 1924.

The weather is making my allergies strange. My eyes keep watering, as if I am crying. I took some allergy medicine about 2 hours ago, so you would think it would already be working, but apparently now. Hopefully it will get better soon.

In other news, does anyone have any fun ideas for New Years Eve? There are always bars to go to, I suppose, but I want something different, yet fun. Leave me a comment with ideas, if you have any.
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Do you think its possible that Wilson wore a Presidential robe like this? This robe is embroidered with the Presidential seal and Mr. President. Each contains 69,000 loops of thick and thirsty, 100% Turkish cotton (60% heavier than ordinary robes). Roomy raglan sleeves, wide belt and doubled collar. 52" long (one size fits nearly everyone).

We also have this United States Great Seal dinnerware five-piece set. This patriotic set would be a precious gift or a fine addition to your table or display cabinet.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

This Day in History: December 27, 1943

FDR Helps Avert Rail Strike

During the 1943 holiday season, a threat of a railroad strike loomed over the United States. President Franklin Roosevelt stepped in order to negotiate an agreement, asking the rail unions to give America a “Christmas present” and settle their wage dispute. The problem, however, was that only two of the five railroad brotherhoods agreed to allow Roosevelt to arbitrate the situation. Within three days of the scheduled walkout, Roosevelt decided to seize the railroads, although, so not to look too aggressive, Roosevelt said the railroads would only be temporarily placed under the supervision of the War Department. He also pledged that the situation would not change any daily rail operations. This ended up working, and officials for the recalcitrant brotherhoods decided to make an eleventh-hour decision to avert the strike.

This story sounds somewhat familiar for Christmas time…except with subways in New York rather than railroads. Interesting the time they both chose to do this. I guess it makes sense though if you think about it, because it’s the time when the most people travel and the most people will get upset if their traveling plans get interrupted, etc.

Well today sure was hard to get up for, especially since today was the day I decided to go back to the gym after finals and Christmas. Everyone here seems a bit drained too, although in good spirits.

I should get going now; I have a lot to do today.

Related Products

Here we have a Railway man’s pocket watch. This is our best-selling 18-jewel pocket watch featuring the famous "winged wheel" logo and 24 hour markings on dial. The back shows a massive Russian 4-8-2 steam locomotive, with 14 wheels (four unpowered in front, eight in center to drive train and two in rear on single axle) in high relief. It comes with a 14" chain and Russian/English factory docs. Serial-numbered. 90-day warranty.

Next we have this classic train whistle . This train whistle has three nickel-plated brass pipes that create a vintage locomotive whistle tone. Crafted in England by the legendary Acme Whistle Company (since 1883).

Lastly we have this cast-iron railroad lock. This cast-iron railroad lock recalls those that once secured railway cars from bandits, hobos and other unsavory types. Fully functioning, it's ideal for safeguarding your shed, barn or any entry that needs more style than any common lock can deliver. Embossed copper railway medallion. Complete with pair of oversized, iron skeleton keys. 7" tall. Weighing in at nearly 5 lbs.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Siegler & Co Wishes you a Happy Holiday

Today did not work out as expected. The internet was down at my parent's house all weekend. I almost went crazy not being able to check my email for four days straight. I didn't get to leave my parent's house until late because i had to wait for the fog to clear up. It was so bad I could barely see in front of me for awhile.

Anyway, I figured it was too late to do a real blog today, so I will try to do something special this week to make up for it.

I hope you all had a good holiday!!

Friday, December 23, 2005

This Day in History: December 23, 1823

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The poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" was first published by Clement Clarke Moore.

The poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas", more commonly known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas” was first published by Clement Clarke Moore on December 23, 1823, although it appeared in the Troy, New York Sentinel anonymously. After its first print, it became frequently reprinted, although without Moore’s name attached. It wasn’t until 1836 when the poem was first credited to Moore. His authorship had been questioned; people thought that this poem might be by Henry Livingston Jr. who was also in the business of writing light versed poems.

