Zeppelin - Thursday, January 14, 2016

We recognize the room for confusion here. If you read our Subject Line and got all excited because you wanted to read something inspiring about the 1960's/1970's band Led Zeppelin, you might be disappointed.  Today's blog is dedicated to the heavier-than-air rigid airship known as a zeppelin.  Why are we discussing this today?  Because of the zeppelins hanging around Omrod's Giant World of Miniatures, of course!  They're impossible to miss, hanging from the track lighting frame surrounding the wonderful dioramas.  We just knew you were excited to learn about these odd and marvelous things.

The inspiration for them came, oddly enough, from the American Civil War.  The Union Army used balloons to send observers above Confederate lines during battles, to help assess the situation.  German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin saw this, thought it was a pretty good idea, and decided to take it to the next step.  He developed an extremely large metal framework, covered it with fabric, and filled it with smaller bags that would be filled with hydrogen, which is a gas lighter than air.  This would allow the airship to float.  Underneath it was a smallish gondola into which people would be able to travel, and possibly drop bombs on enemies during wartime.  The first flight was in 1900 - three years before the Wright Flyer went up in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina - and the first usage in battle was during World War I.  The slow-moving airships proved an excellent, if somewhat impractical, method of transportation, and survived the dawn of the airplane.  Accidents happened, but the explosion of the Hindenburg in 1937 essentially spelled the end of airship travel.  Caught on newsreel, the volatile hydrogen showed just how dangerous the zeppelin could be.  But please don't worry.  The zeppelins on display with the Omrod collection are not filled with hydrogen and are as safe as they can be. Your only danger would be from having one poke you in the eye.  If that happens, you are already way beyond the stanchions and in forbidden space, so you probably deserve it anyway.
QUESTION:  Who was the President of Haiti in 1863?
A)  Toussaint L'Ouverture
B)  Jean-Louise Perrot
C)  Fabre Geffard
D)  Monpoint Jeune

VIVA ALOHA!  On this day in 1973, a record was made that has yet to be broken, proof positive that Elvis Presley still has lasting power.  His live concert Aloha From Hawaii was broadcast via satellite to homes across the United States and everyone wanted a looksee.  It remains the highest-rated program for an individual entertainer ever.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

BRAKHAGE BIRTHDAY.  Do you like movies?  Do you like movies that are unusual?  Have no plot?  Occasionally incorporate odd styles, odd formats and different species?  If you do, we have a filmmaker to recommend for you.  His name is Stan Brakhage, and we're celebrating his birthday today.  Born in 1933, he made numerous short movies using all sorts of styles that, together, have inspired many critics to regard him as one of the most influential men to ever be behind the camera.  Check him out, but be warned - most of his content is not conventional, and some of it is not suitable for all audiences.  But it will almost certainly stay with you, like it or not.

QUOTE:  No one is out to get you, it's just that...people are monkeys. - Stan Brakhage.

ANSWER:  C)  Fabre Geffard.  Sorry for the obvious question here.  We will try harder next time, promise.