Friday, June 4, 2010

Do you know what this is…?

I love learning new things. I especially like learning them when it’s just for fun and not an emergency, like when the computer freezes up and you have to learn how to fix it. Or when the pilot light goes out on the furnace and you have to learn how to relight it. Sometimes it is fun to learn about something, just because it is.

Here is something new I discovered recently:


I know what you’re thinking, but you are wrong. What you’re thinking of looks like this:


See the difference? Neither did I, at first. The top one is bigger and used for the purpose of keeping your friendships.
So is the second one.

Allow me to elaborate. The first one is a must-have, if you have a baby. When you are at a friend’s house and there is a dirty diaper (which there always  is) you pull out one of these handy little bags to put said diaper in before you throw it in your friend’s waste basket.  It has some smell good stuff in it to neutralize the poop smell.

The second one is a must-have, if you have a dog. When you are walking along and stop to chat with your friend and your dog poops right in their yard (which they always do) you pull out one of these handy little bags and pick up said poop and hang onto it until you get home. Because it does not have stuff in it to neutralize the smell, so no one wants it in their waste can.

See there? I discovered something new. Poop sacks for babies! Who knew?

Another interesting item to cross my path was this:


It was in the lobby of the Coast Guard Air station where my brother works. It looked so interesting, I just had to know what it was. So I asked my brother, who is in the Coast Guard. He had no idea and really hadn’t even noticed it, right there beside the front door.

I’m thinking if it’s Coast Guard apparatus, Coast Guard personnel should know what it is, right? So, I send the picture over to my husband, the Coast Guard officer (retired). I feel sure he would know. I am wrong. He has no idea.

Well, now things are getting interesting. CGMan sends the email to several of his Coastie buddies, most of whom are academy guys. I figured in the Coast Guard Academy, they would teach, oh I don’t know, Coast Guard history?? Again, I am wrong. None of them know what it is.

I am now so intrigued as to what this thing could be, I send out another email, this time to the Navy men in our family, my dad and my uncle. I was going on the assumption that it must have been something nautical, otherwise why would it be on a Coast Guard base? Well, neither of the Navy guys knew what it was, either. But my uncle noticed that the rope was wound backwards if it was to be used for anything requiring the line to be let out. Funny how none of the Coast Guard officers noticed that.

As a last ditch effort, I sent the email to the Marine. First of all, Marines know every. thing. about their branch of the service and a lot about the others. They learn this in boot camp. Second, the Marine is also a history buff. I thought for sure he would know what it was or at least point us in the right direction. He wrote back and asked for more information other than the picture. Hunh. Seems to me if I had more information than just the picture, I would already know what it is!

There were a lot of ideas bandied about, such as a weighted buoy line, a device to take soundings (depth measurements) and even a crack about it being a Coast Guard torpedo and the rope is used to bring it back, so they can use it again.

It should come as no surprise that my super-sleuth dad finally figured out what it was. I would have liked to have been in a position to race him to the answer. He and I both are wicked fast on Google. But I was otherwise occupied playing with Ella, the grandbaby who is not my grandbaby, and tons of fun. More fun than a Google search, for sure.

Now that I’ve built up the suspense, let me share with you the results found by the Navy guy.

It is called a Faking Line Box. It was used to save lives. You know, the thing the Coast Guard is known for. The line was shot out of a cannon to the foundering ship just off shore. The line was then tied to the mast and the survivors were brought to land by way of a Breeches Buoy. This was a buoy ring covered with a pair of breeches, so the person being rescued could sit down in it for the zip-line ride to shore.

Wow. How cool is that?

If you would like to see the faking box in action as the Coast Guard recreates a rescue effort, click here.
If you want to read a little about it and see actual pictures of it in use in 1939, click here.

I have one other picture that shows something you might not have seen before:


It’s a picture of Wow!! A rare sighting, indeed.
And her Coast Guard son who doesn’t know a life saving device if he tripped over it.

Wordless Wednesday…with some words…

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