For reminiscing, and also to honor of Moore, here is the famous poem:

by Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.

This poem reminds me of reading this really picturesque book with this poem in it to my little brother when he was young. It’s a really cute poem, and its amazing that it has survived all of these years.

On another note, I am leaving in 2 hours to head up to my parent’s house for Christmas celebrations. Normally its 30 degrees up there, but for some reason this year it will be in the 70s. It barely reaches the 70s there in the summer. This will be nice.

I hope the drive won’t be too bad, but I am not expecting anything amazing. Well I should be going now. Have a good day, and a good holiday!

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Here we have a Santa egg pendant. Cast in sterling silver and gilt with 22-karat gold. Hand-enameled by master jewelers. Perfect as a pendant or charm. Presented in a velvet gift box (chain not included) with a story card. Made entirely by hand, so no two exactly the same.

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Here we have a snow flake egg pendant. This is also cast in sterling silver and gilt with 22-karat gold. Hand-enameled by master jewelers. Perfect as a pendant or charm. Presented in a velvet gift box (chain not included) with a story card. Made entirely by hand, so no two exactly the same.

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And last but not least we have this snow man egg pendant. This is also cast in sterling silver and gilt with 22-karat gold. Hand-enameled by master jewelers. Perfect as a pendant or charm. Presented in a velvet gift box (chain not included) with a story card. Made entirely by hand, so no two exactly the same.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

This Day in History: December 22, 1775

The Continental Navy was organized in the American colonies under the command of Ezek Hopkins.

On December 22, 1775 the Continental Navy was organized in the American colonies under the Commander-in-Chief Ezek Hopkins. Also, the officers of the Navy were commissioned. Hopkins led this small fleet into its first major Naval action of the Continental Navy, in early March, 1776, against Nassau, Bahamas, where stores of much-needed gunpowder were seized for the use of the Continental Army.

The Continental Congress had a very limited role in mind for the navy though. It was not expected to contest British control of the seas, but instead it was to wage a traditional guerre de course against British trade, in conjunction with the scores of privateers outfitting in American ports. The Continental navy's ships were ordered to raid commerce and attack the transports that supplied British forces in North America. To carry out this mission, the Continental Congress began to build up, through purchase, conversion, and new construction, a cruiser navy of small ships--frigates, brigs, sloops, and schooners. For the most part, Continental navy ships cruised independently or in pairs in search of their prey, avoiding whenever possible fights with Royal Navy men-of-war.

The record of the Continental navy was mixed during the revolutionary war. Its cruisers ranged far and wide and demonstrated that British commerce was nowhere safe, not even in British home waters. Few of the navy's larger ships were ever put to sea, however, mostly because the frigates Congress authorized to be built were either destroyed by British forces or burned by the Americans to prevent capture.

Today is the last day of working in the office until next Tuesday, but don’t worry (hah), I will keep up with the blogs on the weekdays.

I just discovered at my mom’s it will be in the 70s for Christmas. I am soo excited. Normally it is freezing and quite frequently snowing. I am now even more excited for Christmas.

We are going to a holiday lunch today with all the co-workers. It should be fun.

Oh yeah, last night I went out with some friends and ordered some drink called the KGB, in honor of my readers who are very fond of the KGB.

Related Products

Here is a really neat Navy blanket. It has the Navy seal on it, and it is crafted with 100% cotton and has a fringed edging. There are also similar blankets like these, such as an Army, Air Force and Marines blanket.

