Red Baron’s Legacy At 100

“The ordinary air fighter is an extraordinary man and the extraordinary air fighter stands as one in a million among his fellows.”— Theodore Roosevelt 

April 21, 2018 marked the 100 anniversary of Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen’s death. If you do not recognize the name, don’t feel bad because he was better known to the world as the Red Baron. Richthofen was World War I’s top Ace Pilot. He had 80 confirmed victories during The Great War, which far exceeded any pilot of that era, but his skills as an Ace Pilot are not what made him a legend. 

Many biographers and historians credit his willingness to leave battles he couldn’t win, having a strategic mind and excellent marksmanship—not piloting skills—for his success. With that said, there isn’t another fighter pilot throughout history who has become as well known or caught the public’s imagination as much as the Red Baron has. 

What most likely added to Richthofen’s mystic was the aristocratic manner in which he fought. He was known for refusing to fire on aviators who were on the ground or already beaten. He’d often land next to enemy pilots he shot down, share a cigarette, engage in conversation, and when behind his own lines, he’d escort them to local forces for processing. His narcissistic tendencies and flair for showmanship undoubtedly played a role in developing his persona; and when he decided to paint his Albatros D.III airplane—and later the Fokker Dr.I triplane he’d forever be linked with—red, it further helped to separate him from other pilots and would forever cement his legacy. 

The respect Richthofen had for his adversaries was legendary.  A trait that would be returned before the war’s end. In a letter to his mother—written shortly after being decorated with the Iron Cross, Richthofen wrote, “If I should come out of this war alive, I will have more luck than brains.” 

On April 21, 1918 his luck ran out. The Red Baron was shot down while flying a mission over Morlancourt Ridge, near the Somme River, in Northern France. Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen died shortly after making an emergency landing. It was initially believed that the Baron was shot down by an enemy aircraft, but forensic and ballistic evidence eventually proved that a ground-based machine gun round mortally wounded him. 

After his body was recovered, British and Australian soldiers did something quite unique during WWI. They gave Richthofen a full military funeral with all the honors—including a gun salute. They laid a wreath on his grave with the inscription, “To Our Gallant and Worthy Foe.” 

Despite his extremely short life, the mystic surrounding the Red Baron has grown during the past 100 years. The Red Baron, and by extension Richthofen, lives on in pop culture. His life has spawned numerous biographical books, novels and feature films. He is even on a frozen pizza that bares his nickname and likeness on its packaging.

The comic strip Peanuts and its TV specials introduced generations of kids to the legend of the Red Baron. Snoopy’s epic battles against his arch enemy from atop his doghouse even prompted a song titled “Snoopy vs The Red Baron,” by the Royale Guardsmen. The song was so popular that it was turned into a Christmas carol simply titled “Snoopy’s Christmas.”

There is no sign that the Red Baron’s popularity will wane anytime soon. One thing is certain. History hasn’t soiled his reputation or achievements. 

In life he earned the respect of his countrymen and adversaries alike, and in death he is remembered—not for the side he fought on—but for his gallantry. Although Richthofen was killed 11 days before his 26 birthday, his impact has been immense. The Red Baron is remembered long after many of his contemporaries have slipped into obscurity. He truly has gained a level of immortality.

Rest in peace Baron,

May 2, 1892 — April 21, 1918


Art Bell: 1945-2018

Death is no more than passing from one room into another— Helen Keller

img_7696Famed radio personality Art Bell passed away April 13, 2018 at the age of 72.  He was best known as a pioneering voice for all things paranormal. He hosted a nightly syndicated radio talk show program aptly named Coast To Coast AM. The program aired on more than 500 stations throughout the United States reaching millions of people; it was also simultaneously broadcasted over the Internet to millions of more listeners worldwide.

I have been a fan of Art Bell for years. Each night I looked forward to hearing his voice and listening to his guests. His radio shows entertained and educated me since I discovered his program in 1995. Art Bell may be gone, but he will never be forgotten. Art will always live on in re-runs and on a plethora of websites.

