Archive for John O’Donnell


Recently while reading a World War Two book, The Path to Victory by Douglas Porch, I came across a word which I was unfamiliar with. The word is stonk which means a concentrated artillery bombardment. It is said to be formed from elements of the artillery term Standard Regimental Concentration. Bruce Cutler who was a poet who served in the Naples campaign in 1944 wrote a poem about it:

your stonk is your American way of winning the war

your stonk is when you take your whole production, Rock Island

Arsenal ’42 or whatever arsenal

in South Carolina, South Dakota, no difference

you throw it at the krauts from six to eight a.m.

maybe add a naval stonk to your stonk being the really big suckers that take out the little towns on the mountainsides…

Spirit of Public Service

We know that the patriots in the Revolutionary war were highly motivated and imbued with a dedicated sense of public service. One great family example of this spirit is shown in the career of Jonathan Trumbull. He served as Governor of the colony of Connecticut from 1769 until 1776. Then he was Governor of the state of Connecticut from 1776 until 1784. His children likewise served the country and state as well. Jonathan Junior was the second Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1791 to 1793 and the Governor of Connecticut from 1797 to 1809. George Washington always referred to Trumbull as “the first of the patriots.”


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Happy Birthday Johann!

Today is the 328th birthday of one of the greatest musicians of all time, Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach was a composer of some of the sublimest music of all time as well as an organist, harpsichordist, violist and violinist. His music has the power the enthrall the listener. Eric Siblin, music critic of the Montreal Gazette, attended a recital of Bach’s Cello Suites and fell in love with this music. He wrote a book about the search for this piece of music: The Cello Suites: J. S. Bach, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece.

William Francis Gibbs

William Francis Gibbs (1886-1967) was a naval designer who was widely considered the foremost naval architect in the United States. Gibbs and his brother Francis started their own firm which was called Gibbs and Cox in 1929. During World War Two they designed 63% of all merchant ships over 2,000 tons as well as 73% of all American naval vessels. But the crowning achievement of Gibbs’ career was the design of the SS United States. During her maiden voyage in 1952 she captured the Blue Riband for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic averaging 35.59 knots. She remained in service from 1952 until 1969 and completed 400 problem-free voyages. Gibbs indeed was a designer of genius.