Next we have this USS Yorktown model. On April 15, 1943, the USS Yorktown CV-10 was commissioned at the shipyards in Newport News, VA. Dubbed The Fighting Lady, she and her aircraft sank 199 ships, including the largest battleship ever built, the Yamato. She saw service in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Before she was decommissioned in 1970, she participated in the recovery of the first astronauts to orbit the moon. Crafted entirely by hand in mahogany. Incredible detail (each takes about 1,000 man-hours to complete). Complete with over three dozen hand-painted scale aircraft. Mounted on handsome mahogany stand atop brass posts.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

This Day in History: December 21, 1972

Soviet Union signs a separate peace with East Germany

On December 21, 1972 the Soviet Union signed a separate peace with East Germany. Their major objective during the 1970s was to gain official recognition of the post-World War II settlement in Europe, and this landmark treaty with West German that was signed in 1970 (ratified in 1972) confirmed the existing boundaries in Europe, notably the eastern border of East Germany. This treaty also renounced the use of force to settle disputes, which was also remarkable.

This one is short, and a little late, but it is all I could find. I was able to come in late today, because I had to drop the boyfriend off at the airport. I was also able to go to the San Diego Presidio too. It was BEAUTIFUL. I had wanted to go there since I have lived in San Diego (since August 2002) and today I finally made it. Woo hoo!

Also, the weather is AMAZING today. It was soo warm outside I couldn’t even wear a thin sweater. I LOVE it. This is my favorite Christmas weather!!

I took my last “real” final last night, but tonight I have another one, that is basically just writing a paragraph and turning in some papers. It feels nice to be pretty much done. I will be in a much better, less stressed mood come 8pm this evening.

I hope you have a good one!!

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Here we have a Soviet naval officer's mouton ushanka. These genuine ushankas are made from mouton (the softest, warmest and highest quality lamb's wool) and are identical to those worn by Soviet submarine Captain Marco Ramius (Sean Connery) and his senior officers in The Hunt for Red October. This is brand new, and straight from the factory in Vilnius, Lithuania (Ramius's hometown), which supplied fine furs to high-ranking Soviet officers and Politburo members for 70+ years. It comes with quilted lining and pull down ear flaps that you can also tie on top. It also comes with a rare Soviet naval officer's insignia.

Next we have this Soviet pilot two-button stopwatch. These mechanical stopwatches are like those that kept time for the military and record-setting Soviet athletes. It comes with a two-button mechanical stopwatch and features precision mechanical movement with 16 genuine ruby jewels and central 60-minute register. It includes polished, chrome steel case. This is handy for photography, science projects, flying, races and wherever exact times are essential.

And our last product of the day is our Soviet bank note set . If you're a coin/bank note collector or history buff, don't miss out on these bank notes, the last issued before the USSR's collapse! Each four-bank note set contains 1, 5, 10 and 25-ruble notes, each suitable for framing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

This Day in History: December 20, 1922

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The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed when 15 eastern European republics merged to form the USSR.

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was a state in much of the northern region of Eurasia that existed from 1922 until its dissolution in 1991. The Soviet Union was established on December, 20 1922 as the union of the Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Transcaucasian Soviet republics ruled by Bolshevik parties when 15 eastern European republics merged to form the USSR.

Moscow proclaimed the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, composed of Russia, Belorussia (now Belarus), Ukraine, and the Transcaucasian Federation in December of 1922. The first U.S.S.R. constitution was formally adopted in January 1924. This Treaty, the Creation of the USSR is a document that legalized the creation of a union of several Soviet republics in the form of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

It was signed on December 29, 1922 at a conference of the representatives elected at the Congresses of Soviets of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), the Transcaucasian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic (TSFSR), and the Byelorussian and Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republics (SSR).

The conference also issued the Declaration of the Creation of the USSR, which may be considered a political preamble to the Treaty.The Treaty was then confirmed on December 30, 1922 by the 1st Congress of Soviets of the USSR. Successive republics were formed by separate amendments to the treaty.

I will continue to write more about the USSR and its affects on the world later, but for now I have to cut it short due to a final I have to study for.

The one last night, a killer, is finally over. I only have two more left. I can’t wait until they are over!
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Here we have Soviet-era Olympic pins. We've uncovered a small cache of enameled collectible pins from the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. These comes in a set of 20.