Bell’s success was a phenomenon of its own. Instead of embracing the norms of the day, Bell bucked the trend of political talk in the 1990s for a topic that he would make his own: paranormal. In the early years of his Coast To Coast AM program Bell was often asked by callers what inspired him to do a nightly program dedicated to conspiracy theories and paranormal activities. He often mentioned during his broadcasts that he “was crushingly bored talking about politics for 30 hours a week” and that is what prompted him to do something different.

ArtBellThe fledgling format launched Bell’s career into the stratosphere, no pun intended. It earned him massive ratings for an overnight radio program and gave him an endearing audience; more importantly to Bell, his show connected with people in ways contemporary radio programs of the time couldn’t do. It also gave a voice and outlet to millions of overlooked people.

Art Bell did cast a wide shadow across radio, if not the entire entertainment industry. His influence prompted hundreds of paranormal shows on both radio and television. He was even mentioned in National Treasure a major feature film starring Nickolas Cage, when a character named Riley Poole, portrayed by Justin Bartha, exclaimed during a conversation, “get Art Bell on the phone now!”

Bell had several “retirements” from Coast to Coast AM between 2000 and 2007.  He eventually turned over the reins of his juggernaut program to George Noory in 2003, although he did continue to work as a weekend host and do special programs on Halloween and New Year’s Eve. When personal tragedies and setbacks hit, Bell had a noticeable absence from the airwaves; however, these vicissitudes didn’t keep him down for long. Bell created and developed several projects including a short lived program for SiriusXM called Dark Matter and an internet radio show titled Midnight In The Desert in 2015. Bell officially retired Dec. 11, 2015 to spend more time with his family.


Bell spent his life exploring unearthly and bizarre events that defy explanation. Paranormal enthusiasts will certainly be talking about his passing on Friday the 13 for years to come. After all Friday the 13 is the most stigmatized day on the calendar, and its association with bad luck and the paranormal is undeniable. Although there is never a good time for a man like Art Bell to pass away, that freakish coincidence is somewhat comforting. It’s like he is giving fodder to the industry he helped build into a mainstream franchise.

It goes without saying that Art Bell will be missed by legions of fans, friends and colleagues, but his beloved family will be devastated forever. I wish to extend my condolences and deepest sympathies to his wife and children.

Thank you for sharing him with us over the years.

Art Bell Profile Coast to Coast

Art Bell Wikipedia

Belphegor’s Prime: A Perfect Number For Halloween

Who would have imagined that something as straightforward as the natural numbers (1, 2, 3, 4,…) could give birth to anything so baffling as the prime numbers (2, 3 ,5, 7, 11, …)?~Ian Stewart

Halloween is just days away. And as people search for ways to celebrate the holiday, A Crow’s View has a unique way to decorate your home, office or personal space. Try incorporating Belphegor’s Prime into your holiday decor.

Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 12.59.20 PMIn demonology Belphegor is one of seven prices of Hell. He is the chief demon of slothfulness, one of Christianity’s seven deadly sins. His primary purpose is to seduce people into laziness by means of achieving great wealth through innovative inventions. In modern society Belphegor is sometimes referred to as the devil of financial bubbles.

Belphegor’s Prime is an enigmatic palindromic prime. It’s an extremely long and complex number comprised of 31 digits, which makes it a nonillion. Millions, billions and trillions pale in comparison to Belphegor’s Prime. And because it is a palindrome, it’s the same number whether read left to right or right to left.

Several aspects to Belphegor’s Prime gives it a mystical quality. Its association with theScreen Shot 2017-10-26 at 1.19.54 PM netherworldly demon, being a palindrome, and having its own symbol––which is similar to pi––adds to its inscrutable charm; however, the actual number itself is the most fascinating aspect of the Prime.

The number that makes up Belphegor’s Prime starts with a one (1) flanked by 13 zeros, followed by three sixes, with another set of 13 zeros; then finishes with a one (1) at the end.f10001

A further breakdown of Belphegor’s Prime is even more interesting than its underworld connection or its prime and palindromic properties. The number is actually a string of unlucky chattel. The 31 digits that comprise Belphegor’s Prime are an inverted 13, and both sets of zeros on each side of the sixes run 13 digits long, which makes up an obvious taboo. The three sixes (666) at the heart of the Prime is commonly known as the Number of the Beast; a number widely considered satanic. Then there are the ones (1) that bookend the Prime. Together they make up eleven or “snake eyes,” if not separated by the zeros and sixes, are also considered ominous.