Next we have these Soviet Coins. These include 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 50 kopecks and 1 ruble coins, the last issued before the USSR's collapse! Infamous hammer and sickle insignia on each. Includes certificate of authenticity.

Lastly, we have KGB Badge. These intricately enameled, brass badges are like those awarded to members of the KGB. "Honorable worker of the KGB, USSR," in Cyrillic on each. Emblazoned with KGB's sword and shield crest and with hammer and sickle crest of USSR superimposed on a star. Screw-back. Red Guard badges are like those awarded to elite border guards. Brass with detailed enameling (red star surrounded by gold wreath and "CCCP"). Produced at St. Petersburg mint (where money is made).

Monday, December 19, 2005

This Day in History: December 19, 1997

December 19,1997:

Titanic, the highest grossing film ever made, opened in American movie theaters.

On December 19, 1997 Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox released Titanic. The plot was based on the RMS Titanic during her fateful maiden voyage in 1912. The movie won 11 Academy Awards on Mach 23, 1998 including the best picture of 1997. As of 2005, the Titanic (1997) was the highest box office take in movie history.

The film was directed by James Cameron and starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Frances Fisher, Kathy Bates, Eric Braeden, David Warner Danny Nucci, Gloria Stuart, Victor Garber, Bernard Hill, Jonathan Hyde, Bernard Fox, Ioan Gruffudd, Suzy Amis and Bill Paxton.

By the middle of 1997 Titanic had become the most costly film ever made, with reported costs in the $200 million range. When director James Cameron finally delivered the film to Paramount, it ran over 3 hours a lot of people wondered whether he would ever work in Hollywood again. But Cameron stood his ground and threatened edit-happy studio executives with the message: "You will cut my film over my dead body."

Moved to a crowded release date of December 19, 1997, the film opened with little promotion, but brought in a weak $28 million in ticket sales for the weekend. Within a week the gross tripled. By New Year's Day, the film had hit $100 million and showed no sign of slowing down. It held a virtual lock on first place at the box office for nearly four months and would become the highest grossing film of all-time with more than $1.8 billion in ticket sales worldwide.

Cameron, who fought tooth and nail to finish the film, was rewarded with an Academy Award for Best Director.

This weekend went by too fast, although at times felt like it was going on forever. I studied practically all weekend, aside from spending an hour playing Scene It (Music Version) which I am TERRIBLE at, and watching Brokeback Mountain.

I have a lot more to study for. I have about 200 notes cards (filled completely) to memorize by 7pm tonight. I am pretty worried about it right about now, but we will see how it goes. Wish me luck, I will need it!

For all of you others taking finals right now, Good Luck!!


This Titanic ship model is awesome. It is a 1:350 scale model exquisitely rendered in mahogany. This is hand-signed by Millvina Dean, one of the last living survivors of the ill-fated luxury liner. Master model builders handcrafted this beauty to exacting specifications (each takes about 1,000 man-hours). It has amazing detail – from the complex rigging running bow to stern to the dozen lifeboats port and starboard. It is mounted on a wooden platform with brass accents. It is 30" length with a 3" beam.

This Titanic ship whistle is also pretty cool. It is a fully functioning reproductions crafted in England from solid brass and nickel-plated. It was made using the original 100-year-old tooling.

This is Titanic Porcelain Dinnerware. These are made with the same china pattern used in the RMS Titanic, in their first class dining saloon and on the captain’s table. These are recreated by Woodmere to the exact specifications, per White Star Line. These are finely detained cobalt blue porcelain, and they are hand-decorated and trimmed with 23 karat gold.

Friday, December 16, 2005

This Day in History: December 16, 1897

1st submarine with an internal combustion engine demonstrated

On December 16, 1897 the 1st submarine with an internal combustion engine was demonstrated. By the late nineteenth century steam propulsion had replaced sail power in the U.S. Navy. In 1896, the Navy insisted that submarine designer John Holland build his first contract submarine, called Plunger, with a steam engine for surface propulsion. John Holland, an Irish-American teacher and inventor, objected to steam power in submarines. However, John Holland built the Plunger with three steam engines in order to meet the Navy's prescribed surface speed. During dock trials, the temperature in the fire room reached 1370F with the power plant at 2/3 rated output. One crewmember even said, during Plunger's sea trials, "When we tried to submerge, it was so hot no one could live in her." Today, the nuclear reactor has eliminated this drawback to a heat source and submarines are driven by steam. But, before the advent of nuclear power, the internal combustion engine was the submarine's first viable source of power.

The internal combustion engine offered speed and comparative endurance on the surface, but its deadly carbon monoxide exhaust fumes and high oxygen consumption were obstacles to life beneath the surface. By 1900, submarine designers had solved this problem with the storage battery and electric motors. John Holland was the first to consider employing electric motors and the internal combustion engine to power a submarine. Holland and another American, Simon Lake, became the first modern submarine designers. They began their experiments in the late nineteenth century, Holland in the 1870s and Lake in the 1890s.

John Holland built six submarines, including one under government contract, before the Navy would accept one of his designs.

In 1900, John Holland sold the Navy its first viable submarine, USS Holland (SS-1). This submarine was originally named Holland VI and was not developed under Navy contract. Holland VI was designed and built by its namesake using his own funds. USS Holland had the speed of seven knots surfaced, made possible by her 45-horsepower internal combustion engine. She also had an endurance of several hours submerged when running on rechargeable storage batteries.

USS Holland was armed a single torpedo tube and a pneumatic dynamite gun that fired through an opening in the bow. Holland carried three Whitehead torpedoes, each with a pressure-sensitive piston that controlled the depth of the torpedo run. A pendulum controlled the torpedo’s stability, while a gyroscope controlled direction. A number of modern torpedoes used similar principles.

So the past week I have been just stressing about finals. I still haven’t stopped though, because I have three more left. But, anyway, my point is that I stressed so much about finals that I forgot that Christmas isn’t this weekend but NEXT weekend. Ahhh! Realizing that Christmas is soo soon freaked me out. I am done with Christmas shopping at least, and have been for a while now, but still that’s crazy. I still have to wrap presents… and finish finals. Ahhh!

Well have a good weekend everyone! I will be studying ALL weekend for my three finals. Sounds fun doesn’t it? Ehhh….

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Check out our typhoon sub clock . This is made by the Russian Miltiary Clock Factory, like the clocks found in Soviet Navy’s nuclear submarines and warships. This features the sub that was made famous in The Hunt for Red October.

Next we have this typhoon-class submarine model. This is alLifelike, 1:400 scale model of Soviet Typhoon-class submarine. It is 558' long with a submerged displacement of 48,000 tons, and is able to break through 10' polar ice caps. In The Hunt for Red October, Captain Marco Ramius (played by Sean Connery) piloted one of these nuclear leviathans of the deep. These 1:400 scale models are completely handcrafted with remarkable precision by skilled model builders in Severodvinsk, Russia (where submarines are still built today). Brass propellers. Stainless steel masts/capstans. Intricately detailed conning towers, fins, rudders, antennae and flags. On wooden display platform with Lucite® hood. Entirely handmade by experts, ensuring scale and historical accuracy.

Lastly, we have this typhoon-class submarine model. This is slightly imperfect but this USS Cheyenne SSN 773 Los Angeles-class submarine model is still awesome. This is a 1/200th enhanced scale model. It represents the finest in master craftsmanship and is built by Master Model Builders with more than 35 years of individual experience. The Los Angeles class were capable of conducting intelligence gathering operations, sea denial, delivering special forces units in areas where surprise and secrecy is essential and delivery precision strikes.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

This Day in History: December 15, 1791

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On December 15, 1791, the state of Virginia became the last state to ratify the Bill of Rights, making it the law of the land. The Bill of rights made up the first ten amendments to the Constitution and completed the revolutionary reforms brought on by the Declaration of Independence.