The nefarious nature of Belphegor’s Prime makes it a great fit for Halloween, and its perception as an evil or cursed number will enhance your holiday decorations.

A Crow’s View suggests posting Belphegor’s Prime on a mailbox, over the front door, or––for a talented individual––carve it into a Jack-0-Lantern. Using Belphegor’s Prime will make an interesting topic for discussion, while blending mathematics with an ancient superstition to celebrate Halloween.

That alone makes it uniquely perfect!



Two-Factor Authentication, Thunderbird & Apple Email

I text and email my friends and family a lot, but that’s about the extent of my high-tech-etude – Willie Nelson

The Complication–

Recently I had an issue getting my email application, Mozilla’s Thunderbird, to send and receive emails from my Apple account. The problem virtually developed overnight, and all attempts to resolve the issue failed.

The crux of the problem was Thunderbird wouldn’t connect to my iCloud email due to password failure. I confirmed that the IMAP, SMTP, port settings, connection security and authentication methods were correct.

Regardless, I still kept getting the all too familiar error message that Thunderbird “timed out” or couldn’t connect to the server. No matter how often I double and triple checked my password and inputs, Thunderbird wouldn’t connect to my email.

When I researched the problem further, I found a complete lack of information on the web. The information I came across was either outdated or buried deep in threads bogged down with centuplicated comments.

I couldn’t solve the problem; my frustration grew; and I nearly gave up, but diligence paid off.

The Cause–

A security measure known as two-factor authentication (2FA) triggered my problem. This feature comes from your email provider. Its purpose is to eliminate possible hacking threats by not allowing third-party applications (Thunderbird, Outlook, etc.) access to its user’s account password.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 8.22.33 PMFor instance, with Apple a person can log in and have access to several areas of the account, including sensitive or personal data. To increase user’s security, 2FA requires all external applications to have an app-specific password (ASP) before it can access the email portion of an account.

ASP passwords only work with the application it’s created for and grants limited access. If you use multiple devices or applications to check email, you will need an app-specific password for each one.

Two-factor authentication is a great feature for securing a person’s identity and personal security. If a user is hacked then only the email is compromised, not the rest of the account

The Fix–

If you’re experiencing log in issues with your email application, there is good news. This problem can be fixed and it’s incredible easy once it’s identified.

To resolve this issue go to your email’s settings page. For example, I went to Apple’s Manage Your Apple Account Site. I logged in and checked my settings; under the security banner is where the 2FA settings can be edited. The display below is what you will see at the Apple site.2FAClick the edit button; an expanded banner will open up allowing the user to access additional settings.

Expanded SettingsInside the expanded banner (shown above) you may make any changes needed. A user has the choice to turn off the 2FA feature and/or use the generate password option.

If you choose to turn off the 2FA feature, then your original password should now start working with your email application.

For those who decide to use two-factor authentication and the app-specific password feature, click the “Generate Password” link and follow the prompts.

A Crow’s View suggests copying and pasting the random generated password into your application. The password is fairly long and includes several sets of numbers and letters.  Once the random password is pasted into your email application’s settings, everything will work perfectly.

Marion Carl: The Unknown Hero

Bob Norton and I were quite proud of Marion Carl; as a pilot, as a personal friend, and as a Marine.–Major General Hal Vincent, Test Pilot & Friend, 1959

carl4Most Americans have no idea who Major General Marion Carl was. That is a shame because in his day, he flew higher and faster than his contemporaries. He pushed the envelope of aviation and set the standard for future pilots to aspire to.

Sadly, June 28, 2016 will mark the 18-anniversary of Carl’s murder. The National Aviation Hall of Fame’s enshrinement page states, “Marion Carl departed life in the same way he had lived it: heroically.” That statement is entirely accurate. In true gallant fashion, the aviation pioneer died defending his wife on the evening of June 28, 1998.

Marion Eugene Carl was born in Hubbard, Oregon on November 1, 1915. Carl studied engineering at Oregon State College (now Oregon State University) and received his bachelor degree in 1938. The following year on Dec. 1, 1939 he earned his Marine wings and was commissioned as a second lieutenant.