The Anti-Federalists criticized the Declaration of Independence though, because they were afraid that a too-strong government would create just another monarchial regime from which they had just freed themselves of. They believed that the Constitution gave to much power to the federal government by outlining its rights but failing to give rights to the individuals living by it. The Bill of Rights was made to help assuage the Anti-Federalists concerns though, which is how it was eventually ratified into law.

Congress drafted the Bill of Rights on December 25, 1789, and when Virginia ratified this on December 15, 1791, they created a three-fourth majority, making it necessary for the ten amendments to become law.

The Bill of Rights were drafted by James Madison, and loosely based on Virginia’s Declaration of Rights.

The Bill of rights gave the following rights to all citizens of the United States:
1. Freedom of religion, speech and assembly
2. Right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of a well-regulated militia
3. No forcible quartering of soldiers during peacetime
4. Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure
5. Right to a grand jury for capital crimes and due process. Protection from double jeopardy, self-incrimination and public confiscation of private property without “just compensation.”
6. Right to “speedy and public” trial by jury and a competent defense
7. Right to trial by jury for monetary cases above $20
8. Protection against “excessive” bail or fines and “cruel and unusual” punishments
9. Rights not enumerated are “retained by the people”
10. Rights not given to the federal government or prohibited the state governments by the Constitution, “are reserved to the States... or to the people”

Somehow I think I have gotten sick again. I think I might be already getting over it though; however my throat is killing me. It’s just in time for finals too. I have four more left, including one today. I am not very excited about them, although I know I will do fine on them. I studied for hours last night, and I am definitely tired today.
I wish you all well, and hope that you wish me well too today in my final. Have a good one!
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Here we have Statesmen’s books by our founding fathers. Titles available are John Quincy Adams' The Wants of Man, Grover Cleveland's Good Citizenship, George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation and Benjamin Franklin's The Way to Wealth.

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Next, we have United States Great Seal dinnerware. The Great Seal was also created by some of the founding fathers of the United States, including Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. This symbol created a unifying symbol for America’s virtues. This porcelain dinnerware displays this proudly.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

This Day in History: December 14, 1980

U.S.S.R. performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk

In the midst of the cold war on December 14, 1980 U.S.S.R. performed a nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk. Nuclear testing was common among the Soviet Union, the United States, France, Britain, China, Pakistan and India during this time. The Soviet Union ran 715 nuclear tests, the United States 1,030, France 210, Britain 45, China 45, Pakistan 6 and India 6.

Nuclear testing was an experiment involving the detonation of a nuclear weapon. The motivations for testing these nuclear weapons was usually to verify weather the weapon worked, examining how it works, and examining its effects based on various conditions. Nuclear testing was also demonstrated to show the nation’s military and scientific strength during the cold war.

Nuclear weapon tests are classified generall as being atmospheric, underground or underwater. The underground testing was best for people, because it posed the least amount of health risks in terms of fallout. Atmospheric testing, which involves above ground testing, is the highest risk.

Nuclear weapons were sometimes tested by being dropped from planes, from towers, from balloons, at sea, attacked to the bottom of shops and even shot out into outer space by rockets.

The first atomic test was detonated by the United States at the Trinity site on July 16, 1945. The first hydrogen bomb tested, was tested at the Eniwetok Island in the Bikini atoll on November 1, 1952, also by the United States. Although the United States was responsible for these two, the Soviet Union was responsible for testing the largest nuclear weapon ever tested at Novaya Zemlya, with an estimated yield of around 50 megatons.