Carl’s military career soared during WWII. He was among the first pilots to engage Japanese forces at the Battle of Midway, when his squadron encountered more than 100 enemy fighters and bombers flying towards the strategically significant atoll. Although Carl’s squadron fought courageously, the heavily outnumbered American’s suffered substantial losses at the hands of the better-equipped Japanese. Carl was one of only two men to survive that engagement.


Two months after the Battle of Midway. Carl headed to Guadalcanal. On August 26, 1942 his prowess in combat earned him the title of Ace Pilot, making him the first Marine of WWII to earn that honor.

On Sept. 9, 1942, in a scenario worthy of a Hollywood scene, Carl was forced to jump from his heavily damaged airplane. He was stranded for several hours in the Pacific Ocean, nearly drowning due to exhaustion, before local natives in a canoe rescued him. Less than a week later, Carl returned to his base and continued in the war effort.

The hostilities in the Pacific theater ramped up at this point. Acepilots.com states, “During the period from late August through November 1942, the Marine pilots faced almost daily combat, and some of them, like Carl… ran up large scores.” Carl would return to the United States on October 21, 1942.

Following a second tour of combat in 1943, Carl was assigned to the Naval Air Test Center in Patuxent River, Maryland. He would quickly distinguish himself by becoming the Marine’s first helicopter pilot and the first Marine to land a jet airplane on an aircraft carrier.

Carl went on to become a Navy test pilot. His major achievement was on August 25, 1947, when he set a world speed record of 651 mph at Muroc Field (now Edwards Air Force Base). His fame was fleeting though because Chuck Yeager would eclipse his record two months later. The following year Carl became the first man to lead the U.S. jet aerobatic team.

The 1950s proved to be a busy decade. Carl would serve in the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict, and fly reconnaissance missions over Red China. He also got deployed abroad to command classified operations in Taiwan. Carl even set an altitude record of 83,235 ft. in 1953. The record was unofficial because the mission’s launch wasn’t a ground to air flight.

Carl continued his military service throughout the turbulent ‘60s rising to the rank of Major General in 1967. In 1970, he would become Inspector General of the Marine Corps.

After serving more than 30 years in the armed forces, Carl retired in 1973. He and his wife, Edna, settled near Roseburg, Ore. to enjoy their sunset years. Tragically, his life ended when an intruder broke into their home demanding money and the keys to Mrs. Carl’s car.

The murder of Maj. Gen. Marion Carl sparked outrage throughout the nation. Spokesman for the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, Marine Col. Denis J. Keily (ret.) said, “It’s a hell of a way to lose a great American hero.”

Since his passing in 1998, numerous posthumous honors have been awarded to recognize Carl’s achievements. The Roseburg Regional Airport renamed its field the “Marion Carl Field” and the city of Roseburg erected a beautiful memorial at the airport’s entrance to honor his memory. Carl was also inducted into the McMinnville Evergreen Museum’s Hall of Honor and The Oregon Aviation Hall of Fame in 2003 and 2004, respectively.

Oregonaviation Files.pdf

Oregonian Article: Family of Maj Gen Marion Carl Wants Killer Locked Up

NY Times Article



Eating Healthy In A Fast Food Age

“Our bodies are our gardens – our wills are our gardeners.”  ~William Shakespeare

Fast food establishments are everywhere, from our largest cities to the smallest of communities; they have brought their trademark speedy service and low prices to all corners of the globe. While there is no argument that “junk food” springs to mind when thinking of fast food, is it possible to eat healthy at fast food restaurants?

The answer is a resounding “yes.”

Eating healthy has gotten harder, but it can be done. The highly competitive nature of the fast food industry has spawned some positive developments for people striving for a salubrious lifestyle. Restaurant menus are getting revamped to include healthier options and smaller portions.

IMG_3947Fast food juggernaut McDonald’s now offers snack wraps that contain around 250 calories, a fruit and yogurt parfait, apple slices, orange juice, and various salads. In fact, some sandwiches even include preservative-free meat.

Other fast food establishments are hopping on the healthy bandwagon too. Wendy’s offers salads (the best of the fast food genre), baked potatoes, and chili. Their salads and chili can be purchased as a full or half order, which reduces calories accordingly, and Carl’s Jr. offers a low-carb burger option (a burger wrapped in lettuce) free of charge for any sandwich.


Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 11.09.10 PMAlthough a lettuce wrapped burger may sound like a poor dinning choice, some health industry professionals are on board with low-carb burgers. Fitness expert Del Lewis tweeted, “Like hamburgers? The World’s Best Hamburger for Rapid Weight Loss is made with grass-fed beef! Just avoid the bun!”

A recent article posted on Health.com listed the 10 best healthy fast food restaurants. The Authors Tracy Minkin and Brittani Renaud surveyed 100 chains and selected their top 10. The authors concluded, “that many [fast food restaurants] are creating menus that look more and more like what we’d cook ourselves…from nutritious soups and healthy salads to fresh whole grains and sensible desserts.”

It’s not just American style fast food restaurants that are providing healthy options. Minkin and Renaud’s top 10-list included several multicultural franchises, including Mexican, Asian and Mediterranean based eateries. The bottom line is that, with the nimiety of fast food chains, people have unparalleled access to fast and inexpensive meals. It can also be said that there are more healthy alternatives available too.

The trick to eating healthy in a fast food age is having a good strategy. Ultimately the responsibility for eating healthy lies with the consumer; chose wisely when ordering, avoid supersizing your meal, limit the sugary drinks and free refills. Exercising temperance, good judgment, and will power will mitigate the challenge of fast food dining.

America’s Top 10 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants

The Healthiest Options At Fast Food

February 29, Four Years In The Making

“Today is an ephemeral ghost…. A strange amazing day that comes only once every four years. For the rest of the time it does not “exist”…. Use this day to do something daring, extraordinary and unlike yourself….”–Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 8.03.45 PMIt’s February 29, Leap Day, a day so rare that it comes only once ever four years. In fact, if you were born on this day in 1932, you have only seen 21 actual birthdays.

What is leap year? For most of us born on or after March 1, we see Leap Day as an extra 24-hours to remain our current age or we’re just charmed by its rarity; however, leap year is an important construct.

Leap year’s existence dates back to 46 B.C.E. during the reign of Julius Caesar; his calendar reflected a 365 and a quarter day year. Over several centuries, this resulted in spring starting much earlier.

In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII sought to correct the error of the Julian calendar by devising a more accurate measurement of time. His calendar, known as the Gregorian calendar, shifted the timetable by calculating a year as 365.2425 days, so spring would start on March 21, instead of March 11.

Pope Gregory’s calendar is extremely accurate, it is off only by one day every 3200 years, and is still in use today. In about 10,000 years Gregory’s calendar will need to be corrected for its built in errors.

Most people don’t understand, nor care to, the arithmetic behind the extra day. Nonetheless, it is quite interesting. In a 400-year period, Leap Day happens only 97 times. The algorithm surrounding leap year is intriguing.

A leap year can only occur in a calendar year that can be equally divided by four, except for century years that can be divided evenly by 100, but not 400. Those years will skip a Leap Day. For example, 2000 had a leap year, while 1700, 1800, and 1900 skipped leap year completely.

The next few centuries will skip Leap Day too. People living during 2100, 2200, and 2300 will see an eight-year separation between leap years and having a February 29.

Notwithstanding the math, leap year has always held a sense of wonder for people. In many cases, Leap Day is approached with levity. People born on February 29 joke about being younger than they are due to actual number of birthdays, while comedians or authors will lament humorous anecdotes about leap year.

Jarod Kintz jokes, “Every leap year I like to jump. It’s a good way to get my daily exercise in every four years.” There is also a fun tradition that February 29 is the day for women to ask their men to marry them, instead of waiting to be proposed to.

Not to be outdone, and to capitalize on an easy leap year marketing ploy, Disney ran a 2012 ad campaign titled “One More Disney Day,” where its two theme parks stayed open for 24-hours.

All lightheartedness aside, Leap Day is special. It keeps our seasons intact and allows our calendar to stay inline with Earth’s movement around the Sun. Those reasons alone we should celebrate its observation.

A Crow’s View encourages people everywhere to take a moment to enjoy this year’s extra day. Do something special to mark its passing; after all, we may only see 20 or 25 of them during our life times.

11-Random Facts About Leap Day

Leap Year Rules