In 1963 all nuclear and a lot of non-nuclear states signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty, where they pledged to refrain from testing nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, underwater or in outer space. The treaty did permit however underground tests. France ended up continuing atmospheric testing until 974, and China until 1980, despite the treaty. The last underground test by the United States was in 1992, the Soviet Unioni n 1990, the United King in 1991, and both France and China until 1996. After the Comprehensive Test Ban Treat in 1996, all of these states mentioned above pledged to discontinue all nuclear testing, however not including India and Pakistan who both last tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

Have any of you seen a live nuclear explosion. I am not sure why I asked that, because there are very low chances, but maybe?

Anyway, life here is okay. I am in the middle of finals week, well my 2 weeks of finals. I have one down and 4 to go. I have one tomorrow and then three next week. I am not too worried about them, although I am still studying for them.

Well I hope you all have a spectacular day!

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Check out this vintage Cold War radiation detector. This is a 60s vintage radiation detector that was found stashed away in a forgotten bomb shelter. It even has a “CD” (Civil Defense) decal on it. Each is fully functional and comes complete with the original operating manual. The standard detector reads rads and is equipped with a 25' cable, which allows remote readings while keeping exposure to a minimum. Radiation detectors are in working condition but have not been calibrated.

Next we have this steel fallout shelter sign. These high-gauge, enameled steel signs are nearly exact replicas of the 50's vintage originals.

We also have this "Keep out" metal sign. This is an enameled steel English keep out sign, nearly an exact replica of the '50s-vintage originals

Monday, December 12, 2005

This Day in History: December 12, 1953

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Chuck Yeager reaches Mach 2.44 in Bell X-1A rocket plane

Chuck Yeager reached Mach 2.44 in his Bell X-1A rocket plane on December 12, 1953. When he launched his rocket engine at first of his Bell X-1A on this day, he pulled into a climb and rose to 62,000 feet. He started his pushover and finally leveled out at 76,000 feet and at Mach 1.9. Once he used his full thrust, he accelerated to Mach 2.44 (1650 mph). He cut his engine, and the X-1A started a slow roll and yaw to the left. He then corrected for this and rolled sharply to the right. With another corrected it snapped to the left and tumbled out of control. This encounter is what we know now as inertia coupling, which was not discovered until this flight. He ended up plummeting more than 50,000 feet before somehow managing to recover at 25,000 feet.

This weekend was interesting. I watched the Suns vs Clippers game this weekend. That was really fun, although they lost. It was still a good game, and some people by me were actually there for the Suns, so it was good. A few people scowled at us for cheering for the Suns, but it was no big deal.

When we went to go back to my boyfriend’s car, parked in a parking garage, we discovered that although the place said it was open for 24 hours a day on their big sign, that it actually closed down at 8pm (we got there at 720pm) and closed on Sunday (which we found out from a 8x11 piece of paper not even in the front of the building). So the car was locked in the garage, and we were in the middle of LA. Thankfully I have one other friend out there, at least one I’m close enough with to ask to drive 45 minutes into downtown LA to pick us up. She rescued us around midnight, thankfully (shout out to Teddy!). It was scary being out there, there are some crazies out in downtown LA at midnight. eek.I am glad we had someone to pick us up though, because otherwise we would have had to pay around $200 for a taxi to take us back, or more.

I ended up driving my boyfriend back to downtown LA this morning, at 530am to pick up his car. I have been up since 4am, and am more awake than one would imagine. Probably because I drank an entire energy drink and had some espresso filled chocolate. I pretty much feel like bouncing off the walls now.

Well, I hope your weekends went well, and that you were sad too about the Suns losing. Hahah.

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Check out our Chuck Yeager Bell X-1 model airplane. This is a re-created version of his Bell X-1A rocket plane, in 1:32 scale and is signed by Chuck Yeager.

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If you want to look like a pilot check out our Schott lambskin Bomber jacket. This was constructed from soft, durable antique lambskin, designed to become suppler every time you wear it. It features a hidden snap down cargo and side entry hand warmer pockets, with full front brass zipper closure with snap over wind flap and underarm football gussets for easy movement. There are also other features like a removable genuine Mouton fur collar, with dual interior pockets and a heavy zip out pile liner.

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Lastly we have this Aviator's helmet. This is reminiscent of the open-cockpit originals, featuring snap up visors, earflaps, and buckling chinstraps.

Friday, December 09, 2005

This Day in History: December 9, 1861

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The U.S. Senate approves establishment of a committee that would become the Joint Committee on the Conduct of War.

On December 9, 1861 the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War was established as a United States Congressional investigation committee created to handle issues surrounding the American Civil War. The Committee was established following the embarrassing defeat of the Union at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, at the instigation of Senator Zachariah T. Chandler of Ohio and continued until May 1865.

Senator Benjamin F. Wade of Ohio served as the chairman of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War. Its purpose was to investigate issues such as illicit trade with the Confederate states, medical treatment of wounded soldiers, military contracts, and the causes of Union battle losses.

The Committee not only helped to investigate these issues, but it also helped in supporting the war through endorsing emancipation, using black soldiers, and appointing general who were known to be aggressive fighters.

Union officers were often put in an uncomfortable position during these investigations because the loyalty to the Union was simple to question because the war was neighbor against neighbor, and even brother against brother. Because the Union had bad luck against the Confederates at first, a lot of people would accuse them of being traitors, and purposefully trying to lose, in order to help the Confederates win. The atmosphere high tension, and caused a lot of distraction for the career military officers. The Committee ended up putting a lot of pressure on the officers who were not known as Republicans.

The Committee held 172 meetings and received testimony in Washington as well as other locations, often from military officers. Although the Committee was meant to be secret, the testimony and related exhibits were published in the numerous committee reports of its investigations. The records included the original manuscripts of some postwar reports that the committee received from general officers. There were also transcripts of testimony and accounting records that were published about the military administration of Alexandria, Virginia.

One of the most entertaining series of committee hearings followed the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, where Union Major General Daniel Sickles, a former congressman, accused Major General George G. Meade of mismanaging the battle, planning to retreat from Gettysburg prior to his victory there, and failing to pursue and defeat Robert E. Lee's army as it retreated. This was mostly a self-serving effort on Sickles's part because he was trying to deflect criticism from his own disastrous role in the battle.

The Committee on the Conduct of the War is considered to be the toughest congressional investigating committee in history.

Today in history is also my mom’s birthday, although not very historical, I would still like to shout out a Happy Birthday for her.

In other news, the Suns Vs. Clippers game is tomorrow that I am going to. I am very excited, but am not sure about wearing purple and gold to the Clippers stadium. Actually I’m not too sure about wearing purple and gold together at all. Hah.

Does anyone have any plans this weekend that are fun? No one ever tells me. I would like to know people! I would like to live vicariously through your plans while I’m at work. Hah. Leave me a comment : - )
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If you are into the American Civil War, check out these authentic Civil War bullets. This is a four piece set which includes a musket ball and minie-bullet along with an exceedingly rare "William's Cleaner" bullet and a .52-caliber Sharp's bullet (used only by cavalrymen). These sets are limited to just 1,865, each with a hand-signed certificate of authenticity.

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Next we have these Suede Civil War kepi caps that come in either Union Blue or Confederate Gray. These Kepis are modeled after French officer's caps, which were worn by soldiers on both sides during the Civil War. Hunched in the trenches, they raised their kepis with their rifles; if no one shot, it was safe to move. Our suede caps have a leather bill and strap across the front as well as with a metal crossed rifles badge.

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The last item I will be mentioned is this Civil War chess set.This has hand-painted, first generation molded resin figures that capture exquisite detail, down to the folds in the uniforms. Lincoln is king, Grant is queen. The Confederate side is led by Jefferson Davis as king and Robert E. Lee as queen.